CINCINNATI (Jan. 16, 2024) — Michael Napier knows well the importance of building trust with people.
As Vice President and Wealth Advisor for Horan Wealth, he assists individuals and families with money management, financial planning, tax strategies, retirement planning and the like.
"It's fulfilling," he says. "You make a difference in people's lives. You build trust. That's what I like about it."
He views his involvement with United Way of Greater Cincinnati in much the same way. It's about having trust in an organization that makes a difference in people's lives.
Michael's generous donations reflect the fact that United Way has earned his trust. But just as important, he says, are his contributions as a volunteer.
"Volunteering helps you understand and trust the organization," he says. "You trust the agency partners and you trust that (donations) are going to help local families. Keeping the money local is important."
For a number of years, Michael volunteered with United Way's Free Tax Prep initiative. He prepared returns at the Free Tax Prep site at Brighton Center. He is a former board member of that United Way partner and now serves on its finance committee.
His efforts with Free Tax Prep helped families with low and moderate incomes claim the credits they deserve. The Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, can put thousands of dollars into people's pockets.
"The people I prepared returns for were the most thankful people in the world," Michael says. "I listened to their stories, and they're very proud, and very thankful. You walk out of there feeling great. I felt like I made a difference."
Michael and his Horan colleagues also have participated in the Unite for Teen Financial Literacy effort, a joint project of United Way and Junior Achievement. Last year on March 7 at Withrow High School, seventh-graders listened as he covered topics such as creating and sticking to a budget.
Horan, where Michael has worked for 13 years, completed its 2023 United Way campaign with 100 percent participation. "We're pretty excited about that," he says. "We have a culture of giving back and community service."
He credits that culture — along with his parents and his Jesuit education at Xavier University — with having a positive influence on his approach to philanthropy.
At Xavier, Michael earned a finance degree and met his wife, Renee. They live in Crescent Springs. Their son attends Auburn University, and their daughter is a senior at St. Ursula Academy.
When young people ask him about a career in financial services, he tells them: "It's not always about stocks and bonds and taxes. It's also about building relationships, being there for people, helping people."
And in that respect, it's a lot like United Way.
FUN FACTS ABOUT MICHAEL NAPIER
"I spend a lot of time with my family. This past fall I was at Auburn and did a big football tailgate with my son and his buddies. My daughter and I recently attended a father-daughter dance. I dressed up as Elvis and she dressed up as Elton John. We were No. 3 in the dance contest!"