2015 Pillar Awards: Honoring greatness in the name of outstanding community service

On behalf of everyone at Medical Mutual of Ohio and our Pillar Award co-founding partner, Smart Business, we present these annual awards for community service for the fifth consecutive year.

I personally want to congratulate this year’s recipients for their understanding of “commitment to community.” That is what the Pillar Awards are all about — leading by example and helping to improve the quality of life for Greater Cincinnati.

As we at Medical Mutual celebrate our 80th anniversary, our company has long understood the commitment to improve Cincinnati and the communities we serve. We strive to live up to that responsibility in everything we do.

You will notice that one of the Pillar Awards is a special honor given to a company whose employees best exemplify the values of Medical Mutual’s volunteer employee SHARE Committee.

SHARE, which stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate, is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving effort. Each year, this committee helps coordinate more than two-dozen community events involving nearly half of the company’s 2,300 employees.

“Improving the communities we serve,” is a common theme for all of the Pillar Award recipients over the past five years and, once again, Medical Mutual of Ohio is honored to be in such outstanding company.

Pillar Award honorees

Embracing the call to service

How reflecting and growing in its faith has inspired AMEND Consulting

cin_pa_CraigToddAMEND Consulting LLC
Craig Todd
Managing partner


A strong vow to embrace the call to serve is at the root of AMEND Consulting LLC. Whether donating time, financial assistance or consulting services, the company pursues any means to strengthen the Greater Cincinnati community.

During the recent financial strife, AMEND stuck to its philosophy of giving. Instead of pulling back, it changed its giving structure from 5 percent of its bottom line to pulling 6 percent from the top line, a practice that continues today.

AMEND has given financially towards tuition assistance for Cincinnati Works, faith-based organizations such as Dynamic Catholic, Central Parkway Ministries, Scared Heard Radio, The Dan Beard Council and other nonprofits.

Strengthening the community is not only shown through financial gifts but stewardship. Members have served on academic advisory boards at the University of Cincinnati, The Ohio State University and Lee University in Tennessee. Team members are involved in C-Change, which helps young professionals develop and enhance leadership skills.

Potential candidates are being sought out to engage in pro bono process improvement work. AMEND employees can give back by offering their skills and talents to those in the community that can’t afford them. The initiative is being launched through the Catholic Inner-City Schools Education Fund with a focus on improving area high schools’ fundraising efforts and donor retention.

Through this multi-tiered approach, AMEND has worked to enhance the surrounding cityscape by providing the tools, insights and enthusiasm necessary for many charitable organizations to sustain and grow their service offerings. The company has found that money alone isn’t enough. Commitment and sacrifice are key to truly embracing a cause.

Dough-nation to end hunger

Panera Bread aims to end hunger and help those in need

cin_pa_JeffRainsBreads of the World LLC, dba Panera Bread
Jeff Rains



For 18 years, Breads of the World LLC, dba Panera Bread has relentlessly worked to support hunger relief agencies and other charities around the Ohio/Northern Kentucky area.

Believing no food should go to waste, at the end of each day the company donates unsold bread to local hunger relief agencies such as area churches, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Salvation Army and many more. Southwest Ohio’s Panera Bread donated more than $2.3 million in product in 2013 through this Day End Giving program.

Panera Cares Community Breadbox, in partnership with Feeding America, helps food banks fight hunger in more than 75 U.S. markets. In 2013, Freestore Foodbank was presented with a check for $40,000 and Shared Harvest Foodbank received $5,000 thanks to customer donations and contributions.

Outside of its quest to fight hunger, Panera collaborates with the American Cancer Society of Southwest Ohio. Their annual Pink Ribbon Bagel campaign raised more than $34,000 in 2013 by donating 10 cents of every pink ribbon bagel sold at all 21 locations. Also, $10 pink coffee tumblers helped generate donations by offering free brewed coffee for October with purchase.

