News & Event
They rode the same school bus and attended first through twelfth grade together. Growing up in rural Alabama after the Great Depression, Don and Laura Harrison were academic rivals. Both sharp students dreamed of attending college.
“My parents pushed education always,” Don said. “My mother had been top of her high school class but because of the Depression couldn’t go to college and my father had only gone to third grade.” After winning a state oratorical contest as well as a scholarship, Don made his way to Birmingham-Southern College.
For Laura, the youngest of seven children, it was even more of a challenge.
“I came from a very humble background,” she said. “I desperately wanted to go to college and there was no way my family could support that, so I had to find a way to do it.”
Laura worked for a year at her former high school and met a recruiter who helped get her to the University of North Alabama. She worked through college and married Don during his first year of medical school.
That determined young girl is now part of a dynamic pair that helps others, particularly in the area of education. Through their donor advised fund at GCF, Don and Laura support programs and scholarships at their alma maters, as well as area nonprofits.
“It was difficult for me, so I’d like to pass on the opportunity to someone from a similar background who is really eager to go to school and does not have the means to do it,” Laura said.
This passion for education led the Harrisons to visit Lower Price Hill Community School and grew into an interest in the entire Price Hill neighborhood, including BLOC Ministries.
They also like the BLOC Coffee Company, which employs residents and has brought business to the neighborhood. The former rivals in learning say they have plans to branch out and help other local communities.
Isn’t Greater Cincinnati fortunate they rode the same school bus?
This story appeared in GCF's 2013 Annual Report.
Generous volunteers are the heart of GCF. Governing Board members and other community volunteers contribute their time and expertise on a variety of standing committees and task forces. Volunteers also helped plan and implement our 50th Anniversary and Big Idea Challenge in 2013.
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From our long work in this community, we’ve gained perspective on the many initiatives created to preserve our assets and address regional challenges. As you decide how best to deploy your charitable resources, we hope to be a helpful and trusted resource for you.
Because many of you seek our assistance on effective local grantmaking, we present a new way to partner and support your philanthropy. By combining your grants with ours, together we can help meet more funding requests in the areas about which you’re most passionate.
Co-investment is an opportunity for you and GCF to make a transformational grant that fully aligns with your interests in our community. It will never be an obligation. Interested donors will be invited to join GCF staff for site visits and have the chance to explore local organizations and GCF grantmaking in depth.
Last spring, Jackie and Roy Sweeney generously co-invested to support the Clifton Cultural Arts Center and renovations of its Auditorium. Their co-investment made that grant possible, and it secured funding for the Clifton neighborhood where Roy grew up.
“GCF brings giving opportunities that we would not have known about,” explained the Sweeneys.
As GCF launches this initiative, we’d like to know your thoughts. Would you consider co-investing? Please contact your Giving Strategies team at 513-288-2880 to learn more about the ways in which we can be generous together or to inquire about current opportunities.