Recognizing those who improve our communities
On behalf of everyone at Medical Mutual, along with our co-founding partner, Smart Business, we welcome you to the eight annual Pillar Awards for Community Service.
For nearly a decade, we have honored many great companies and organizations whose employees have gone above and beyond to invest their time and resources in supporting our community. At Medical Mutual, we strive to live up to that responsibility in everything we do and have a strong commitment to improving Greater Cincinnati and the communities that we serve.
One of the Pillar Awards that will be presented is a special honor given to a company whose employees best exemplify the values of Medical Mutual’s own Employee SHARE Program. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate.
What started as a small committee of generous employees more than 21 years ago has grown to become the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s charitable giving effort.
Today, through employee-led volunteer projects, SHARE committees in each of our business resource groups and our new volunteer paid-time-off initiative, every one of the company’s 2,400 employees has the opportunity to engage in numerous community events each year.
It’s truly an honor to be in the company of such outstanding organizations that exemplify the theme of “improving the communities we serve” by encouraging a charitable environment and directly supporting the communities in which they live and work. On behalf of Medical Mutual and Smart Business, we congratulate all our 2018 Pillar Award recipients. ●
Pillar Award Honorees
Graeter’s Ice Cream
Richard Graeter, president and CEO
Understanding the importance of cause marketing, Graeter’s Ice Cream launched a new flavor in Cincinnati markets to celebrate the birth of Fiona, the baby hippo, at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Graeter’s introduced the flavor as Chunky Chunky Hippo, and donated a portion of the proceeds from Chunky Chunky Hippo to the zoo, further supporting the Cincinnati community.
Graeter’s partnered with Braxton Brewing Co. to release a unique ice cream-inspired ale, this time in support of The Cure Starts Now. This Blueberry Pie Brown Ale was another first for both brands, building on the success of the brands’ recent collaboration in early 2017. At the center of Graeter’s and Braxton Brewing Co.’s new product launch was The Cure Starts Now and its mission to find the home run cure for cancer by focusing on pediatric brain cancer.
Graeter’s also featured its Elena’s Blueberry Pie ice cream during its annual Cones for the Cure campaign throughout September. Guests in the Graeter’s retail scoop shops during the campaign had the opportunity to make a donation directly to The Cure Starts Now Foundation.
As a member of the fourth generation of the Graeter family to own and operate the business, President and CEO Richard Graeter is dedicated to the family tradition of making ice cream, while embracing new opportunities to become an even more prominent part of the communities the brand serves. ●
KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group
Robert “Bob” Kissel, president and CEO
KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group is a family-owned, privately held company headquartered in Cincinnati. Led by President and CEO Robert “Bob” Kissel, the company has been actively involved in community service and fundraising efforts for many years.
Giving back to the community is a priority for KDM and strengthens the workplace culture. The company has a dedicated KDM service committee in place that is tasked with leading the way to execute this initiative.
One of the highlights of KDM’s efforts is Adopt A Class Foundation, a group mentoring program that connects businesses with students, inspiring a corporate culture of teamwork, hope and a future vision of what is possible for the youth in the community. A team of seven to 10 KDM employees visited a class of 40 children in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades at Parker Woods Montessori School during the 2016-17 school year for one hour each month.
Employees interacted with their adopted class through planned activities, and sponsored an end of the school year half-day field trip for the students, which included bus service to KDM, a tour, a gift for each student and a special project.
Other activities during the year included helping the students design a dream classroom, STEM activities and designing their own boxes imprinted by KDM to keep personal things. KDM is continuing the volunteer program again for this 2017-18 school year. ●
Klosterman Baking Co.
Kim Klosterman, CEO
From new partnerships to time-tested friendships with organizations close by in its hometown of Cincinnati, Klosterman Baking Co. is proud of the love it was able to give back to the community in 2017. It’s the commitment to philanthropy that drives so much of these efforts, led by CEO Kim Klosterman.
Each year, Klosterman Baking Co. makes a sizeable donation to Pink Ribbon Girls in support of breast cancer research and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, the campaign kicked off with Klosterman’s Pink Ribbon Girls Power of Wheat Organic bread line.
Shoppers were able to show their support of the company’s efforts by purchasing specially marked Pink Ribbon Girls loaves in stores throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas. This year alone, Klosterman was able to donate $10,000 to Cincinnati and Dayton’s own Pink Ribbon Girls.
Klosterman also continued its sponsorship of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati’s 21st annual Golf Classic.
And when Hurricane Harvey struck, Klosterman provided more than 13,000 loaves of bread to CitiIMPACT, an affiliate of Matthew 25: Ministries. This bread was transported more than 1,400 miles to Corpus Christi, Texas, where it was used to prepare and distribute more than 95,000 sandwiches to flood victims.