Panera Bread employees are provided with many opportunities to volunteer in their communities. The Power-Pack-A-Thon campaign on National Day of Service is an opportunity to work with Freestore Foodbank volunteers to pack thousands of lunches for local children involved in free and reduced lunch programs at area schools.
Panera Bread has shown its commitment to serving Southwest Ohio and giving back to organizations that support causes that have a positive impact on the community.

Serving hope

Daymon Worldwide employees help out Ronald McDonald House Charities

cin_pa_DarylKlovstadDaymon Worldwide
Daryl Klovstad
Vice president


At Daymon Worldwide, senior leaders have created a culture dedicated to giving back to its Cincinnati community by supporting employees’ volunteer efforts and providing corporate funding. The brand development company and its satellite offices support many charities with grants from its Daymon Foundation.

Daymon Worldwide involves and supports its employees in its charitable efforts in a variety of ways. It offers employees two days of paid time off per year for 16 hours of community service, rewarding employees for volunteering. Additionally, Daymon has its Associate and Community Engagement Committee, which organizes volunteer and donation opportunities, as well as social events for fellow associates.

The jeans fund is another way in which Daymon employees can give back. With an annual donation to the jeans fund, workers are permitted to wear jeans every Friday.

In 2014, the company used $2,000 of its jeans fund to support one of its favorite organizations, the Ronald McDonald House Charities. On the third Thursday of each month, a group of volunteers donate their time to cooking and serving a meal at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati. The $2,000 helped serve approximately 700 meals to residents in need.

The senior management team has been encouraging and accommodating to employees who take time out of the workday to give back to Ronald McDonald House Charities. As a result, over half of Daymon’s Cincinnati employees have served at the house.

History of giving

Formica Corp. provides a continuous presence for its charities

cin_pa_MitchellQuintFormica Corp.
Mitchell Quint


Whether it is employees cooking for guest families at the Ronald McDonald House Charities or executives repairing a dock at Camp Joy in Clarksville, Ohio, Formica Corp. has lasting relationships with its chosen charities.

Since 1913, the laminate and solid surfacing manufacturing company has donated more than $100 million in funds and products, and countless hours of volunteer time annually to charitable projects in the Cincinnati area. Some of the numerous organizations that have benefited from Formica’s community service include the GLAD House, Freestore Foodbank and Hoxworth Blood Center.

Education-related organizations are another area of focus for Formica. Through its Backpack Drive in 2012, 23 backpacks and other supplies were donated to Beech Acres Parenting Center. Keeping the momentum going in 2013 and 2014, Central Elementary School in Reading, Ohio, was the recipient of 39 backpacks and supplies.

Formica employees consistently participate in food drives, tutoring and mentoring programs, community beautification efforts, cancer walks, blood drives and many other charitable programs. In 2012, the Formica team made it their mission to help lessen the stress of the holiday season for families with children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, cooking meals for families and providing wrapped gifts.

To remain active in the Cincinnati-area volunteer community, Formica launched its Social and Community Involvement Committee in 2011. This group meets and organizes community events on behalf of the company, participating in projects involving youth, health and well-being, and building homes. More and more employees have joined and the projects keep coming.

Giving inside and out

How KDM shows value to employees and its community throughout the year

cin_pa_BobKisselKDM P.O.P. Solutions Group
Robert Kissel
President and CEO


KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group leaders and its more than 350 employees are eager to contribute to a cause or volunteer their time. Those causes, however, are not always outside the company walls.

During the past year, the company and its employees have donated time and money to local and national nonprofit organizations such as Easter Seals, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities. The company and its employees have donated more than $30,000 to support causes close to their hearts, and given another $25,000 in printed signs and banners to community nonprofits.

For the past two years, KDM has sponsored a child’s wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The service committee began its fundraising efforts through a series of silent auctions, raffles and a cookout. The employees managed to contribute $5,500, to which company leaders added $2,500 for a total donation of $8,000 — the average cost of a child’s wish.

While much of its charitable efforts impact the surrounding community, KDM also finds ways to give back to its employees. For Christmas 2013, KDM employees and their families were invited to Breakfast with Santa. More than 100 children signed up for the event that included breakfast, gifts and a picture with Santa. Bad weather forced the event’s cancellation, but KDM delivered bags to each KDM employee who had children signed up. Each child received gifts, snacks and a note from Santa.

This past fall, KDM employees donated both money and time to build a house through Habitat for Humanity that will be donated to a KDM employee.

Covering all the bases

Modern Office Methods donates funds, equipment and talent to area charities

cin_pa_KevinMcCarthyModern Office Methods
Kevin P. McCarthy
President and CEO


Name any Cincinnati-area charity and chances are Modern Office Methods has helped them in some fashion. Nonprofits like Children’s Hunger Alliance, Mental Health America of Franklin County, Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati and Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati have all benefited from MOM’s efforts to better the community it calls home.

Whether it is a corporate financial contribution in the thousands or walking through the stands of Cincinnati Reds’ stadium selling tickets to benefit the Reds Community Fund that supports inner city baseball teams, MOM lives up to its workplace culture of giving back.

This year, MOM employees participated in Banking on Our Communities to benefit the Cincinnati ToolBank. The MOM team was tasked with building and assembling picnic tables and a children’s play area for a community in Over-the-Rhine.

Yet MOM still has time to organize its own giveback program. In 2010, MOM launched Jump START Your Nonprofit, a contest in which nonprofits enter for a chance to win free office technology products and services. The contest has generated more than 100,000 votes on MOM’s website.

Jump START Your Nonprofit has had four successful years of awarding technology makeovers of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 to 12 area nonprofits, including Cincinnati Center for Autism, Helping Hands Center for Special Needs in Columbus and Elizabeth’s New Life Center in Dayton. MOM also donates free equipment to many of the 825 applicants who have not been awarded a technology makeover.

Sharing the passion

Powernet donates tablets to those in need

Allison Stevens


Powernet sets philanthropy as a core value within the company, and its record proves it year after year. The communications provider has made it its mission to lend a hand to its neighbors any way possible.

From financial contributions to hosting and participation in fundraising events, Powernet supported countless causes, communities and ministries in 2014. Nonprofits such as the American Heart Association, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and JDRF have all benefited from the company’s support.

Sharing the love but taking it one step further, Powernet incorporated its expertise in technology and telecommunications into its charitable efforts. Powernet donates tablets to those in need of technology, such as Appalachian Children’s Home, The Dragonfly Foundation, City Gospel Mission, Miracle Ministries and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati.

Powernet works with its employees on continuing its mission of giving back. That is why it provides Charitable PTO for its employees to work one day out of the office for a cause of their choosing. Some of the nonprofits and charities that benefited from this policy include the Hoxworth Blood Drive, The Dragonfly Foundation and Cancer Council ACT.

Attention and care also plays a role in giving back. Last year, employees purchased food and prepared meals for local shelters. Collectively, the Powernet team donated and purchased items from the Powernet Yard Sale, which benefited local charities.

Charity is not dodged

Total Quality Logistics focuses employees’ drive into high-energy charity events

cin_pa_KenOaksTotal Quality Logistics
Ken Oaks


While Total Quality Logistics has given more than $2.4 million over the past three years to charities, its culture of high energy and high drive has translated into unique fundraising and charitable events.

For instance, TQL partnered with the Professional Leadership Network to sponsor a dodgeball challenge. Proceeds from the event sent several hundred undeserved area youth to Challenge Camp, which is designed to develop leadership skills and instill ethics.

The TQL Flag Football Tournament, in partnership with CancerFree KIDS, is an adult flag football tournament that raises money for research to help eradicate pediatric cancer. The same charity is the benefactor of TQL’s “Tackle Hump Day,” a Wednesday extravaganza on the square that features team-based football challenges to raise awareness among downtown workers about CancerFree KIDS.

