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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Leadership NKY Class of 2020 Announces Recipients of Class Charitable Giving Initiative

Three local nonprofit organizations to receive grants totaling $40,360

Jimmy Beatrice, Joel Appleberry, Mark Collier, Will Johnson and Joe Fleissner

Despite an unprecedented time in history, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Northern Kentucky (Leadership NKY) Class of 2020’s determination did not let a global pandemic deter them from completing the task before them. Now, three Northern Kentucky charitable organizations are set to reap the benefits of their work as a result.

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The Lincoln Grant Scholar House (part of the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission), the Life Learning Center and Samaritan Car Care Clinic have been chosen to receive grants from Leadership NKY Class of 2020’s Giving Challenge. The grants will be formally announced during the NKY Chamber’s NKY Spotlight podcast on Thursday, May 14, 2020.

The Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2020 at their Camp Joy retreat in September of 2019.
The grants stem from a partnership between Leadership NKY and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) announced last August in which GCF gave the class $25,000 to award to NKY nonprofits by the end of their program year. The additional $15,360 in funds were raised through personal contributions of members of the class, as well as several of their respective companies, including: The Duke Energy Foundation, PCA Architecture, Business Benefits, The At Home Chef, The Décor Group of NKY and Fort Thomas Matters.

Lincoln Grant Scholar House and Life Learning Center will each receive $15,120 and Samaritan Car Care Clinic will receive $10,120. Lincoln Grant Scholar House has been awarded the grant to support its residents’ housing and transportation needs; Life Learning Center’s grant will provide housing assistance to 175 employed clients to help them sustain the cost of sober residency until receiving their first paycheck from their respective employers. Samaritan Car Care Clinic’s grant will be used to cover the costs of critical repairs for vehicles owned by working individuals living on limited incomes.


Pat Haggerty, Laura Menge, Christy Burch and Emily Lusk

Using the community as a classroom, the Leadership NKY program helps participants gain an understanding of the region’s strengths and opportunities, as well as the skills necessary to motivate and engage others to collaboratively address them. Once selected, participants undergo a substantive education by industry leaders across a diverse range of topics, including economic development, education, government and human services. Unlike their predecessors, however, the 50 members of the Leadership NKY Class of 2020 faced an unheard-of challenge with this year’s class project: How to complete the process in the wake of a global pandemic.

Coming together in December to discuss how to focus their charitable giving, the class sent out a Request for Proposals in early January. This was followed by them individually scoring each nonprofit’s application, with March 23 as the planned date for the first of two class-wide meetings to make final decisions. Once the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic start shutting things down the week of March 16, however, the class was unable to meet in person. Laura Menge, GCF Senior Philanthropic Advisor and Leadership NKY Class of 2020 Chair says it was at that point the class self-mobilized, self-organized into groups, and, through virtual meetings, accelerated their efforts to get the grant dollars into the community that greatly needed them.

Given how one of the goals of the initiative is to instill a full appreciation for the process of philanthropic work, Menge believes this year’s Leadership NKY class rose to the challenge in phenomenal fashion.

"How fantastic it is to see the members of this class pull together and demonstrate what they’ve learned about the region through Leadership NKY by making three community investments that are meaningful to them. Especially during a time of extreme crisis and challenge caused by the pandemic, this grantmaking to organizations serving individuals in need feels particularly important,” said Menge. “This class leaves a legacy of generosity, and my hope is that the class members will continue to be supportive of our NKY nonprofits across the rest of their careers and beyond.”

Leadership NKY Class of 2020 President Mark Collier, who says that philanthropy is “not a passive sport,” says the end result was worth the struggle.

“Leadership NKY became a showcase that demonstrated the common needs that are needed to move Northern Kentucky forward. Our class learned what it was to be intentional with your giving and how to maximize our talents and treasures for the betterment of others,” said Collier. “There was so much passion in our class discussions on where to deploy the gift that GCF blessed us with at the start of our giving challenge; (in addition, we learned) the ancillary benefits to our region will ripple through our region for years to come. The experience our classmates have shared through this pandemic will be something that we’ll always positively associate with one another in our class.”