Klosterman also raised more than $123,000 for Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services and sponsored an event in which 280 guests attended in April at JACK Cincinnati Casino. ●
London Computer Systems
Dave Hegemann, president
The employees of London Computer Systems, led by President Dave Hegemann, are focused on making the world around them a better place. Coordinating fundraising drives and volunteer events gives employees across all departments the chance to collaborate outside of the daily grind of office life, while strengthening the community and supporting causes most important to them.
Among the many causes the company supports is Apartment Association Outreach. Thirty two LCS staff, family and friends participated in its 5k 4 Rent and have served on one of its committees. The company collected and donated over 600 books to Adopt-A-Book in December 2016, and 1,700 shoes for Soles4Souls in March.
For the past several years, the company has collected donations at the annual Rent Manager User Conference for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. LCS matches donations made by conference attendees and staff each year, sending upwards of $2,000 in 2015 and 2016 to the nonprofit. In 2017, all sales at the conference “swag booth” were donated to BCRF.
As a company built on a foundation of community, LCS employees continually strive to maximize their positive impact. Its on-staff event coordinator facilitates the planning of a full schedule of charitable endeavors throughout the year, taking employee suggestions and personal causes into account to keep LCS involved in the community and employees engaged with each other and the world around them. ●
MCM CPAs & Advisors
Diane Medley, managing partner
Crystal Faulkner, Cincinnati market leader
As MCM CPAs & Advisors has continued to grow, it has helped those within its community by supporting local nonprofits and funding the organizations that help communities thrive.
Led by Managing Partner Diane Medley and Cincinnati Market Leader Crystal Faulkner, MCM makes $260,000 in annual financial contributions and volunteers more than 5,000 hours to multiple nonprofits.
The firm’s Charitable Action Committee is dedicated to promoting giving and volunteering efforts. It provides opportunities for MCM team members to get involved in community service projects. The initiative has led to more than 213 organizations being helped per year throughout the region.
Several firm leaders started the nonprofit Accounting for Kids Inc. more than 18 years ago to help hundreds of Cincinnati middle school children annually with financial education to empower them financially, as well as to encourage the more than 800 business professionals who serve annually as volunteers to become tutors and mentors to at-risk youth.
The firm annually sponsors Accounting for Kids Day, during which students in more than 120 classrooms interact with local business leaders to discuss personal finance and their goals for their futures.
MCM is working to increase the vitality of the Cincinnati community by being a good corporate citizen. It also hopes to be valued and recognized by clients and the community as a leading, high-impact CPA and advisory firm with a dynamic market presence. ●
Nehemiah Manufacturing Co.
Daniel Meyer, CEO
Nehemiah Manufacturing Co. is strongly committed to creating jobs and changing lives. The jobs it creates are primarily for individuals who have struggled in the past with a history of substance abuse, homelessness or have a criminal record, and are now attempting to re-enter society as productive members.
The company employs two full-time social workers to support staff as they grow and develop into productive citizens.
Nehemiah, headed by CEO Daniel Meyer, worked closely with the City of Cincinnati, community leaders and social service organizations to select its location, which is surrounded by neighborhoods with high unemployment and limited entry-level job opportunities.
The company, nominated by Talbert House, also started the Beacon of Hope Business Alliance in 2016, which is a coalition of companies in the Cincinnati area that practice second-chance hiring. These companies use the Beacon of Hope model created by Nehemiah that allows individuals to start at entry-level positions and grow to their ideal careers, even with their barriers.
Nehemiah employees have opportunities through advancement programs, job postings and consultation to move up in their careers, even if that is not at Nehemiah. They can explore their career options while working at Nehemiah. If they choose to try a new position, they have six months to decide if it is a good fit. If not, they are allowed to return to Nehemiah. ●
Bob Coughlin, CEO
Paycor CEO Bob Coughlin encourages company associates to get involved and develop close relationships with causes or organizations that have impacted their lives or the lives of those they love. He understands that those connections can help associates feel more at home and part of a greater community.
Through Paycor’s Community Partners, an associate-led community service program, making a difference takes many forms. It can mean organizing a walk-a-thon, taking time out of the workday to mentor local students, and gathering funds and supplies for the victims of natural disasters.
In 2017, the program supported more than 200 charities in the 35 communities across the country in which it has offices, donated more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service and contributed more than $200,000. Since its inception in 2010, Community Partners has fulfilled more than 20,000 volunteer opportunities and raised more than $860,000.
Paycor’s sales and marketing organization, in 2014, designated a “Pay It Forward” day during which associates could take time away from work to support a local community organization. Its success has led to two dedicated days throughout the year, and other departments in the company now hold their own Pay it Forward days.
Making a difference in the lives of clients, associates and the community is a way of life for Coughlin. Today, that service-focused approach is ingrained in the company’s culture. ●
Phillips Edison & Co.