Since 2007, 820 TQL employees have raised nearly $70,000 for the American Heart Association through participation in the Heart Mini Marathon 5K. Some 197 runners/walkers from TQL participated. The company also supports and participates in the Forest Hills Foundation for Education 5K, the Cystic Fibrosis Walk, and held an urban race to raise money and awareness for the Marvin Lewis Community Fund and the Reds Community Fund.

Less athletic employees can improve the impact of their charitable donations with the help of the TQL matching gift program. The company matches one employee donation per calendar year at the rate of 50 percent of the original contribution. Knowing boots on the ground often matter more than money, TQL also grants employees time off for volunteer efforts.

Nonprofit Executive Directors of the Year Awards

Do unto others

MiMi Chamberlin is devoted to the mission of assisting others

cin_pa_MiMiChamberlinMiMi Chamberlin
Executive director
Churches Active in Northside (CAIN)


Assisting more than 3,000 individuals with approximately 7,000 types of emergency services in one year alone is no small feat. But MiMi Chamberlin rises to the challenge.

As the executive director of Churches Active in Northside (CAIN), Chamberlin, her staff and budget have grown to be able to provide food and clothing for approximately 400 households each month. CAIN is a neighborhood-based food pantry, with specialties in emergency assistance, housing for homeless women and other human services.

Through her 14 years as executive director, Chamberlin has led CAIN through several periods of significant transitions. Under her leadership, CAIN has seen growth in fundraising for its expanding services and an increase in volunteers.

This year, CAIN acquired Grace Place Catholic Worker Community, which provides transitional housing for homeless women and children in crisis for up to one year until they can get back on their feet. Staffed by three live-in co-leaders and eight to 10 volunteers, Grace Place cares for five women and 12 children.

Taking over responsibility for Grace Place meant taking on a whole new type of program and managing a second location in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Chamberlin found a way to continue without disruption and expanded services for CAIN’s guests.

Chamberlin is working to incorporate the neighboring building and possibly launching a Women In Ministry program. It would offer graduate students a venue to pursue a vocation in community service and/or ministry. Three local universities have expressed interest in the idea.

Making a difference

Darlene Kamine is a driving force behind improving Cincinnati area schools

cin_pa_DarleneKamineDarlene Kamine
Executive director
Community Learning Center Institute


Education is a passion for Darlene Kamine, executive director of Community Learning Center Institute, an offshoot of Cincinnati Public Schools Community Learning Centers. These outlets serve as community hubs that promote academic excellence and provide recreational, educational, social, health, civic and cultural opportunities for students, their families and the community.

Prior to founding the organization, Kamine was a juvenile court magistrate. She is also the founder of ProKids, a guardian ad litem program for abused and dependent children in the child welfare system.

Through this experience, she is able to bring her unique perspective to help drive the community learning centers to provide the programs and services that students, families and communities need to be successful.

In 2009, Kamine founded Community Learning Center Institute to continue to support and promote this approach to academic reform and community revitalization. Knowing that there was not new money to create Community Learning Centers, Kamine based the model on realigning services that already exist in the community and co-locating them in schools. The mission is to support academic achievement, revitalize neighborhoods and increase return on investment in public schools.

Kamine is the driving force of the nonprofit agency, the work of which has led to the formation of Alliance for Community and Educational Success, a committee led by a Cincinnati city councilman and the Cincinnati School Board president. Not only is this work impacting the entire city, it is making an impact nationally, as leaders from around the country have come to Cincinnati to explore the model.

A refuge of support

How Arlene Nolan helps the city’s homeless

cin_pa_ArleneNolanArlene Nolan
Executive director
Drop Inn Center


Arlene Nolan, executive director of Drop Inn Center, follows the principles of servant leadership and sets an example of respect and trust. She promotes healthy teamwork and empowers both staff and residents. She is not afraid to make hard choices when necessary as she continually seeks to improve DIC, its operations and its strategy.