Shellie Baker, Director of Lincoln Grant Scholar House, says her organization is “so grateful” for Leadership NKY’s support.

“The impact of this grant will allow us to support our families through our holistic support system in more ways than we could have imagined,” Baker said. “Leadership NKY continues to shine by making meaningful connections and empowering our community. As a Leadership NKY alum, I appreciate the support that the 2020 Leadership NKY Class has given to Northern Kentucky CAC and the Lincoln Grant Scholar House families.”

Life Learning Center President Alecia Webb-Edgington agrees.

“Life Learning Center is honored to be one of the three recipients of the inaugural grant of the LNKY Class of 2020,” Webb-Edgington said. “This funding will support “at-risk” individuals on their journey to change, sustainability and dignity with transformational employment.”

Like his fellow grant recipients, Samaritan Car Care Clinic Director Bruce Kintner is thankful for the Leadership NKY Class of 2020’s generosity.

“It is an incredible honor to be included in the same grant pool as Life Learning Center and Lincoln Grant Scholar House,” said Kintner. “What makes this grant even more special is that the Clinic already partners with those two wonderful organizations to help low-income individuals with car maintenance and repairs. The Leadership NKY grant will be put to great use helping those we serve stay on their path toward economic self-sufficiency.”

Leadership NKY is powered by Citi. To learn more about Leadership NKY, contact Dawn Denham at or visit

The Leadership NKY Class of 2020 are:

Emma Adkisson, PCA Architecture
Ryan Allen, Love Must Win, Inc.
Joel Appleberry, Strategic Healthcare Services, LLC
James Beatrice, Business Benefits Insurance Solutions
Michael Bloemer, Covington Fire Department
Christy Burch, Women’s Crisis Center
Emily Cahill, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Foundation
Keith Carlson, VonLehman & Co.
Aaron Caskey, Dressman Benzinger LaVelle, PSC (DBL Law)
Gregory Cecil, Duke Energy
Mark Collier, Living Media
Ken Durbin, The At Home Chef, LLC
John Enzweiler, First Financial Bank
Ryan Eten, Jolly Enterprises
Michael Fay, Commonwealth Hotels
Jessica Fette, City of Erlanger
Jamee Flaherty, Fort Thomas Independent Schools
Joe Fleissner, Fifth Third Bank
Darren Ford, Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP
Sarah Gray, U.S. Bank
Patrick Haggerty, Baker & Hostetler LLP
Nick Hoyng, Danis Construction
Will Johnson, Messer Construction Co.
Ryan Kennedy, North American Properties
Adrijana Kowatsch, Gateway Community and Technical College
Paul Kremer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Brittany Lawrence, Clark Schaefer Hackett
Neha Matta, The Health Collaborative
Ashley McClure, Covington Partners
Marcella McNay, Campbell County 9-1-1 Center
June Miller, Brighton Center, Inc.
Cynthia Minter, Campbell County Fiscal Court
Kyle Newman, U.S. Bank
Jennifer Panepinto, Northern Kentucky Tri-ED
Nicholas Pieczonka, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Amy Prather, Republic Bank
LaDonna Purcell, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
Brandon Quillen, Newport on the Levee
Matt Ritzmann, Heritage Bank
Brandon Roell, St. Elizabeth Physicians
Julie Rottman, Zalla Companies
Billy Santos, BB&T
Ann Schoenenberger, Kenton County Library
Christina Schreiner Spille, Faith Community Pharmacy
Holly Smith, Cove Federal Credit Union
Karralea Stickrod-List, The Décor Group of NKY, Inc.
Jack VonHandorf, Notre Dame Academy
Nicholas Wade, Renaissance Covington
Ann Marie Whelan, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Joshua Wiffler, Kroger
Karen Zengel, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Northern Kentucky

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