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News & Events

News & Event

A Nice Combination

Bill and Sue Friedlander get things done. A peek at their resumés reveals an impressive list of professional and volunteer accomplishments and awards. This modest couple downplays their work and contributions. 

Sue and Bill FriedlanderBill and Sue Friedlander get things done. 

A peek at their resumés reveals an impressive list of professional and volunteer accomplishments and awards. This modest couple downplays their work and contributions. 

Bill, Chairman Emeritus of Bartlett & Co., has been honored as a Great Living Cincinnatian and Sue as a Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year. 

Last fall, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation presented them with the 2009 Jacob E. Davis Volunteer Leadership Award. The Award honors community-minded citizens who volunteer their time and leadership skills to make Greater Cincinnati a better place to live. 

“I don’t like talking about myself,” Sue admitted. They do open up about teaching the importance of giving to their grandchildren and about their long relationship with GCF. 

In 2008, the plunging economy inspired Sue to send their family an e-mail suggesting they forgo Christmas gifts and instead give to the charities of their choice. 

“I had immediate responses from every grandchild and one granddaughter, who is about to graduate from high school, wrote back, ‘I can’t tell you how happy you made me feel.’ So it worked!” Sue said. “I was thrilled that they agreed with me. I think they genuinely agreed from their hearts.” 

The following summer, the entire family participated in a two-day retreat to talk about giving away money and helping the community. One of the charitable tools discussed was Bill and Sue’s GCF donor advised fund which becomes an unrestricted fund at their deaths, adding to the resources GCF has to meet the future needs of this region. 

Bill and Sue have been involved with GCF for more than 25 years; Bill served as a Board member and as Volunteer Director at a pivotal point in the Foundation’s development. Sue has served as a member of the Women’s Fund Advisory Board. 

“Community foundations are key players in that they know more about the needs and specific problems in the community,” Bill said. He also noted that people could establish field of interest or unrestricted funds that will benefit the community far into the future, either with gifts during their lifetime or with a bequest in their will. 

“We (GCF) have about $400 million dollars now, and give out millions a year — that’s a significant boon to the community. I don’t know any other organization that does that,” he added. “So, there are people that have the knowledge and the people that have the funds. It seems to me that’s a nice combination.” 

GCF’s Jacob E. Davis Volunteer Leadership Award was named after GCF’s first Governing Board Chairman and Volunteer Director. Jake Davis could also be thanked for introducing Bill and Sue to GCF. 

Bill became acquainted with Jake, then President of the Kroger Co., when he was raising money for the Fine Arts Fund. Jake was looking for young people to get involved with GCF and approached Bill. 

The talented couple said that in all their years of volunteering they have only worked together once — on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) Century 21 Fund. 

“When we were approached, I got excited but I thought, ‘will the marriage survive this?’ Sue laughed. “But it was good! It worked.” Of course it worked — they exceeded their goal and raised $45 million for the CSO’s endowment, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows this couple — truly a nice combination.