Recently, Nolan implemented a strategic planning process to structure the work plans for the future. To complete the process, key members of the staff came together with the board to complete objectives, goals, strategies and actions. Progress against the plan is being tracked and reported.

In addition to her internal efforts, Nolan works tirelessly to collaborate with community stakeholders. She has negotiated and planned for both the new men’s and women’s shelters. DIC has also improved services by renewing partnerships with other organizations as well as establishing new relationships.

Through Nolan’s tenure, perception of the center has improved from being viewed as a “warehouse” to that of a shelter dedicated to creating positive outcomes.

DIC is Cincinnati’s largest homeless shelter that feeds, clothes and shelters 222 people each day. Donations of time, talent and treasure are necessary to keep it functioning. Over the past year, 90,000 meals were served through the Feed the Need program. The program asks volunteers to cook and serve a meal to homeless residents to help reduce feeding costs for the center.

Nolan’s dedication and resolve to help those in need continues to allow DIC to thrive and grow.

Personal touch

Santa J. Ono brings well-received rapport to the University of Cincinnati community

cin_pa_SantaOnoSanta J. Ono, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati


In the realm of higher education there is an immeasurable pressure on university presidents to wear many hats. They must make fun appearances at campus events yet lead with poise in times of challenge.

As the face of the University of Cincinnati, Santa J. Ono, Ph.D., bears the pressure and wears the hats with grace and gusto. His active Facebook and Twitter accounts document appearances in his trademark bow tie, demonstrating his outgoing and relatable persona.

Since his arrival at UC four years ago and his appointment to president two years ago, Ono has created a positive, ripple effect. Under his leadership, UC has reached unprecedented heights of enrollment, academic preparedness of students, fundraising, research and school rankings.

But it is Ono’s personal touch to his leadership style that stands out. During the last two budget cycles, Ono selflessly turned down scheduled pay increases in order to direct more funding toward scholarships.

When it was revealed that Ono intended to sell the president’s official university residence in order to create more scholarship opportunities, many throughout the UC family were greatly moved by his gesture of humility.

As UC prepares for its bicentennial celebration in 2019, Ono is thinking beyond the expected festivities and more about how to usher in UC’s progress and sustainable impact for future Bearcats. Ono continues to inspire students, alumni, faculty and employees to own a sense of pride and passion for UC.

Nonprofit Board Executives of the Year Awards

Survivor, advocate

After losing much to cancer, Joe Geraci works to help others

cin_pa_JoeGeraciJoe Geraci
Chairman, leadership council
American Cancer Society Northern Kentucky


Joe Geraci understands what it means to be affected by cancer. His mother and sister both died from breast cancer. When his wife was diagnosed, Geraci stood by her side until she was able to overcome the disease. But it was his own battle with cancer that led to his commitment to greater cancer awareness.

In 2003, while training for a Cincinnati Reds fantasy camp, Geraci developed pneumonia. During his treatment, a spot was discovered on his lungs that led to his cancer diagnosis.

After his diagnosis, he received a great deal of support from his family and friends, but also from the American Cancer Society. He was encouraged to call the society’s hotline, which led to his involvement with the nonprofit that offers support and aid for those fighting the disease.

Since his first volunteer role, Geraci has participated in Relay for Life, which raises money to help fund the organization. He has also been active lobbying on behalf of cancer patients in Kentucky and Washington, D.C., during Celebration on the Hill.

In 2006, the American Cancer Society named Geraci an ambassador to represent his community at Celebration on the Hill, a gathering of 10,000 cancer survivors and volunteers who sought to engage members of Congress in the fight against cancer.

Geraci has served as a board member for the American Cancer Society Northern Kentucky for several years. Currently, Geraci serves as chairman of the Leadership Council.

