Recent News

March 29, 2017

Celebrating the Community Game Changers

United Way of Greater Cincinnati fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community.

We win by Living United. By forging unlikely partnerships. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. And inspiring individuals to join the fight against a common foe: Our community's most daunting social crises.

We will be honoring the ones who are the hand raisers and the game changers for those who need a voice, and celebrate the work we do together at our 2017 Leaders and Legends Luncheon on April 19 at the Duke Energy Convention Center. To register, please visit

legend awards

the geier family award for united way leadership

Kevin M. Carroll, P&G

Kevin has served United Way in a variety of leadership areas, including the Volunteer Connection Leadership Council, serving as Co-Chair from 2012-13 and currently as Chair beginning in 2014. Under Kevin’s leadership, he has helped Volunteer Connection analyze and structure measures of success.  He outlined the format for glide paths for Volunteer Connection metrics in order to help the Volunteer Connection Leadership Council members and staff identify volunteer needs and trends. 

Kevin has also been instrumental in connecting Leadership Council members to volunteer engagement goals and strategies where they could best apply their skills and talents.  He has guided the Volunteer Connection team in allocating resources to high-priority initiatives and strategies. 

Kevin is currently a member of United Way’s Board of Directors (2010-11, 2014-present) and Tocqueville Advisory Council (since 2014), and in the past has served on the Marketing Cabinet (2011), and the Centennial Year Vision Cabinet, which aided in the strategic planning of United Way’s Centennial Year in 2015.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to get involved in volunteering?: 'You have something to offer that few can. You may not figure it out immediately but put your best foot forward and friends old and new will help you get there.'


Ruth w. and Robert I. Westheimer award for continuous leadership

Merwin Grayson Jr., retired, Central Bank of Kentucky

Merwin Grayson Jr. has dedicated over 30 years of service to United Way in numerous leadership capacities, including a long-time member of the Foundation Board (1998-99, 2010-15), serving as Chair from 2011-13. In his time on the Foundation Board, Mer directed a team of high-level volunteers responsible for providing leadership in developing and executing ongoing strategies for the planned giving and endowment program for United Way.  The Foundation provides a flexible vehicle for individuals, families and businesses to perpetuate their financial support of United Way’s mission.

Mer’s service on the United Way Board of Directors has spanned 22 years beginning in 1995 and serving as Chair from 1998-99. He has been active in the Northern Kentucky community, previously serving on the Northern Kentucky Campaign Cabinet and Chair of the Northern Kentucky Campaign, and has been a “go to” campaign problem solver ever since. Merwin was also a part of the Northern Kentucky Advisory Board and the Northern Kentucky Vision 2015 Regional Stewardship Council, which helped strategically plan the region’s blueprint.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to get involved in volunteering?:  "Just 'raise your hand' and volunteer. You will make a difference in the lives of people and families that need our help."

neil h. mcelroy award for united way resource development leadership

David L. Faulk, retired, Macy's, Inc.

In addition to being a member of United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Board of Directors and Success By 6 Regional Leadership Council, David was the  Loaned Executive/Ambassador chair from 2007-2014, and Co-Chair from 2015-16. In this role, David was responsible for speaking on behalf of the program to Cabinet volunteers, meeting with relevant decision-makers with our corporate partners, and being present at various Ambassador activities throughout the campaign. David helped build the Ambassador program into something that lives up to what a “Give Back” program is all about – a “three-way” win benefitting the participating Ambassador, United Way, and the sponsoring organization.

He also ensured Macy’s specific support of the program by lending United Way two or three Ambassadors each year. David also served on the Campaign Cabinet from 2007-2016 and worked with corporate leadership throughout Greater Cincinnati to secure their continued support of United Way.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to get involved in volunteering?: "Look at volunteering as a three way benefit: it helps United Way, it helps the community, and it helps you become a better person."

joseph a. hall award for promoting diversity

Shakila T. Ahmad, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati

Shakila Ahmad has displayed exemplary community leadership around diversity and inclusion in her role as the President of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. She helped found Rahma Community Services – a social service arm of the Islamic Center – with United Way support. Rahma provides a wide range of services and programs focused on bringing the community together, removing any barriers of language, culture, and ethnicity while building trust. Ahmad is also committed to outreach and educating Greater Cincinnati about the Muslim community, as she leads weekday tours of the Islamic Center for non-Muslim visitors and leaders.

She has been a member of United Way’s Board of Directors and Impact Cabinet since 2012, helping to strategically guide and make decisions regarding United Way’s investment process. She has also served as the Board’s representative to United Way’s Social Innovation Council since 2015, where she plays a key role in ensuring that our innovation strategies are aligned to the overall objectives of United Way.  She is also a tireless champion for inclusion and pushes our strategies to be accessible to a wide range of potential partners. 