Bob Myers, COO
Phillips Edison & Co.’s Community Partnership is an associate-led initiative dedicated to encouraging community involvement and connecting associates to causes that are important to them.
The group organizes several company-wide volunteer events each year. In 2017, the community partnership assembled volunteer teams to participate in Cincinnati-based People Working Cooperatively’s Annual Repair Affair and Prepare Affair, during which critical home repairs and services were provided to low-income homeowners.
Last year, PECO’s Community Partnership also contributed approximately 240 hours of community service to Gorman Heritage Farm, a 122-acre working farm and outdoor education center that offers educational programing to more than 5,000 children and adults each year. Over 80 Cincinnati team members gathered at the Farm for PECO’s annual half day of community service. The company provided food, beverages and a half-day of paid leave to employee volunteers.
PECO Networking Opportunities for Women, an associate-led initiative dedicated to furthering women in leadership at the company, also organized community involvement in 2017. For example, team members participated in the Susan G. Komen Utah Race for the Cure, raising over $2,100 for its cause. Cincinnati associates participated in the race and also staffed a cheer zone.
PECO, with leadership from COO Bob Myers, encourages and supports associates as they give back to the communities in which they live and work. Their dedication shows what a difference people can make when they work together. ●
Allison Stevens, CEO
Powernet and its employees place community service at the forefront. In addition to traditional fundraising and volunteering, the company provides tablets and Wi-Fi technology to those who are less fortunate.
Through this initiative, the company, led by CEO Allison Stevens, has donated services and equipment to the Lower Price Hill area, Avondale and temporarily to a few areas in the greater Cincinnati area, including Ziegler Park.
Wi-Fi donations, like 2016’s donation to Avondale, give citizens in low-income communities a chance to access the internet to apply for jobs, pay bills, do school work and perform other valuable tasks.
Powernet followed up on its work in the Avondale community by providing back-end technical support and donated engineer hours for the free community Wi-Fi. Similarly, the company continues to contribute free Wi-Fi to the Lower Price Hill community.
The Wi-Fi revolves around Oyler School, providing elementary students and teachers the opportunity to utilize digital means in education. In both communities, the project was initiated to improve economic conditions and is a step toward erasing the digital divide.
The company has also donated 15 tablets to three churches to be used for any tutoring or community programs the church sees fit.
With these initiatives, Powernet’s aim is not just to give back to organizations and communities, but also to make an impact that will be felt for many years to come. ●
Aaron Stapleton, CEO
Queen City Homecare promotes a give-back atmosphere within the company that starts from the top with CEO Aaron Stapleton.
The home health care company has worked with many organizations to give back to the community. For example, it has sent a team every year the Greater Cincinnati chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association has held its Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This year, 22 team members registered for the walk and raised more than $2,500 for the cause.
In addition to sponsoring the Alzheimer’s walk, the company also sponsored Walk MS, an event for The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ohio Valley Chapter. Stapleton is the chair of the Alzheimer’s event and is part of the MS Society’s newly formed Healthcare Advisory Committee.
In February 2016, Queen City started feeding the homeless at the Over The Rhine Soup Kitchen. Six times each year, the company sends some 10 employees and buys, cooks and serves food to those in need.
Stapleton has made giving back a top priority at the company and encourages employees to be philanthropic.
To that end, Queen City added a philanthropic portion to its annual employee evaluations. Any employee who shows they have given five hours of community service in a year are given credit for the time on their annual evaluation, which in turn gives them the opportunity for a salary increase. ●
Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award
Mark Luegering, senior vice president, Messer Construction
Community Resource Center, dba ReSource
Mark Luegering’s stamp on Community Resource Center, which does business as ReSource, will last long into the future, says Christine Brown, the nonprofit’s CEO.
“When I was hired to lead this organization, Mark told me that ReSource ‘had strong bones,’” Brown says.
“Mark has been the backbone that has led us to a place of increased and valued service to nonprofit agencies. This success is not just ours, but is shared with the hundreds of agencies we serve, and through them, the thousands of people in our community who are impacted indirectly from our work.”
Luegering, who is senior vice president of operations at Messer Construction, has been a board member for more than five years and spent time as board chair. During his time with Community Resource Center, the organization has grown more than 28 percent and had a greater impact in the nonprofit community.
Luegering has been instrumental in strengthening the support base by making connections to both in-kind and financial donors, personally soliciting 40 percent of the organization’s corporate sponsorships in 2017.
He has also provided support for the organization’s operations by securing reserved parking in Washington Park garage for gala guests and highlighting Community Resource Center’s 30th anniversary on Fountain Square’s digital billboard. Luegering also serves on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra board, and served on the steering committee that led to the recent merger with Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati. ●
Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award
Roni Luckenbill, CEO
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio
Roni Luckenbill’s impact goes beyond Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. She is one of 10 Girl Scout CEOs in the country to serve on a national Girl Scout committee that examines the challenges the Girl Scout movement faces. Luckenbill has proven to be an exceptional leader who has achieved growth, thus impacting more girls and young women, while the national organization works through issues such as the changing face of volunteers, a pension deficit and a membership decline.