Wide-reaching support

David Goodwin contributes broadly to help the community excel

cin_pa_DavidGoodwinDavid Goodwin
Dress For Success Cincinnati


David Goodwin serves as director on the board of directors for Dress for Success Cincinnati, a local nonprofit that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women, providing professional clothing, a support system and career development skills. Founded in 1999, it has assisted some 12,000 women in the community.

His philanthropic efforts in the community extend beyond Dress for Success. In his role as co-founder and managing partner of Advanced Technology Consultants, Goodwin encourages, sponsors and facilitates employee volunteerism.

He envisions outreach as an ongoing initiative and engages both his employees and family to do the same. His network of volunteers has provided resources to 16 different community organizations and nonprofits. His team has participated in Dress for Success Cincinnati, Matthew 25: Ministries, youth sports and more. The causes he donates to are ones that he feels a connection to through personal ties, duty or admiration.

For these efforts, he recently received a Family & Privately Owned Business Leadership Award. Recipients of this award have seen steady growth, contributed their resources to impact the local community and have affected the lives of their employees.

Additionally, ATC was a runner-up for the Goering Center Private Business Award in 2013. The award recognizes companies or individuals who have made a long-term community impact through their commitment to philanthropy, community service, growth of employment and community image.

For Goodwin, leadership is a journey for continuous improvement and growth. Great satisfaction has been felt by community outreach that benefits and improves the lives of different parts of the community.

Recruiting for growth

Delores Hargrove-Young applies networking skills to nonprofit board role

cin_pa_DeloresHargroveYoungDelores Hargrove-Young
Chapter vice chair, leadership development
American Red Cross, Cincinnati Area Chapter


Connecting people is what Delores Hargrove-Young does best. As president and COO of XLC Services, a single-source provider of manufacturing services and warehouse management, Hargrove-Young is well-versed in what it takes to lead a team to success.

And she knows all too well that recruitment of potential talent is vital to the sustainability of a business. So when Hargrove-Young joined the American Red Cross, Cincinnati Area Chapter, she translated her professional expertise to help the overall mission of providing assistance to stabilize families who have suffered from a disaster.

As the chapter vice chair of Leadership Development, her major responsibility is to identify potential matches and recruit new members for the board of directors. In the past two years, she has brought on 17 high-profile members.

Accomplishing this was no small feat. All of the new members are involved and active in their roles, and some of them represent new companies that the American Red Cross has not worked with before. These new connections have strengthened the chapter in its ability to carry out its mission and to raise much-needed funds.

These tangible contributions have strengthened the board of directors with newfound leadership and are a direct result of Hargrove-Young’s many talents. Her personality shines through when she reaches out to invite potential candidates on-board. Her energy, involvement in the community and excellent relationships with people and companies are major factors for the growth of the organization.

Medical Mutual SHARE Award

Lighting it up

The Hillman Group supports its dedicated causes

cin_pa_JimWatersThe Hillman Group
Jim Waters


Out of the many charities The Hillman Group supports, some of them are given more of the company’s time and creativity. A leading distributor of fasteners, key duplication systems and engraved tags, Hillman leads the way in continuing relationships with nonprofits and their causes.

In support of autism awareness, Hillman sponsored the Cincinnati Walk Now for Autism Speaks. It even lit up its Forest Park Distribution Center blue for autism awareness.

The company also has a continuing partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Celebrating the nonprofit’s 50th anniversary in 2014, Hillman created a 50 Days of Giving campaign, raising $25,000 toward the cause as well as employee spirits.

Additionally, Hillman ardently supports The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Earning the 2013 Platinum Level Sponsor Award, Hillman kept the momentum going, raising $82,839 through the second quarter of 2014 alone.

In 2013, the company set the theme of “Life: Staying in the Game” for breast and prostate cancer awareness. Hillman shattered its previous fundraising records with $15,700 raised for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

This year, Hillman instituted a new volunteer policy, which provides employees up to two days off per year to work on community projects. By the end of August, its employees donated 236 hours to charities such as the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Freestore Foodbank and Cancer Support Community.