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to get involved in volunteering?: "Do it! It will truly enrich your life and know it has mine!"

impact leadership award

 Cincinnati Preschool Promise Steering Committee Co-Chairs, Bishop Michael E. Dantley, Ed.D., Miami University; Ozie Davis III, Ozie Davis and Associates; Vice Mayor David S. Mann, City of Cincinnati; Cheryl Rose, Hawthorn PNC Family WealthPP logo

The Cincinnati Preschool Promise Steering Committee Co-Chairs signaled to the community that the Preschool Promise represented a collaboration of public, private, business and faith communities. These four individuals led a diverse, 45-member committee that broadened the base of support among cross sector constituents, developed recommendations to begin the preschool operation and assured equitable participation among community-based and public school preschool programs.  They were instrumental for building the groundswell of support needed to ensure a successful ballot initiative, which became Issue 44, and ultimately passed to give Cincinnati children a strong start and a strong future. It has been said that under the leadership of these four co-chairs, we defined a different way of getting things done in Cincinnati.

youth leadership award

Jayren Andrews, Avondale Youth Council, Child Poverty Collaborative Steering Committee

Jayren is currently a member of the Child Poverty Collaborative Steering Committee, which is managed by United Way of Greater Cincinnati, and is focused on reducing the number of children in poverty by 10,000 within five years. Jayren is one of two youth representatives on the Steering Committee and has shown great courage in speaking up and a willingness to contribute. As President of the Avondale Youth Council, Jayren mobilized members of the Council to participate in the Child Poverty Collaborative’s first Community Summit in June of 2016. They welcomed participants and helped provide a youth voice and perspective to the Summit. Jayren has also been active with United Way agency partner Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (CYC) and was recognized at CYC’s 2016 Dream Makers Celebration for his hard work and dedication as a CYC student. Jayren is currently enrolled in the Business program at Northern Kentucky University and was awarded CYC’s Outstanding Student Scholarship for his commitment to academic excellence, and remarkable leadership acumen.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to get involved in volunteering?:  "We are here to be servants. How do you expect someone to serve you if you cannot serve them? Do not do it because of what someone says either, do it because it is the right thing to do."

living her legacy award

Amy F. Kendall, Chubb

Amy has been a member of United Way’s Tocqueville Society and Women of Tocqueville for six years, and during that tenure served on the Women’s Executive Committee since 2013.  In her most recent role as Chair of the Women of Tocqueville, Amy led this incredible group of women towards the development and implementation of new programming to more deeply engage the membership, and create a stronger connection towards the work of United Way.  In 2016, Amy and the Executive Committee launched “Compelling Conversations,” a program to engage our Women of Tocqueville in meaningful and action oriented dialogue surrounding our community’s greatest challenges.  As she continues to Live Her Legacy, Amy has also joined the United Way Foundation Board in 2017, furthering her commitment to our community and United Way.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to get involved in volunteering?: "Make the first step in an area of interest and fully engage in that step. Momentum will take you from there."

Leader Awards


improving our community

VITA Site Coordinators


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the United Way have worked together for over 10 years to coordinate the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which builds financial stability in our community by helping low and moderate income working families to file their taxes and get the refunds and credits for which they are eligible.  A group of about 20 key volunteers — called site coordinators —make this program possible.  Site coordinators study and become expert in tax law and IRS rules, and they help recruit, train, coach, schedule, coordinate and support groups of 3-20 volunteers at the sites. Since United Way began participating in the VITA program, the collaborative has been instrumental in returning more than $143 million to the community. 

developing resources

Lisa C. Holland, Fifth Third Bank

Lisa was a member of United Way’s Campaign Cabinet from 2012-13, and served on the United Way Emerging Leaders Steering Committee from 2010-13, including as Vice Chair in 2012 and Chair in 2013. After her term on the Emerging Leaders Steering Committee expired, Lisa continued to lead the internal Emerging Leaders efforts at Fifth Third every year. Lisa has led and participated in United Way volunteer events at Salvation Army, Adopt-a-Book, Redwood, Every Child Succeeds, Tender Mercies, Brighton Center, Giving Fields and more. 

strengthening our region

William L. Scheyer, Skyward; Rhonda R. Whitaker, Duke Energy

William has been a close partner to United Way in his role as President of Vision 2015 and Skyward, specifically around the Pre-K Works and Partners for a Competitive Workforce (PCW) initiatives. Pre-K Works is an independent, cross-sector initiative co-convened by Skyward and United Way’s Success By 6® which aims to provide universal access to high-quality preschool for all children ages 3 and 4 in Northern Kentucky. In his work with PCW, Bill served as a member of the Northern Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Coalition and on the PCW Partners Council.

Rhonda has also worked with PCW, serving as the employer chair for the Northern Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Coalition. She was an exemplary leader of that effort in terms of helping to set direction, bringing all interested parties together, creating plans and setting priorities. She went above and beyond the call of duty, putting in a countless number of hours to get folks aligned to the work and with other efforts going on with the Northern Kentucky Chamber and other groups in Northern Kentucky. Rhonda has also been involved with the campaign, and in 2011 she became the first woman to Chair the Northern Kentucky Campaign. 


communicating our message

Craig F. Osterhues, GE Aviation


Craig served on the 2016 Campaign Cabinet as the Healthcare/Education Chair and will serve in the same capacity in 2017. Craig is able to easily and effectively communicate and align the United Way message to key community leaders that positive influences action that create change. He gathered significant financial support from the Cincinnati Business Community and the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee’s CEO’s and top executives for the Step-Up Cincinnati challenge, a new initiative in 2015 to help employers promote wellness by counting daily steps and also to financially support the United Way Community Health Agenda’s Gen-H work. 

improving our accountability & effectiveness

Richard L. Batterberry, Barnes Dennig & Co., Ltd.

Richard has been a member of the Agency Audit Review Committee (AARC) since 2007. As AARC Chair in 2015-16, Richard led AARC, composed of accounting and financial management experts, in the adoption of an updated online review system of agencies’ financial audits, management letters and IRS Form 990s. Under Richard’s leadership, AARC conducts a more efficient and collaborative review of agency partners’ financial reports. In 2008, Richard, along with members of his firm, Barnes Dennig, provided invaluable training to United Way agency partners on the expanded IRS Form 990, which focused attention on agencies’ governance and disclosure areas.