The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business, honors businesses of all types and sizes that make outstanding contribution to their community. Its purpose is to encourage a charitable enviroment, recognize creative efforts that make a difference and demonstrate the ties between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.

This year's winners will be honored at a special banquet on January 18 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, OH.

But before that great event takes place, we welcome you to take a look at how these kind and selfless individuals and companies do what they do.

An introductory letter from Rick Chiricosta, President and CEO, Medical Mutual

Pillar Award for Community Service honorees:

Medical Mutual SHARE Award honoree:

Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award honorees:

Executive Director of the Year Award honorees:

Rising Star honoree:

Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award honoree:

A list of our fine sponsors

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:49

A focus on family

John Silverman has been engaged in numerous projects and fundraising efforts for Talbert House, a communitywide network of social services, since joining the board in 2003. But as a father of two who learned by his father’s strong example, no project has ignited as much passion in him as the Fatherhood Project.

The program assists men in their efforts to become responsible, committed, nurturing fathers through classes, coaching and fellowship support meetings. Striving to strengthen the connection between fathers and their children, especially for men lacking a strong father role model, Silverman has pushed the program beyond its initial conception.

The 2009-2010 board chair began his commitment to the program by chairing the Fatherhood Luncheon, a fundraiser that honors fathers in the community — including a graduate of the Fatherhood Project. Silverman assembled a committee of dedicated community and business leaders to support the effort. The luncheon’s success in 2010 prompted Talbert House to broaden the program’s reach.

Silverman envisioned a communitywide event that would honor dads and provide an opportunity for families to celebrate fatherhood. Raising private funds through Silverman’s committee, Talbert House was able to host its first Fatherhood Community Celebration on Father’s Day 2011. This event provided fathers the opportunity to spend the day with their children enjoying free refreshments, games, zoo animals, live music and sports challenge activities with the Bengals and member of the UC basketball team. Not satisfied with the estimated 1,000 attendees, however, Silverman is already planning to triple that number in 2012.

It’s estimated that Silverman has raised over $150,000 to support the Fatherhood Project over the past two years. This is in addition to his support of Talbert House’s other programs and initiatives, which provide social services in community corrections, mental health, substance abuse and welfare to work.

How to reach: Talbert House, (513) 751-7747 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:43

Giving from the heart

Community service has been personal for law firm Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis LLP since its founding in 1946.

Co-founder August A. Rendigs donated funds to build the Alfred J. Rendigs Memorial Center of United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati in honor of his son, born with cerebral palsy. He also established a memorial fund to support the operation of the center, which continues to provide UCP’s adult services today.

The company, led by Managing Partner Tom Evans, is still commitment to the United Cerebral Palsy of Cincinnati. Rendigs’ attorneys have served on the board for more than 40 years and the firm still provides financial support through the August A. Rendigs Foundation.

The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati is another organization close to Rendigs’ heart, as both a founding partner and current partner have children with Down syndrome. The firm has had associates serving the DSAGC and its board of directors for years. The company supports the nonprofit with donations of time and money, most recently participating in its 2011 Buddy Walk fundraiser.

Rendigs’ support extends to a variety of other organizations, as well. The company sponsors three walks in the month of October that benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Surviving the Teens program, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Wellness and the American Cancer Society. The company’s annual Rendigs Thanksgiving Luncheon brings employees together to provide canned and boxed food donations as well as monetary support for the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank.

In addition to a commitment to corporate philanthropy, Rendig encourages community service at the employee level. The firm promotes company participation in one charitable effort per quarter, such as making cards for Ronald McDonald House or making food at the Kids Against Hunger factory. Employees are also involved in the community on an individual basis, supporting more than 80 organizations.

How to reach: Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis LLP, (513) 381-9200 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:39

Casting a wide net

Under the leadership of President and CEO Bernie Stevens, PowerNet Global will celebrate its 20th anniversary in the telecommunications industry this year. What makes this achievement even more significant is that the Fairfield, Ohio-based company continues to operate and live by the same values it was founded on in 1992. That includes a commitment to taking care of its customers and also its local communities.

Many organizations have benefited from the financial contributions of the PowerNet as well as the personal contributions of individual employees.

PowerNet continually gives back a percentage of its profits to support local communities and ministries around the world. The company’s Global Social Committee also hosts events and fundraisers that consist of fun and often team-driven activities throughout the year. This gives the company’s employees opportunities to support local charities as well as build a spirit of camaraderie with colleagues. Some examples include sponsoring employees to participate in the “Heart Mini Marathon Run or Walk” each spring and hosting a companywide “Biggest Loser Contest,” from which half of the proceeds went to the Fairfield Food Pantry. Last summer, the committee also put on a series of summer social events for employees that included activities and incentives such as free ice cream and poker walks to motivate employees as well as a canned food drive.

PowerNet also encourages its employees to give freely to their local communities outside of work, whether it’s through financial donations, fundraising or volunteering time. Employees of PowerNet participate in a variety of charitable organizations, including the American Heart Association, The Healing Center, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and others. To support people in their individual efforts, the company offers employees “Charitable PTO,” which allows them to allocate up to eight hours of time on their calendar annually to give back to their preferred charities and nonprofit organizations.

