Meet Lori Beiler

Lori Beiler, Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s Senior Grants Manager, was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and raised in Cincinnati. A graduate of McAuley High School and the University of Cincinnati (bachelor’s degree in marketing), she’s lived in various locations on the west and east sides of Cincinnati — most recently in Dent — and just moved downtown. Her daughter and two sons, all Cincinnati natives, are adults and live in Austin, Texas.

Share details of your personal and professional background that helped to guide your path to Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF).

After college, I traveled all over Ohio and Indiana selling high-end leotards for a year at the height of the Jane Fonda exercise era. That got old really fast. I had been volunteering with Special Olympics and found that it was something I wanted to do for a living and got a job at what is now Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services. I worked there with developmentally disabled adults for 10 years full time and enjoyed it a lot. When I had my son, I decided to stay home and substitute for the county occasionally. When my youngest began school full-time, I worked for the Oak Hills School District part-time in special education. I came to GCF when my kids were getting older and will celebrate my 16th year here next month.

What are your professional and community affiliations, and how do they inform your role at GCF?

I still volunteer with Special Olympics occasionally. When I was bringing up my children, it was really important to me to have them do volunteer work. They all volunteered with Special Olympics, because that was my favorite organization, but did many other things too. I taught them that’s what you do — you help people out. If there’s some type of volunteer opportunity, I’m always ready to jump in and do it. I’m that friend who will help you move, pick you up at the airport in the middle of the night or give you a shoulder to cry on. Now that I’m living downtown, I’m loving it — I walked down to Second Sunday on Main, and thought, “I can start volunteering for these kinds of things, because I’m right here in the neighborhood.”

Professionally, I participate in the PEAK Grantmaking organization, which includes grant managers from all the private and community foundations.

Who or what is your inspiration, and in what ways has that driven your passion for GCF’s mission?

My inspiration is my kids — and all kids in general. I’m a big proponent of education and making sure that all kids are given every opportunity. A few years ago I tutored at one of the Cincinnati Public Schools once a week. I would have a student for two or three weeks and then they’d be gone because the family had to move. It was so sad — I would just be starting to make a connection with them.  I realized how hard it was on these children – socially, educationally and emotionally.  Finding ways to stop this is so important to our community.

Most of my life I’ve been involved with some sort of education.  Having an education is such a step up for everyone. I want equity for all people, but for kids especially. Giving kids opportunities when they are young enables them to grow into strong, loving, productive adults.

What are three things about you that most people don’t know?

  • I am on a dance team, Dance Flash Fusion, and the money that we raise we give to charity. We had a booth at Taste of Cincinnati and raised $2,400, which we’re using to send little girls to dance classes they otherwise couldn’t afford. Watch for us in all the parades and different events in the area.
  • I’ve traveled extensively in the United States. The only state I haven’t been to is Alaska, so that’s definitely on my bucket list.
    I’m passionate about art. I’ll take any class I can find. I love to do mosaics, draw, pottery and refinish and repurpose things.
  • When I was a stay-at-home mom I made cornhole games and sold those, and I did a lot of woodworking for crafts shows. My kids are all artistic, and I say that they get that from me.My dad made me take art classes as a kid and I hated them because they were at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, but now I appreciate that because it helps shape me into the person I am today.  I’m so excited about BLINK being here again this year— I helped install last time in Washington Park, with disks that lit up when you stepped on them. That’s definitely something I’m going to do again, because it was so much fun. I also got to work with the kids on an Artworks mural for a day, which was my favorite GCF hands-on event.

What do you like most about working at GCF?

I really enjoy working with the donors, helping them facilitate grants to all the nonprofits that are near and dear to their hearts. I might just play a small part in their charitable giving but I’m grateful that I can help. I’ve developed so many relationships and friendships with the donors over my 16 years. I always try to develop personal connections with people. I think that’s what makes relationships work. I’ve also loved learning about all the nonprofits in Cincinnati — there’s so much going on and you just become so much more involved with your community by being a part of GCF.