Luckenbill has guided her staff to be at the leading edge of the development and implementation of a new model for engaging and supporting volunteers and girls, and has encouraged them to do their best work through the transition process.
She has also implemented innovative compensation changes to focus staff on key performance measures. This is already paying off with Girl Scouts of Western Ohio showing a 5 percent increase in membership over the previous year, in contrast to national trends, which remain down or flat.
Luckenbill has dealt with financial challenges. She addressed a significant pension deficit by managing the council’s financial resources without compromising current operations. She also demonstrated her excellent business and communication skills by involving volunteers and board members in the sale of three council properties and the development of a plan for camp and community-based program offerings that meet the varied needs of girls across the council. ●
Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award
Margo Spence, president and CEO
First Step Home
Margo Spence has made an important impact on First Step Home for over 16 years. In a quiet manner, she has forwarded the needs of women in the opiate addiction crisis and beyond. She has advocated for women suffering from trauma, as well as from substance use disorder.
She manages all the day-to-day activities of the agency, from clinical services to housing, finance, development and human resources, and is responsible for the programs and staff at First Step Home.
Spence, the nonprofit’s president and CEO, manages all board relations and provides in-depth materials and reports to the board every month while meeting every other month. She provides leadership within the addiction treatment community with sister organizations, and manages press and promotion for the agency.
Spence speaks at local, state and national conferences on behalf of the agency and women who need treatment in Cincinnati, and stays current on the latest research and trends with a national and regional focus on sustainability.
Spence has a unique management structure at First Step Home, whereby the directors on her management team are all equal. She uses a lead by example model and provides methods, including surveys, to get important organizational feedback.
All decisions are based on the welfare of the clients and the agency as a whole. Spence uses models of management that focus on productivity and meeting clear goals, and she encourages professional development and growth for the entire staff. ●
Medical Mutual SHARE Award
JACK Cincinnati Casino
Chad Barnhill, senior vice president of regional operations and general manager www.jackentertainment.com/cincinnati
Supporting local communities is second nature for JACK Cincinnati Casino. A diverse group of team members is recruited from across the city and its surrounding communities, and serves as the driving force behind the company’s many charitable initiatives.
JACK Cincinnati Casino team members regularly participate in charitable campaigns such as food, toy and school supply drives, walkathons, neighborhood beautification projects and volunteer days. Team members helped contribute more than $50,000 in charitable giving, participated in nearly 30 charitable events, logged 543 volunteer hours and supported more than 80 organizations in 2017 alone. The incredible individuals that make up the company, led by Chad Barnhill, senior vice president of regional operations and general manager, play a significant part in the casino’s success in the community.
Every month, team members gather to help with a food pantry distribution for Master Provisions and thank veterans returning home from Honor Flight at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, in addition to the many campaigns that JACK Cincinnati Casino spearheads throughout the year.
Some of the company’s biggest projects include beautifying the Pendleton neighborhood by mulching trees and picking up trash, hosting and sponsoring SantaCon and holding a breast cancer awareness campaign throughout October.
During October, team members wear pink in an effort to bring more awareness to the cause. The casino’s iconic 80-foot marquee is lit pink and table felts are changed to pink. ●
From the hearts of our sponsors
Duke Energy Convention Center
The Duke Energy Convention Center has a mission to serve the community and host world-class conventions, meetings, galas and events that generate revenue through direct spending and visitor lodging taxes. Over the past 11 years we have become involved with the community in supporting many activities as well as participating members of many local and regional organizations. As residents of the area, we are committed to the growth and well-being of the city and all of its residents.
Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, the providers of both Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality to the Duke Energy Center, not only service the corporate sectors of business, but have a proud tradition of community investment and a commitment to making a difference.
Together, the Comcast Spectacor, Comcast and NBCUniversal families empower our communities by investing in local organizations to mobilize resources and connect people to make a difference. Comcast Spectacor has contributed nearly $26 million to nonprofit organizations. Across each of our companies and teams we make proactive efforts to maintain ethical standards, community service activism, and sustainability practices in all areas.
Locally, employees participate in a number of causes and initiatives throughout the year and continue to partner with the surrounding community by working with several organizations. This year alone, we have supported the Cincinnati Public Schools, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Cincinnati and Toyful Joyful. Annually, we host the Queen City Blood Drive, GiveBack Cincinnati’s Fall Feast on Thanksgiving Day and continue to work with ArtWorks (a local nonprofit that employs and trains local youth and talent to create art and community impact).
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