Notables: Funding Organizations

Notables: Nonprofit Funders

Movers & Makers asked organizations within the nonprofit funding sector to introduce their “notables” to our readers, part of a new regular feature highlighting people making a difference in various sectors of Greater Cincinnati’s nonprofit community. 

Heidi Jark
Heidi Jark

Heidi Jark at 5/3’s Foundation Office works widely for vibrant communities

Heidi Jark, senior VP and managing director of the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank, is committed to creating strong, vibrant communities in Greater Cincinnati and across the country. 

The Foundation Office at Fifth Third serves as trustee, co-trustee or agent for more than 300 private and corporate foundations. Jark serves as the board chair for Cooperative for Education. In 20 years at Fifth Third, she has served as president of the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council, the American Cancer Society Board of Directors for Hamilton County, the WAVE Foundation, Philanthropy Ohio, and the board of the Greater Cincinnati YWCA. 

Jark grew up on a farm near Stratford, S.D., and lives in downtown Cincinnati with her husband, Steve Kenat, and daughter Catarina.

Ray Gargano
Ray Gargano

Ray Gargano helps ArtsWave support art organizations 

Ray Gargano joined ArtsWave in 2021 and quickly jumped in to help grow its Black and Brown artist program, which has awarded nearly 70 projects with almost $750,000. As vice president of community investments, Gargano oversees grantmaking for $10 million in annual donations from the community campaign – the primary way Cincinnati funds its arts.

Since his arrival, ArtsWave has distributed $20 million to pandemic-affected arts organizations and artists. With a strong academic background in education, instructional technology and communications, Gargano has been key in driving the “More Arts, More Kids” Chairmen’s Challenge, which will bring 50,000 field trips so all CPS elementary school children can experience the arts. 

Gargano came here from Sacramento, where he led grantmaking to advance cultural diversity, equity, inclusion and access. 

In his free time, Gargano can be found biking downtown and enjoying various cultural events.

Susan Vaughn
Susan Vaughn

Susan Vaughn’s joyful presence works to help people of Hamilton

Susan Vaughn is a Hamilton City Council member and much more. She is the adviser for the Youth Philanthropy Committee, which teaches young people to be engaged in their community and aware of needs around them. She volunteers with the Garden Club. She serves on the Hamilton Community Foundation Board. She is involved in the 17 Strong initiative, which encourages growth and engagement in the 17 Hamilton neighborhoods, and she assists with the StreetSpark initiative for public art. 

Vaughn is also the kind of person who picks up random trash on the street, opens doors for people and spreads kindness to everyone around her. She does all of this, and probably much more, with a smile and a joyful heart. 

Most people do not know that Vaughn and her son participated in “The Amazing Race” in South America as the first mother and son duo to compete on the show. 

Craig Young
Craig Young

Craig Young volunteers to tackle problems in area’s volunteer system

Craig S. Young has been supporting local organizations since his family founded the Craig Young Family Foundation in 1995. Over the past five years, Young has volunteered his time and directed his donations to fixing what he sees as the ineffective, inefficient and inequitable volunteer ecosystem in Cincinnati and beyond.

Young was a successful software entrepreneur in the 1980s and 1990s. Prior to selling his largest company, he and his family realized they had more than enough for their own financial security and so they established the family foundation. When the company was sold in 1998, a large portion of the proceeds further funded the foundation.

For the first 20 years, donations supported efforts throughout Cincinnati and beyond with priority given to organizations that leveraged the power of volunteers, such as the American Red Cross, ProKids, Boy Scouts and the Cincinnati Zoo.

Meredith Delaney
Meredith Delaney

Meredith Delaney of Scripps Howard Fund keeps the books for children flowing

As director of philanthropic strategies for the Scripps Howard Fund, Meredith Delaney oversees programs including the “If You Give a Child a Book …” campaign and other campaigns that support causes of importance to Scripps’ local stations. 

Since Delaney joined the fund in 2017, the annual book campaign has seen a 500% growth – raising more than $1 million in 2022 and providing 200,000 books to nonprofits and Title I schools across the country, including seven in Greater Cincinnati. The total number of distributed books will surpass 1 million in 2023. 

When she’s not working, Delaney enjoys cheering on her alma mater, the West Virginia Mountaineers, and taking in a Reds game. The Delaney kitchen faucet was named in her honor by her best friend, who headed Moen’s kitchen faucet division.

Rasheda Cromwell
Rasheda Cromwell

Rasheda Cromwell uses GCF resources to address region’s biggest needs

Rasheda Cromwell leads the Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s community change strategy using all of the foundation’s assets and resources – grants, investments, convening power, staff expertise, and connections – to maximize impact on the Greater Cincinnati region. As vice president, community strategies, she oversees grantmaking, administering millions, and works with dozens of nonprofits, businesses and other stakeholders to address our community’s most pressing issues. 

When not working, Cromwell is a sports fanatic. She loves watching sports, playing sports and attending games. Her favorite team is the Cleveland Browns (it’s her hometown) – but she also can’t resist her love for the Bengals. She enjoys participating in her kids’ sports leagues and volunteer coaching. 

Moira Weir
Moira Weir

Moira Weir listens to families to help guide United Way’s work 

Moira Weir joined United Way of Greater Cincinnati in 2020 after 25 years at Hamilton County Job & Family Services. She has led efforts to bring new voices and new solutions to decades-old challenges so more families thrive in the nine-county area in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. 

Drawing on her experience as a front-line child welfare worker, she prioritizes listening to families and using family- and data-driven solutions to change entrenched systems so more people achieve economic well-being. 

Under her leadership, United Way continues to meet the needs of families today while changing systems so fewer families need help in the future. 

Weir enjoys playing tennis and walking her golden retriever, Bella.

Nancy Grayson
Nancy Grayson

Nancy Grayson’s foundation work a recipe for lifting NKY community

Nancy Grayson has been president and CEO of Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky since the foundation’s inception in 2017. 

During the pandemic, it raised $2.1 million to support more than 85,000 Northern Kentuckians most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Since its launch, the foundation has raised over $55 million to support the needs of the Northern Kentucky community. 

Outside of work, Grayson is an avid gardener and aspiring chef; you can often find her in her kitchen using one of her many cooking gadgets or trying out a new recipe from her trove of cookbooks. Her friends acknowledge her love of oysters and her ability to shuck whatever is thrown her way.

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