News & Event
As you enjoy your favorite holiday meals, pastimes and customs, Greater Cincinnati Foundation staff members share a few of our own festive rituals — from the reverent to the ridiculous, the sentimental to the sassy — which add delight to the season.
Terri Masur: The Masur clan gathered together with friends and family on Christmas evening in Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Norb’s basement, and Uncle Norb would lead the group in singing the carols on the Mitch Miller’s Christmas album. Over the years this event grew and evolved: Norb’s children built a podium and his conductor baton hung on a plaque on the basement wall. To embarrass any newcomer (usually one of the kids’ dates), Norb would invite him or her to join him in conducting or singing a solo. The grandkids created dances or skits to go with the songs and clothespin/pretend microphones and song sheets were distributed. Uncle Norb is long gone but this tradition continues. We gather at the house of Norb’s son, take turns with the baton at the podium leading songs, drag the newbies up in front of the crowd and sing into our clothespins.
Evie Epifano: My mom, sister and I have a Christmas Eve tradition of going to get Chinese food for dinner and then watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Chinese food tradition comes from this parody music video called “Chinese Food On Christmas” about all of the things Jewish people do on Christmas Day while most businesses are closed. Because our family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas, this was a running joke in our house.
Colleen McCarthy Blair: My family —parents and siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandchildren —gathers at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve, and every year we sing the same Christmas carols to each other, complete with songbooks! Because I previously worked on an Indian reservation, at one point I taught them how to sing “Jingle Bells” in Lakota, and that’s now part of the annual repertoire. Our finale is Maria Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” and everybody dances.
When I was a child, my parents would record us sitting at the top of the stairs as we sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus before we could come down to see if Santa had left us presents.
Connie Yeager Winternitz: When my daughters Katie and Abby were young, we decided to extend the giving — and receiving — of Christmas by celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with small daily small stocking stuffers through Twelfth Night. It was fun to have that wake-up-in-the-morning surprise extend beyond December 25, and we’d cap it with a “Three Kings Party” on January 6 (Epiphany).
Joelle Tunning: One tradition we have is giving a donation to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. This is an organization associated with our church that fights for human rights internationally and directly assists refugees – a nonsectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates.
The Holiday donation process is called Guest at Your Table. We keep a cardboard box on our dining room table. Each meal, we give coins that directly match the things we have in our lives that many others living in refugee camps or facing deportation might not have. A dime for every window in our home. A quarter for every door. A dollar for every toilet. A nickel for every coat we own. And on and on until at the end of the month we have a sizable amount of money in the box. On Christmas Eve, members all bring their boxes and place them under the Christmas tree; the collective funds are sent to UUSC.
Jamie Lydenberg: After growing up on the East Coast, we acquired the tradition of having “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” on Christmas Eve. A typically Italian American tradition, it is a meal comprised of seven fish (seafood) dishes. My mother is the cook of the family, she prepares the meal and we bring the wine.
Jaclyn Sablosky: Each year, Snowflake (Santa’s elf) comes back with St. Nick to watch over our children — Emma, 6; Kate, 15 months; and Baby on the way — and make sure they are being good. Snowflake is magical, so you can’t touch her or she will lose her magic and can’t fly back to Santa.
Snowflake magically decorates Emma’s bathroom to get her in the holiday spirit. Each night she flies to the North Pole to report back to Santa on how good Emma was and therefore returns to a new landing spot every morning. Emma is always excited to find Snowflake and see what kind of trouble she may have gotten into overnight — Snowflake always does something she’s not supposed to do while we are all sleeping!
Eric DeWald: When our daughters Olivia and Sophie were little we would talk about Santa and how he would land on the roof of our house. Inevitably, they would start to listen for any kind of sound they thought might be Santa. We would have a friend or family member sneak up into the attic and walk around with slow, heavy steps. The girls would get really excited and run into bed, knowing that nothing would be delivered until they were asleep. Then we would leave footprints and half-eaten cookies around the tree.
The best part is that I continue to do some version of this tradition. I only do it to get the “eye rolls” from Liv and Soph, and all of the whispering comments back-and-forth between them about “when will Dad stop doing this?”; “he knows we don’t believe in Santa, right?”; “Now we’re going to have to make cookies for him to leave out for Santa”; “Dad, we know you ate those cookies and they weren’t low-carb.” They have fun telling me that they know how I made the footprints (flour on the bottom of my boots) and “we’re not helping you clean that mess up.”