How to reach: PowerNet Global, (800) 860-9495 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:34

In it together

When Tracie Metzger was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30, she went through a journey that included multiple treatments and surgeries. Yet even with the help and support of her family, she still wished there had been an opportunity to connect with other young women like herself. As a young survivor, Metzger created Pink Ribbon Girls with the mission of helping other young women with breast cancer by offering this network of support for them and their families from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery.

With its national, searchable database, Pink Ribbon Girls helps women with breast cancer connect and share their experiences with one another. By offering a forum where these women can share their experiences and get answers to their questions, the organization shows them that they are not in it alone. Metzger knows that bringing hope and a positive outlook to women with breast cancer is incredibly important, especially when they are first diagnosed and may be facing a dark time in their lives.

In October 2011, Pink Ribbon Girls celebrated its 10th anniversary. What began as several small coffee shop gatherings has grown into a national network through which more than 1,000 women come together to find woman-to-woman support, comfort and education.

As the organization has grown, so have the services that it is able to provide to the young women it serves. Through fundraising initiatives such as merchandise sales and charity events, Metzger, the organization’s executive director, leads its efforts as the co-founder and executive director, working to inspire every person to become a supporter of women with breast cancer. Today, Pink Ribbon Girls is also able to provide resources such as meals, cleaning services and even babysitting for many women who badly need these services during diagnosis and treatment. The organization also offers educational grants to survivors who are inspired to learn more about breast cancer.

How to reach: Pink Ribbon Girls, (513) 207-7975 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:30

A helping hand

Joseph S. Byrum has served Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries in a management capacity for more than 34 years. As president and CEO since 1979, Byrum has expanded the organization’s programs and services to meet community needs.

During his tenure, Ohio Valley Goodwill has served more than 50,000 men and women with disabilities or disadvantages and helped a significant percent to obtain economic self-sufficiency. Examples of programs and services implemented by Byrum toward this end include the creation of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program in the early ’90s, exponential growth in facility- and community-based services for individuals with developmental disabilities in the past 20 years and the launch of the award-winning Center for Advocacy, Recreation and Education (CARE) program.

Under Byron’s leadership, Ohio Valley Goodwill has also recently opened six new satellite work training centers, initiated the launch of a recreation/leisure program in Butler County, supported the development of the PAC program to provide job placement services and initiated a new youth mentoring program in collaboration with Goodwill International Industries.

To fund programs and services, Ohio Valley Goodwill operates 16 retail stores and has 28 donation center locations throughout the greater Cincinnati area, numbers grown under Byrum’s direction. The organization has also launched the most successful Goodwill Auto Auction program in the country. These efforts have allowed Goodwill’s employment and training programs to increase by more than 30 percent in the past three years, despite a challenging economic climate. In 2010 alone, the organization provided services to almost 3,000 persons with disabilities and veterans.

Byrum’s commitment to ongoing quality improvement practices has maintained Ohio Valley Goodwill’s excellent reputation within its community. The organization has received 12 consecutive CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) Accreditations, the most recent of which places Ohio Valley Goodwill in the top three percent of similar organizations nationwide.

How to reach: Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries, (513) 771-4800 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:26

Committed to the community

Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL maintains a commitment to the economic development initiatives that help keep downtown Cincinnati a great place for businesses, as well as an affordable destination for family entertainment. Toward that end, Managing Partner Paul Muething and his team at KMK partner with local organizations that advance the community and its inhabitants.

An example of KMK’s commitment to the vibrancy of downtown Cincinnati is the law firm’s partnership with Fountain Square Management Group, a subsidiary of 3CDC, to put on the Wednesday Evening Concert Series at Fountain Square. This 16-week series features a wide variety of reggae bands, and was offered free of charge to the community and downtown visitors.

KMK also dedicates significant support to helping members of the community in need. It partners with a variety of local organizations, such as St. Aloysius Orphanage. KMK’s contribution to the St. Aloysius Companies 4 Kids Golf Classic will assist in its mission to provide services to thousands of children and families touched by mental, behavioral and cognitive disabilities in the greater Cincinnati area.

The firm has financially supported various other local charities, schools and civic organizations, with more than $500,000 contributed in the past two years. Members and employees of the firm contributed an additional $104,000 to The United Way and $50,000 to ArtsWave. Putting in time as well as money, KMK attorneys and staff average more than 5,000 volunteer hours per year.

As part of this volunteer effort, KMK puts its employees’ legal skills to good use. Last year, over half of the firm’s attorneys donated a total of more than 3,300 pro bono hours of service to charitable organizations. Involved with the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, KMK attorneys contributed approximately 500 hours of service to Volunteer Lawyers Project cases.

How to reach: Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL, (513) 579-6400 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:22

Empowering employees

KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group strives for a culture of giving back that embraces employees, as well as the community. A premiere point-of-purchase and retail printing, fabrication and fulfillment company, KDM has enacted company-funded programs to assist employees in their personal lives.

The KDM Dream Makers Program, started in 2008, was created to help employees identify and achieve their goals and dreams. Approximately 150 employees participated in this program in 2011, meeting with a Dream Pro throughout the year — on company time — to work on goal setting and how to achieve those goals. The Dream Pros provide resources to enable employees to reach their set goals, whether that is continuing education or purchasing a new home.

The company, led by President Robert Kissel, also offers a hardship loan to employees having trouble with medical expenses or who have other hardships causing them to be able to meet financial commitments. KDM has provided funds to help employees pay for funerals of loved ones, as well. In 2011, KDM granted four hardship loans and made contributions to help two employees pay for funerals.

In addition to these internal programs, KDM keeps the needs of employees — both current and former — at heart when its service committee designs fundraisers to support a variety of local nonprofits. In 2011, the company raised $3,760 for the American Heart Association through a bake sale, raffle and company and employee donations. The company walked for AHA in honor of a former employee.

KDM walked for ALS in 2011, also in honor of another former employee battling the disease. The company raised $2,700 to support the Walk for ALS, holding fundraisers such as a bake sale, grill out and T-shirt sale. KDM also provided an expense-paid trip to Marco Island for the former employee and his wife the week prior to the walk.

How to reach: KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group, (513) 769-3500 or

Published in Cincinnati
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 11:17

Laying the foundation

Since he started as a board member 13 years ago, Steve Eder has continued to increase his involvement with Junior Achievement OKI Partners Inc.’s Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Chapter over the years. As chairman of the organization today, Eder leads by example through his strong commitment to its mission, driving others to help the community’s youth succeed.

Eder personally invests his time and resources to grow the scope and impact of JA programs. In addition to his responsibilities as chairman, he has served as a role model to more than 300 students by participating as JA classroom volunteer for more than 10 years.

Spending time in second- and third-grade classrooms at Bond Hill Elementary, a Cincinnati public school near his company, Messer Construction Co., he works closely with at-risk students to lead a third-grade JA program called “Our City.” The curriculum allows the students to explore different jobs and their skill sets by doing projects such as actually building a city, publishing their own newspaper and even creating their own restaurant.

Eder’s dedication has also inspired many other employees at Messer — where Eder is an operations vice president — to get involved in JA’s community initiatives. As a result, the company has raised funding dollars for numerous JA events such as its Business Hall of Fame, the JA Breakfast and the JA Bowl-A-Thon. Under Eder’s leadership, Messer employees have donated more than $12,000 per year through the JA Bowl-A-Thon with an average of 15 teams for each of the last ten years. The company also hosts JA students each year for its nationwide Job Shadow day, when employees spend the day educating students about career opportunities and professional skills. Today, approximately 30 of the company’s employees now volunteer with the Bond Hill Academy (BHS) Partners in Education Program, acting as tutors, mentors and classroom volunteers for students.

How to reach: Junior Achievement OKI Partners Inc., (513) 346-7100 or

Published in Cincinnati

About the program

The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service, presented by Smart Business Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, recognizes the tie between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds by honoring organizations and individuals for positively impacting the region and strengthening the community.

About the awards

  1. Each honoree, irrespective of the specific award, itself, is a member of “The Pillar Award for Community Service class of 2012.”
  2. The specific award falls into one of the following categories:

    1. Pillar Award — recognizes for-profit entities for broadly defined “general good deeds” — i.e., giving back to the community, corporate philanthropy (financial contributions), pro bono work, volunteerism, etc.
    2. Medical Mutual SHARE Award — recognizes the one member of the “Pillar Award for Community Service class of 2012” for its employee-driven philanthropy. This is where the employees take the lead role in determining the organization’s philanthropic efforts.
    3. CVS Samaritan Award — recognizes the one member of the “Pillar Award for Community Service class of 2012” for its commitment (or his or her commitment if it’s an individual) to helping break the cycle of poverty in the community service efforts.
    4. Executive Director (of the Year) Award — recognizes the top executive(s) of a nonprofit organization(s) for his or her ability to efficiently run the organization in a fiscally responsible manner,  effectively tap into the expertise of the board of directors and successfully deliver upon the organization’s mission.
    5. Nonprofit Board Executive (of the Year) Award — recognizes for-profit executives for their work on the boards of nonprofit organizations. This may be bringing unique expertise to the board, providing financial support or leading large-or-small-scale volunteer efforts that help impact the success of the organization.
    6. Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award — recognizes one top executive of a for-profit company whose commitment to and spirit for community service and giving serves as an example for the organization he or she leads and filters down throughout the organization.
    7. At its core, all honorees are Pillar Award for Community Service winners.

About Smart Business Network

Smart Business Network is a national multimedia company that provides insight, advice and strategy to C-suite executives and entrepreneurs. It publishes 17 regional management journals under the brand Smart Business, operates multiple Web properties and produces conferences and events across the U.S.

Published in Cincinnati