United Way Donor Profile: Trey and Nancy Grayson - Community Involvement Runs Deep

Tocqueville Society members Trey and Nancy Grayson both have lifelong ties with United Way as donors and volunteers. “We’re stronger as the collective sum of our parts,” says Nancy.
November 14, 2022
United Way Donor Profile: The Graysons (Detail)
Tocqueville Society members Trey & Nancy Grayson with their daughters.

CINCINNATI (November 14, 2022) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps no one missed the in-person Tocqueville Society gatherings more than Trey and Nancy Grayson. 

“I think we have one of the strongest Tocqueville societies in the nation,” Nancy says. “I am very excited to be coming back in person, to be together with like-minded people who want to improve our region.” 

Trey, too, looks forward to the First Tuesday lunches; the next one is Dec. 6. “I love learning from the presenters, whether they’re speaking about a group, an idea, (or) research. I also like learning from the people at my table.” 

No doubt the people at their table enjoy learning from the Graysons, too.  

Nancy is President and CEO of Horizon Community Funds, a Northern Kentucky philanthropic organization focused on poverty, health and wellness, education and the arts. As a volunteer, she has made an impact on a variety of social service, education, business and religious organizations and foundations. 

Trey is an attorney with Frost Brown Todd and is managing director of the firm’s government relations affiliate, CivicPoint. Before joining the law firm, he was director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. And before that, he served two terms as Kentucky’s Secretary of State. He also is active with various civic and charitable groups. 

The couple, who live in Boone County, will mark their 23rd wedding anniversary in January. Their daughters, Alex and Kate, need to look no further than their parents for role models who strengthen the community through their investments of time, talent and treasure. 

Trey and Nancy say their parents, too, set good examples.  

Trey’s father, Merwin, is a retired banker. He’s also a former chair of the United Way Board of Directors, the United Way Foundation Board and the Northern Kentucky campaign. 

Many years ago, Trey asked his father: Why are you so involved in the community? “One, it’s the right thing to do,” he replied. “And two, a growing community is a great place to do banking. By being involved in the community, I’m helping the bank.”  

Merwin encouraged Trey to be involved with United Way. And as Trey’s career progressed, “I became impressed with how United Way played a seminal role in our community, helping to develop a comprehensive strategy and encouraging organizations to work together.”  

So, he took his father’s advice. Trey has served on the United Way board, has chaired the Northern Kentucky campaign and is a member of the Public Policy Committee.  

Nancy’s father also was involved with United Way. But her earliest memories of her parents giving back stem from their faith-based efforts within the Episcopal church. “It was a lot of volunteering, doing things communally through the church.”  

What she saw then is true today. “We’re stronger as the collective sum of our parts,” says Nancy, who has served on United Way’s Northern Kentucky Action Council. “We can do more when we do it together. 

“United Way has done that for so many years. I’d like to think Horizon Community Funds is doing that, standing shoulder to shoulder with United Way in Northern Kentucky.” 

While community organizations must work together to achieve desired results, it’s equally important, the Graysons say, for those organizations to be willing to evolve.  

Nancy cites an example: This year, rather than set an agenda for the community and ask partners to align with that agenda, United Way flipped the process. It sought input about opportunities and solutions from community members and then used those learnings to address systemic problems.  

“I really applaud United Way for saying we have to try new approaches,” Nancy says. “Then we measure (progress) to see whether we are doing the work our mission calls us to do.” 


Nancy: “I am a foodie. I’m obsessed with oysters. Every year, Trey and our daughters buy me an “oyster of the month” delivery and I invite people over and shuck 50 oysters from New England. We have cocktails and appetizers and eat oysters on the half shell.” 

Trey: “I’m a Kentuckian. You would think I would have learned how to smoke meat there. But I learned how when we lived in Boston, after Nancy got me a smoker for Father’s Day.” 

The Tocqueville Experience


Tocqueville members enjoy meeting other philanthropic leaders at signature events such as cocktail receptions, luncheons and educational forums.

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