Dora Anim: One tradition we have is to allow our four children to open one gift on Christmas Eve, which is always cozy pajamas and socks. They then put them on and we stay up late watching Christmas specials, eating snacks and playing board games. Even though we do it every year, it never fails — they still get excited about the gift they can open on Christmas Eve and even act surprised when they open the cozy pajamas.
Robert Killins Jr.: My family has made a tradition of participating in a Kwanzaa celebration every year. It is a seven-day African American cultural holiday that runs from December 26 to January 1. One way that we celebrate Kwanzaa is at our church. We often host a half-day program where we celebrate seven elders for their service in our community, one for each of the daily traditions honored by Kwanzaa: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). My youngest daughter, Nia Imani, is named in honor of two of those traditions. Kwanzaa, as a cultural holiday, is a great complement to our Christmas celebration that we focus on as more of a religious observance.
Angie Williams: My kids leave beer and wings out for Santa in addition to some cookies. They know he needs real food on his belly and not just sweets.
Laura Menge: I hang my stocking by my chimney with care … and call it a day!
CINCINNATI (December 18, 2015) — On Dec. 18, 2015, federal legislation was passed making the charitable IRA rollover permanent. As a result people aged 70½ and older have a special tax-free opportunity to make a meaningful charitable gift.
If you are at least 70½, the law allows you to transfer up to $100,000 of your IRA assets by December 31, 2015, directly to a qualified public charity such as The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.
Since the assets you transfer will not be recognized as income, they will not trigger federal income taxes today or estate tax in the future. If you are married, you and your spouse can each transfer up to $100,000 per year.
Contact the Giving Strategies staff of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation if you have any questions. We can be reached at 513-241-2880 or by email.
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Find out more about Cliff Effect research by The Women's Fund [PDF]
The Women's Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation leads our community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region. Through leadership, research, and grantmaking, The Women’s Fund works to identify and address the barriers affecting working women and their families. Learn more and get involved at cincinnatiwomensfund.org
It’s all part of an afternoon with Riverview East Academy’s Garden Club.
The Garden Club, 20 children in grades K-4, tackles the great outdoors with shovels, seeds and a lot of enthusiasm every other week.
Under the creative guidance of Corina Bullock and Susie Kretzschmar of the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati they learn about nature through hands-on activities.
Before they begin the afternoon’s work, Corina reminds them of tool etiquette.
“Be very careful. Be respectful. Everyone gets a turn so don’t panic if someone is doing something you’re not,” she said.
Garden Club members learn the different parts and functions of plants, composting, propagation and photosynthesis. They go on nature walks, plant bulbs, and paint flower pots.
Riverview’s Garden Club grew out of community involvement.
A resident and Civic Garden Center member approached the school, hoping that the students would want to use a resource right in their back yard – the East End Veteran’s Memorial Garden.
“Our program is not just child care, it’s an academic enrichment program,” said Meg Stagnaro, CincyAfterSchool site coordinator at Riverview.
The school’s Garden Club is one of many partnerships through Riverview’s community learning center (CLC).
Cincinnati Public Schools’ CLCs are much more than school buildings. They offer academic programs, enrichment activities and support to students, families and community members – before and after school, during the evenings and on weekends.
Partnerships with local businesses, community organizations like CincyAfterSchool, public agencies, the arts community and faith-based organizations bring services and resources to the school.
A CLC becomes the heart of the neighborhood, providing opportunities for all members of the community.
At the start of the 2006-2007 academic year, CPS launched CLCs in nine pilot schools. The plan is to expand this to all schools over the next decade.
GCF decided to “lead by example” and commit $1 million over four years to CLCs. GCF made this grant because our schools and community are intrinsically linked. And for our region to thrive, its core city and schools must be healthy.
CLCs support public education, strengthen neighborhoods and help reduce racial disparities.
At Riverview, the heat and humidity rise around 3:30 p.m. and the young gardeners look a little wilted. But they are no shrinking violets. They are still hard at work and intent on digging, planting and moving mulch. They work well together, this mix of boys and girls of various ages.
A few break into a song about reading and others chime in.
“I love dirt,” sighed Joe, a second grader.
“I think the best thing we are able to provide through this partnership is a respect of nature and an understanding of nature,” Corina said.
Over by the mulch pile, third grader Tyrike takes charge, telling the other children to be careful with the worms.
He says with authority, “Remember you all, when you see a creature, put it back.”
Caring and respect. Is there any more important lesson?
From 2006 Annual Report
Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s 55th year has been one of focused energy, purpose and forward movement. We are grateful for everyone who has joined us this year in the vital work of creating a Greater Cincinnati where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
As we reflect on 2018, we are pleased to share with you a recap of GCF major events for the year: