Women's Committee

of Cincinnati Parks

The members of the Women’s Committee of Cincinnati Parks are our parks’ fiercest advocates, making an impact now and for generations to come.

Since 2006, Women’s Committee members have raised $40MM of private support for the development of John G & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park. In addition, over $2M has been raised through the annual Hats off Luncheon, sponsored by the Women’s Committee. These dollars bring direct support to riverfront park-based community programs and to maintaining its beauty, forever. 

Never Underestimate the Power of Women

Women's Committee of Cincinnati Parks Logo
The Women’s Committee of Cincinnati Parks is a fierce group of civic-minded leaders who started a movement to transform Cincinnati’s riverfront. The Founding Women’s Committee members spearheaded private fundraising to support the development of The John G. and Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park. Their efforts changed the riverfront from a neglected, industrial side-lot to the rolling, green lawn and kaleidoscopic garden oasis that it is today.

Inspired by the women who banded together in the 1980’s to resurrect New York City’s Central Park, Helen Heekin and Debbie Oliver formed the Women’s Committee in 2006. In 2007, the Founding Membership campaign raised $300,000 within three months, with more than 300 members joining the movement. These members are recognized within The Women’s Committee Garden at Smale Riverfront Park, as testament to their enthusiasm and generosity, which turned our riverfront into the Crowned Jewel of the Queen City.

Following their opening appeal, Helen and Debbie created Cincinnati’s “Hats Off Luncheon,” to honor the hundreds of individuals who came together in support of Cincinnati Parks, and to celebrate the birth of a new breathtaking public park.
Smale Riverfront Park will continue to grow—a new entertainment pavilion is currently under construction alongside the Andrew J. Brady ICON Events Center—but it has already been celebrated as one of our city’s premier destinations, with over 6.7M visitors in 2019.

In 2018, the Cincinnati Parks Foundation reached out to rally more women with the mission of supporting Cincinnati’s neighborhood parks— replacing playgrounds, restoring trails, replanting thousands of trees, and expanding accessibility for all. The 750 members of the Women’s Committee of Cincinnati Parks are our parks’ fiercest advocates, staunchest supporters, and most inspired visionaries.

A group of women and their daughters at the Women's Committee Garden in Smale Riverfront Park

Meet the Women's Committee

Women's Committee Leadership

Co-Chairs: 
Lisa Diedrichs & Danyelle Wright

Vice Chairs: 
Jennifer Buchholz & Carrie Carothers

Founding Co-Chairs:
Helen Heekin & Debbie Oliver

 

Women's Committee Members

Fleming M. Ackermann
Alice E. Adams
Nancy Aichholz
Kathryn Allred Al-Lamadani
Jane K. Allan
Anna Allen
Deborah Wyler Allison
Victoria R. Alpaugh
The Alspaugh & Zucker Family Fund
Mrs. R. A. Anderegg*
Donna Anderson
Darlene Tranter Anderson
Dulany Cain Anning
Katie Zicka Anning
Sydney F. Anning
Susan Shelly Anthony
Linda C. Appleby*
Cathleen Sullivan Applegate
Carol Armstrong
Robin S. Armstrong
Susan Young Arnold
Joan Ash*
Diana Gatch Avril
Lynda A. Bachman
Frances N. Bade
Katherine C. Bahl
Kelsey Bahl
Cathy Bernardino Bailey
Dan & Fran Bailey
Margaret Ballagh
Amy Banister
Carolyn S. Barham
Krissi Barr
Eileen W. Barrett
Jan Bartel
Ann L. Barton
Mary Welsh Baskett
Flavia Bastos
Jennifer Bastos
Laura Nagel Bausch
Cynthia Baylis
Mary Jo Bazeley
Claire Beams
Mary Jo Beck
Lois G. Benjamin
Helene Sullivan Bentley
Annie Bergeron
Richard C. Berghamer
Jennie Rosenthal Berliant
Jinny Powers Berten
Marianna Brown Bettman
Cristina Billups
Ester Binns
Rose Bitsoff
Chrissie Blatt
Gina Blatt
Anna C. Bohlke
Mary Ann Boorn
Valerie Bopp
Karen Powrie Bosse
Aggie Boswell
Gabrielle Bouscaren
Karen Bowman
Sara E. Breiel
Helen H. Brennan
Mary Anne Brennan
Hazeleen P. Brewster
Charlin Devanney Briggs
Mary Foss Brinkmeyer
Julie Bristow
Rhoda Allen Brooks
Caroline Brown
Kelly Brown
Joanne Brown
Nancy L. Brown
Sarah Grace Brown
Laura Nifong Brunner
Trish Bryan
Jacklyn Bryson
Charlotte Buchholz
Jennifer Buchholz
Emily C. Buckley
Ann J. Bunis
Megan E. Busam
Iris Simpson Bush
Collette M. Busher
Alison Bushman
Amy Bushman
Barbara Bushman*
Emma Bushman
Olivia Foltz Buyniski
April A. Cain
Madeline Caldemeyer
Catherine S. Caldemeyer
Carolyn J. Caldwell
Carolyn Eberle Caldwell*
Linda S. Callard
Vicki Marsala Calonge
Amy Campbell
Deborah Campbell
Tonda Carden
Angela Reeves Carl
Nancy Carley
Cathryn B. Carmichael
Bonnie Carothers
Carrie Carothers
Mary Lamson Carothers
Kelly H. Carrier
Shannon Kelly Carter
Rebecca H. Cassidy
Susan F. Castellini
Constance Alf Castleberry*
Sara Gouedy Celi
Helen H. Chatfield
Melanie M. Chavez
Jan Brown Checco
Stanley Chesley
Fran Christensen
Sarah Ernst Christensen*
Penelope K. Christy
Cincinnati Town & Country Garden Club
Susan M. Closson
Gail Davidow Clough
Mary Ellen Cody
Lauren Chesley Cohen
Lawsie Pennington Coler
Brynne F. Coletti
Meredith L. Comin
Kenzie Comisar*
Paula Ilyinsky Comisar
Mary Ida Compton
Anne Lilly Cone
Lois W. Conyers
Lauren Cooke
Meg Cooper
Meghan Covey
Lee S. Cowan
Cathy T. Crain
Beth Crane
Mary M. Croft
Mr. Richard B. Crosset, Jr.
Joan Crowe
Kristin Crowley
Amelia S. Crutcher
Mickey Bausch Crutchfield
Brittain Bardes Cudlip
Claudia G. Cummings
Deborah B. Cummins
Roberta Cunningham
Barbara A. Dahl
Judy S. Dalambakis
Meredythe Daley
Jennifer Damiano
April D. Davidow
Carol Davidow
Debbie Davis
Tracy Lane Davis
Carol Anderson DeBord
Nancy DeCastro
Fran Dederick
Sarah DeDiemar
Sandra J. Degen, PhD
Kathryn DeNicola
Sally Hastie Dessner
Jennifer Devine
Amy G. DeWitt
Katharine C. DeWitt
Lisa Caldemeyer Diedrichs
Katherine C. Diedrichs
Susan L. Dineen
Gretchen B. Dinerman
Elizabeth Legg Dinsmore*
Lisa D. Dir
Marjorie Dixon*
Lucinda J. Dohan
Michelle H. Dohrmann
Renie L. Dohrmann
Nancy Heffner Donovan
Susan Dorward
Connie Bergstein Dow
Marjorie W. Drackett
Anne Drackett
Katherine Chantilas Drew
Bizzy Driscoll
Suzanne Dunbar
Shaun Saer Duncan
Dianne Dunkelman
Fay Danner Dupuis
Saralou Durham
Diana T. Dwight
Lindsey Dye
Elizabeth Dye
Reba George Dysart
Jane Maesher Earls*
Bainie Earls*
Ty Easley
Jane Harrison Egasti
N. Jeane Elliott
Sheila Elsbrock
Ruth Epstein
Allison Weber Erickson
Judy Bernet Evans
Robin H. Everhart
Barbara Fisher Farmer
Joyce B. Farmer
Mary Farmer
Cecily Fassler
Linda C. Fath
Federated Garden Clubs of Cincinnati & Vicinity
Carol Fencl
Amanda Bentley Fessler
Katharine Sutphin Ficks*
Nora Fink
Eleanor Finn
Barbara J. Fitch
Nancy B. Forbriger
Elizabeth N. Forker*
Carolyn Fovel
Margaret T. Fowler*
Rudolph C. Fox
Susan Abernethy Frank
Jill Freshley
Michelle Lonergan Frey
Susan S. Friedlander
Penny Friedman
Sharon Frisbie
Michelle R. Frodge
Trudi Fullen
Charlotte Fullgraf*
Caryl Susan Cooley Fullman
Davida Gable
Nancy J. Gaffney
Stephanie Gaither
Margaret Highlands Gale
Kathryn Hayden Gamber
Molly Garber
Garden Club of Cincinnati
Mary Kay Gardner
Jane Garvey
Susan R. Gaynor
Amy Klekamp Geers
Mrs. John R. Gehrig
Susanne E. Geier
Vallie Comisar Geier
Kay Geiger
Jodi Geiser
Erica Gentile
Lisi Bryan George
Naomi Tucker Gerwin
Susan M. Gibbs
Robbin Hastie Gilligan
Mary Monahan Gimpel
Victoria Buyniski Gluckman
Lauren Brinkmeyer Goebel
Samantha Buyniski Goldfeder
Madeleine H. Gordon
Lynne Meyers Gordon*
Nancy Rixey Gottschalk
Barbara Gould
Martha Bahl Grant
Miriam Luke Gray
Linda H. Greenberg
Kathleen M. Greene*
Missie Greiwe
Kay Greiwe
Elaine P. Grever
Mary Ann Griffin
Blake S. Gustafson

*Denotes deceased 

Marsha J. Haberer
Priscilla Garrison Haffner
Jennifer Hafner-Spieser
Jill Haft
Barbara Hahn
Kathryn Haines
Jean L. Hait*
Kim Halbauer
Sarah E. Taylor Hale
Madeleine Hamilton*
Judith A. Hanenson*
Mary Early Hardesty
Mrs. James E. Hardy, Jr.
Delores Hargrove-Young
Micaela Heekin Hart
Tracy Hillenbrand Hartmann
Christine Barrett Haslam
Estella Williams Hassan
Ms. Mindy F. Hastie
Robin Brooking Hastie
Elizabeth Hatfield
Mrs. Cornelius Wesche Hauck
Julia H. Hawgood
Tess Hawk
Kathryn Hawkins
Carrie Kudner Hayden
Louise A. Head
Camille Kathleen Healy
Sally Rowe Heckscher
Andrea Brooks Caudill Heekin
Catherine Wilkinson Heekin
Christine Hoelle Heekin
Elizabeth Kilpatrick Heekin
Helen Kelly Heekin
Jayne Latham Heekin
Jennifer Dorger Heekin
Laura Louise Heekin
Lucinda T. Heekin
M. Maureen Heekin
Marion E. Heekin
Olga D. Heidt
Amy Heilbronner
Sandy Heimann
Jennifer Heis
Kristi Heitzman
Jessica Helton
Susan Henderson Helbling
Carolyn Henderson
Cynthia E. Henderson
Suzy Hendriksen
Betsy Hendy
Patricia M. Henley
Vicki Herche
Debra Herr
Susan Hickenlooper
Norvita G. Hildbold
Carol Hilsinger
Sharan Ramsay Hinkle
Patricia L. Hinkley
Elizabeth Balch Hobson*
Teddy Muto Hobson
Charlotte O’B. Hoffheimer*
Rebecca Holmes
Linda R. Holthaus
Marlene M. Holwadel*
Allison Holzapfel
Gretchen Garber Hooker
Phyllis S. Hopple*
Julie Horne
Barbara V. Howard
Joyce L. Howe
Dr. Joan L. Howison
Lisa Hubbard
Megan Hube
Cindy Huber
Mildred D. Huffman
Sherry Hughes
Jamie Radcliffe Humes
Marty Roberts Humes
In honor of Marty Humes
Pat & Roger Humphrey
Janet Reuter Huston
Gail Huttenbauer*
Holly Huttenbauer
Lindsey Baer Huttenbauer
Melanie Hynden
Paul Ilyinsky*
Katherine Iredale
Eleanor B. Irwin
Mary Ivers
Ashley Iyer
Ellen Williams Jackson
Gertrude Grace Jarnigo
Katherine O. Jarnigo
Maris Louise Jarnigo
Molly Elizabeth Jarnigo
Lori Jeffries
Michelle Dorward Jones
Lois McConnell Jones
Jean F. Judd*
Junior League Garden Club
Junior League Gardeners
Susan Kahn
Kristin G. Kalnow
Kristen A. Kamfjord
Alison Kamine
Amy Kattman
Catherine Katz*
Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney
Emerson Celeste Flora Kearney
Nancy N. Keating
Rebecca Klekamp Keating
Ann M. Keeling
H. Arleene Keller
Susan J. Kellogg
Simone Kempiners
Annette Kereiakes
Helen Christy Kereiakes
Janice H. Kiefhaber
Marje Kiley
Pat Kipp*
Kara Kish – First Woman Cincinnati Parks Director
Kevin William Kitzmiller
Jody Klekamp
Marianne Klekamp
Anne Marie Kloska
Marijane E. KlugLiz Knodel
Elizabeth Kohler Knuppel
Claudia Kohlman
Meg Kohnen
Monica Donath Kohnen
Christina S. Kohnen
Mrs. Christopher Webber Kohnen
Kelly Kolar-Eyman
Jane G. Koppenhoefer
Verna Bock Korn
Caroline Kotlove
Marjorie Anning Kotte*
Alicia Biddle Krall
Ann Weichert Kranbuhl
Marjorie A. Kropotkin
Allison Kropp
Mel Hofmann Kuempel
S. George Kurz
Linette Patrice Kuy
Kim LaBar
Antoinette LaBoiteaux
Emily A. Laffoon*
Pinky Laffoon
Polly K. Laffoon
Susan S. Laffoon
Jutta Lafley
Margaret G. Lafley
Suzanne O. Lakamp
Elizabeth LaMacchia
Janet W. Lamson*
Peggy Hamman Landes
Abby Langdon
Kalli Langdon
Susan Scott Larson
Lynn P. Larson
Dorothy K. Larsson
Sarah Ott Lautar
Evelyn B. Laux
Anne Ingalls Lawrence
Katherine Lawrence
Lucille Conliffe Lazenby
Marian Barrett Leibold
Theresa Schalar Lemmerman
Laurie Crutchfield Nippert Leonard
Les Jardinieres
Doris M. Levinson
Beth Barrett Levy
Sue S. Lewis
Barbara G. Lewis
Barbara Y. Lichtenstein
Marian J. Lindberg*
Edyth Lindner
Frances Lindner
Christine C. Lippert
Linda Little
Jennifer Grant Lohmueller
Joan F. Lonergan*
Deborah Long
Whitney Long
Ruth Lowenthal
Kelly Guerin-Lower
Kate Lowry
Erika Lundstedt
Virginia Lurie*
Kelly Lyle
Moira G. Lyon
Jacqueline Mervis Mack
Jerry Malsh
Mary March*
Sherie Ann Marek
Millie Martin
Melissa Sutphin Marx
Jane W. Mashburn
Alison Masters
Margaret E. Mathile
Jean Mathis
Joan Mauk*
Kathleen Maynard
Phyllis McAllister
Susan McBeath
Phyllis McCallum
Cynthia McCarthy
Jenni Ruehl McCauley
Evelyn Banzhaf McCord
Alexandra McDonald
Charlotte Hoeb McEnery
Jared Queen McFee
Jill T. McGruder
Robi McIntire
Leslie McIntosh
Meridy McLane
Suzanne McNabb
Mary Ann Meanwell
Kim Mellott
Laura S. Menge
Jayne E. Menke
Natalie Bieser Meyer
Philip Meyers, Jr.*
Christine M. Mezher
Lynne Mileham
Shannon Miller
Linda Miller
Audrey Korn Miller
Constance H. Miller*
Martha Millett
Emily Showers Miracle
Pamela M. Mischell
Patricia Misrach
Sharon Janosik Mitchell
Judith M. Mitchell
Kerry Grote Mock
Ellie Moffat
Joyce Monger
Sally L. Monroe
Catherine J. Moon
Rachael Moore
Mary Moran
Diane L. Morand
Victoria Morgan
Lindsey Lewis Morton
Elinor Scherr Mosher
Susan C. Moskowitz
Susan Motch
Marjorie Motch
Cynthia Muhlhauser
Elizabeth Anning Mullin
Elodie K. Murphy
Caroline K. Musekamp
Virginia A. Myer
Tina M. Narayan
Nancy V. Natorp
Kathryn O. Nelson
Valerie L. Newell
Sue S. Newman
Susan W. Newmark
Betsy Neyer
Christine E. Neyer
Sara L. Neyer
Mary Bausch Nippert
Linda Nitzschke
Monica Nolan
Katharine T. Nyce*
Nancy R. Nyhart
Emma Off
Marjorie Off
Alexa Oliver
Debra C. Oliver
Gertrude M. Oliver*
Katherine A. Oliver
Molly E. Oliver
Alexandra Ollinger
Brooke Olson
Mary Ann Boorn
Alysa M. Ortega
Sara Osborn
Elizabeth Warrington Ott
Paula Hamilton Ott

*Denotes deceased 

Pan City Garden Club
Maria J. Papakirk
Emily Parker
Linda W. Parlin
Victoria W. Parlin
Ellen H. Paulsen
Joanie Paulsen
Laura Reid Pease
Paige E. Pederzani
Francie Garber Pepper
Jean W. Perbix
Susan Pfau
Susan E. Pichler
Rita Picton
Maureen Donovan Pippin
Sara Plattner
Rebecca Podore
Penelope Kereiakes Pomeranz
Lori Poole
Sue Porter
Jan Van der Voort Portman
Joan J. Portman*
William C. Portman*
Jo A. Potvin
Kathleen W. Prangley
Pud Preston
Jenny Price
DeHaven Quinn
Doreen Quinn
Halle Quinn
Happy Quinn
Erin Ragland
Jen Ragland
Joelle M. Ragland
Marjorie F. Ragland*
Martha H. Ragland
Sophie Ragland
Maribeth S. Rahe
Sydney Anning Raidy
Marjorie H. Rauh
Johnna Reeder
Alva H. Reid
Cindi Reid
Mrs. David F. Reid
Yvonne A. Rewwer
Vicky Reynolds
Melody Sawyer Richardson
Ellen Rieveschl
Mary Riordan
Wendy Sutphin Ritch
Buffie Rixey
Susan Roberts
Maggie Roberts-Gleich
Sheila Robertson*
Isabel Mackoy Robinson*
Terry P. Robinson
Mary Margaret Rochford
Diane Rohs
Priya Rolfes
Cheryl Rose
Dianne M. Rosenberg
Kitty Rosenthal
Lois Rosenthal*
Peggy Griebel Roudebush
Moe Rouse
Marianne Rash Rowe
Nancy M. Rozzi
Meg McGowan Rudd
Betty S. Runck
Julie Bausch Rust*
Judy Ruthven*
Emily Ryan
Kara E. Rybolt
Rosemary Safdi*
Michele Sandler
Anna Catherine Sansalone
Keke Sansalone
Ann Santen
Erin M. Savage-Weaver
Betty Ann Schaefer
Jody Scharfenberger
Dawn W. Schiff
Lynn Schiff
Julie Shifman
Lynda B. Schilderink
Rosemary Schlachter
Janet Schlegel
Hope Schmidt
Katherine Dorger Schmitt
Anita R. Schneider
Cynthia Schrader
Valerie Schube
Digi Schueler
Christina March Schuitemaker
N. Renee Schuler
Dr. Judith Ann Meyer Schultz
Michele Schuster
Mrs. David M. Schwartz
Barbara M. Scull
Mrs. William R. Seaman
Gail Seifert
Jean Sepate
Nancy G. Seward
Ellen C. Sewell
Pamela Jean Shaffer
Elaine M. Shea
Robin S. Sheakley
Dorothy J. Sheakley
Rhonda Sheakley
Sandra D. Shevers
Jennifer Shick
Marcia M. Shortt
Sue Freking Showers
Nancy Silverman
Elizabeth Lee Simmons
Sheila Simmons
Elizabeth C. B. Sittenfeld
Mrs. Gerald Skidmore
Mary Sloneker-Donahue
Mrs. Elizabeth Martin Slutz
John G. Smale*
Phyllis W. Smale*
Amber Smith
Linda J. Smith
Lori D. Smith
Merri Gaither Smith
Ellen Pease Sole
Louise Sokolnicki
Marian A. Spencer*
Rachael Deanne Spieser
Alda P. Spirito
Jo Ellen Spitz
Amber Burke Sprengard
Patricia M. Stahl
Lee Stautberg
Martha L. Steier
Jennifer Stein
Judith K. Stein, M.D.
Kelli Stein
Paula M. Steiner
Lynn Singer Stenger
Barbara L. Stern
Mary S. Stern*
Anita Stewart
Mary Burton Stewart
Ellen Kahn Stillpass
Mrs. George P. Stimson
Margot S. Stoehr
Elizabeth A. Stone
Erin A. Straits
Nancy M. Strassel
Lee Strasser
Denise N. Strasser
Gerri S. Strauss
Linda Strietmann
Jolene Struebbe
Mary Reis Sullivan*
Barbara K. Sutphin
Caroline Floyd Sutphin
Jean W. Sutphin*
Millicent Busse Swaine
Christina Bernero Taft
Carly Tamborski
Molly Klekamp Tassone
Alicia Taylor
Deana Taylor
Mary Ann Taylor
Scotty & Laney Telford
Mrs. Robert L. Ten Eyck
Pamela R. Terp
Jane Reed Terrill
Susan Smyth Tew
Josie G. Thayer
Mrs. Richard Thayer*
Emily Thobe
Charla M. Aspley Thomas
Gretchen Kindig Thomas
Linda Lee Thomas
Lynda A. Thomas
Joan H. Thomas*
Sue Ann Tiffany*
Therese R. Tobler
Janet Goldsberry Todd
Betsy W. Townsend
Wendy Wolff Travis
Georgia Tsiribas
Abby Tuke
Vicki Pancero Tullis
Priscilla Ungers
BeBe Buse Vollmer
Christine M. Vollmer
Lynne H. Vollmer
Molly O. Vollmer
Tiffany Vollmer
Sarah C. VonLehman
Sallie R. Wadsworth
Barbara Wagner
Brenda Walker
Carole M. Ward
Lucy L. Ward
Joan Grove Ward*
Lynn W. Warm
Ginger B. Warner
Sarah Warrington
Hillary K. Weidner
Rosemary D. Welsh
DeeDee West
Barbara M. Weyand
Bunny Wood Whitaker
Carol C. Wiggers
Lindsay Wilhelm
Elizabeth S. Wilkinson
Elizabeth Seifried Williams
Frances W. Williams
Jamie Williams
Jennifer Greiwe Williams
Maureen McKenna Williams
Carol Wilson
Jackie Wilson
Jeannine Winkelmann
Donna S. Wirth
Julie O. Wirtz
Nan S. Witten
Nancy Wolf
Georgine B. Wolohan*
Jean Emery Wommack*
Mary Wood
Karen Wood
Anne Fitton Woolsey
Danyelle S. T. Wright
Sydney Nicole Wright
Margaret Wyant
Linda Wyler
Marke K. Yeiser*
Mary Beth Young
Linda Elam Young
Elizabeth C. Young*
Anne M. Zaring
Anne M Zaring (In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation)
Alison Zimmerman

*Denotes deceased 

Join The Women's Committee of Cincinnati Parks Today!

Add your name or a loved one’s name to The Women’s Committee of Cincinnati Parks with a one-time gift of $1,000. Help us support all 130 parks and greenspaces that touch every neighborhood in the City of Cincinnati and make a lasting impact for generations to come. All membership contributions are 100% tax-deductible.

Payment Options

One-Time Payment Option

Make a one-time gift of $1,000 in your name, or a loved one’s name. Please select the “$1,000.00 – Women’s Committee Lifetime Membership (One-Time Payment)” option.

Payment Plan Option

You may pay your $1,000 membership in installments, with reoccurring monthly payments. Please select your desired payment plan. The options are:

$25 over 40 months OR $100 for 10 months

 

Hats Off Luncheon

Presented by the Women's Committee of Cincinnati Parks

A Legacy of Success

The Hats Off Luncheon was created by the (then known as) Women’s Committee of Smale Riverfront Park in 2007 to achieve the Committee’s goals of endowing, maintaining and preserving the riverfront greenspace. The event traces its humble roots to the gravel parking lot between Great American Ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium where 272 people gathered for the inaugural fundraiser. During the initial construction of Smale Riverfront Park, the Luncheon was relocated to Ault Park. In celebration of the 10th anniversary, and to accommodate the burgeoning crowd of attendees, the Luncheon moved to The Great Lawn of Smale Riverfront Park in 2016 and continues to take place there to this day.

The Hats Off Luncheon quickly became one of the premier fundraisers in the city by attracting the support of top business and community leaders. Guests are treated to a champagne reception followed by a gourmet luncheon. To date, the event has raised more than $2.7 million in support of Cincinnati Parks.

Phyllis W. Smale Award​

Cincinnati Parks Foundation presents the Phyllis W. Smale Award each year at the annual Hats Off Luncheon and recognizes outstanding achievement, inspiring leadership, exemplary service and creative vision in many areas related to horticulture and city beautification.

About Phyllis W. Smale

Phyllis W. Smale was at heart a gardener, but she was a visionary one, a strategist of her time who didn’t stop with her own plantings.  She felt the parkways and highways that surround all of us were missed opportunities when it came to plant life.  She envisioned plantings that would soften the ubiquitous seas of concrete in our midst.

Phyllis had built up extensive gardens at her own home over her adult life, learning more and more over time. Her gardens included many specimens, including daylilies.  When Ft. Washington Way was being reconstructed, she had a vision of daylilies like her own lining the borders of the highway.  In fact, she patiently spent time transplanting daylilies from her own garden to space along Ft. Washington Way with the help of her husband, John.

One of her passions was getting individuals and companies to donate to and take care of green spaces near their workplaces and in their communities.  She both raised and donated funds for businesses to create small pockets of plant life throughout the city.  Examples of her efforts include the beautification of Wulsin Triangle at the corner of Madison Road and Observatory Avenue and plantings at the intersection of Columbia Parkway, William Howard Taft Road and Torrence Parkway. She also provided inspiration for the gardens and green space surrounding Procter and Gamble’s downtown headquarters.  There is even a small garden on Fountain Square dedicated to her efforts.

Phyllis was honored posthumously for her many contributions in the greening of the community at the Cincinnati Parks Foundation first Hats Off Luncheon in 2007.  John Smale accepted the award in her honor.

AWARD RECIPIENTS 

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to posthumously  honor  Marian and Donald  Spencer.

Mr. Spencer was a founding member of the Friends of Cincinnati Parks in the 1990s.  He worked tirelessly to secure funding to sustain and beautify Parks. He was also a well-known advocate of free and open access to Parks. The Donald Spencer Overlook at Eden Park was dedicated in 2002.

Along his side was his wife Marian Spencer. Mrs. Spencer was the first Black woman to serve on City Council and to become Vice Mayor of our City. She was the first woman President of the local NAACP. Mrs. Spencer was also a founding member of The Women’s Committee of Cincinnati Parks. Soon, the Women’s City Club will dedicate a statue of Marian within The Women’s Committee Garden at Smale Riverfront Park. This will be the first statue in Cincinnati that honors a specific woman.

In 1952, Donald & Marian Spencer led the desegregation effort at Cincinnati’s Coney Island Amusement Park.  The Spencers led a diverse team of 28 witnesses to victory in the case and desegregated the Park.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor the Mill Creek Alliance (MCA). MCA was formed in 2018 by the merger of Groundwork Cincinnati-Mill Creek and the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities . MCA promotes green workforce development and emerging environmental leaders through the youth Green Team and young adult Green Corps workforce development programs. It works to improve water quality and quality of life in the Mill Creek watershed through stream restoration, water quality monitoring, reintroduction of native species, and development of public green spaces. MCA encourages community engagement with the watershed through its award-winning environmental education programs, recreation and community outreach programs, volunteer events , and watershed-wide planning projects.
Though once named the most endangered urban river in North America, MCA’s focused stream restoration, environmental education, and workforce development programs have led the Mill Creek from “lost cause” to an Urban Wildlife Refuge. Today, fish have returned to the stream, pursued by a growing number of fly fishers. Recreational canoe outings are a regular occurrence. Wildlife such as beavers \muskrats, and birds including the rare Black-Crowned Night Heron and Osprey are back.. After a 100 year absence, freshwater mussels were reintroduced in late 2018. Together with our donors and supporters, we are a force for nature and a force of nature.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation proudly recognizes Jay Andress as the 2018 Phyllis W. Smale Award recipient, whose passion for creating an “urban linear park” to give city residents opportunities for recreation and solitude spurred a social media grassroots campaign and not-for-profit organization to advance a vision for Wasson Way. This 7.6-mile hiking and biking trail on converted railroad tracks, will, when completed, run through 10 local communities from Avondale to Mariemont, directly impacting more than 100,000 residents living within one mile of the trail. It will also provide access to many other trail networks. Wasson Way’s first phase, a .6-mile segment, broke ground in November 2017.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to posthumously honor the legacy of Marian J. Lindberg, former President of the Cincinnati Board of Park Commissioners, with the Phyllis W. Smale Award. A fierce support of Cincinnati Parks, Marian served as a commissioner for 23 years.

She and her husband, the late Charles D. Lindberg, shared a special fondness for California Woods Nature Preserve, and in honor of their tireless commitment to Cincinnati Parks, the California Woods education center was named the Marian & Charles D. Lindberg Nature Center. To promote philanthropic support for Cincinnati Parks, Marian and Charles, along with several other park advocates, established Cincinnati Parks Foundation in 1995.

We will forever remain indebted to her devotion and for our world-class urban parks system and for having the vision to create the organization that we so proudly represent.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is to honor the Cincinnati Park Board and staff for going above (and well beyond!) their civic responsibilities in developing, designing, building and maintaining the city’s riverfront – making it into a dynamic destination corridor. Through the generosity and dedication of many, 45 acres of wasted land along our historic downtown riverfront has now been transformed into our glorious new John G. and Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park. The Park welcomes over 1.1 million visitors annually and pumps tens of millions of dollars into our local economy.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC). As of the 2015 Hats Off Luncheon, the work of the 3CDC Board of Directors resulted in $843 million invested in Cincinnati. 3CDC has spent the past 10+ years improving the development and fiances of our Queen City and inspired others to do the same. Under the leadership of President & CEO, Stephen Leeper, 3CDC has successfully revitalized Cincinnati’s Center City, most notably Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine.

Although 3CDC has many admirable goals and objectives, Cincinnati Parks Foundation selected the organization as the 2015 recipient of Smale Award based on its demonstrated success in creating great civic spaces, preserving historic structures and improving streetscapes. 3CDC and its projects have been recognized by locally and nationally, including the following in 2014:

  • Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati (AFC) 2014 Apple Award
  • 21c Cincinnati was named to Travel & Leisure’s 2014 “It List of Best New Hotels”
  • Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) 2014 Rehabilitation Award for the rehabilitation of Hummel Building
  • Washington Park was named one of 5 finalists in the 2014 ULI Urban Open Space Awards

One of 3CDC’s newest projects, Washington Park, was re-opened in 2012 and quickly regained its status as one of the most prominent and beautiful Cincinnati Parks.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor Brewster Rhoads, Executive Director of Green Umbrella, the sustainability alliance for the region around Cincinnati. Green Umbrella unites over 200 businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and educational institutions in an effort to make greater Cincinnati one of the top 10 most green and sustainable metro areas in the United States by 2020.

Prior to his position with Green Umbrella, Brewster served as the Southwest Ohio Regional Director for Governor Ted Strickland.

A native to Philadelphia, Brewster participated in the first Earth Day celebration in 1970 and has been an environmental advocate and political strategist ever since. A graduate of Williams College, he worked as a community organizer in Western Massachusetts; the director of the Coalition for a New Foreign Policy in Washington, D.C.; the director of the Cincinnati office of Ohio Citizen Action and manager of over 150 campaigns for ballot issues and candidates throughout the greater Cincinnati region.

Brewster lives in Mt. Washington with his wife, Ann, an attorney specializing in whistle-blower law. Their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, lives in London, England, where she is working on her PhD in international human rights law. Their youngest daughter, Caroline, teaches English in Yangon, Myanmar.

Brewster is the founder and chair of the Ohio River Paddlefest and an avid kayaker.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor PNC with the Phyllis Smale Award. PNC’s corporate citizenship has greatly benefited our city by providing leadership, service and vision in support of the beautification of our city and riverfront. For decades, PNC has provided resources to seed ideas, foster development initiatives and encourage leadership in nonprofit organizations where imagination and determination are at work enhancing people’s lives everyday.

PNC has been instrumental in the development of Smale Riverfront Park and have been a long-standing partner of the Cincinnati Park Board, Cincinnati Parks Foundation and the Women’s Committee of Smale Riverfront Park. Among America’s top financial institutions, no company has done more to energize the “green cause” than PNC. They have constructed more new “green” buildings than any other company and are the first U.S. bank to apply green building standards to all newly constructed or renovated retail branch offices. They have done amazing things for the Cincinnati Community.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor Cathy Moon who is one of Cincinnati’s most loyal volunteers. For over 40 years, Cathy has volunteered for the Cincinnati Parks. Her commitment to the Parks goes back much further than the beginning of the Foundation. In 1974, she started as a tour guide at Krohn Conservatory. Since then, she has devoted herself to our City’s parks.

Cathy manages the Friends of Krohn which cultivates support for Krohn. An avid gardener, she has adopted two garden beds in Ault Park that she plants annually with stunning tropical flowers. She has committed her passion, skills and time to improving the rich beauty of our city.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor Anne M. Zaring for her devotion to many organizations she has touched over the last 40 years. She has served on over 17 boards and has been a founding member of the White Blossom Festival, The Woman’s Capital Club, and the Cincinnati Parks Foundation. Numerous committees have benefited from Anne’s help and knowledge.

Her awards don’t begin with the Phyllis W. Smale Award. She has been honored by the Bridges for a Just Community. She is a Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year honoree, a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Cincinnatian of the Year, as well as an honoree of Speaking of Women’s Health. Her tireless efforts have greatly impacted our community and we are forever grateful for the work she has accomplished.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor Marjorie Motch for her leadership for more than 20 organizations on the local, national and international level. She is a passionate advocate for greenspace in our community. She served as the first president of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation Board of Trustees. She co-chaired the UC greenspace renovation, raising funds to create a beautiful park-like setting that was formerly a parking lot.

Marjorie has selflessly worked to better our community and knows the importance of giving back. She has volunteered and served for over 20 efforts. She has earned the respect and admiration of people around the world. Our city is a better place because of her hard work and dedication.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor Elizabeth Asbury Stone for her outstanding achievement, inspiring leadership, exemplary service and creative vision in many areas related to horticulture. “Lib” has had much involvement in the beautification of our beloved city. Her dedication to volunteerism spans more than 40 years as she has selflessly served our city’s parks, children, public radio and arts. She is an inspiration to others and we thank her for all she has done for Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor Marjorie H. Rauh for her leadership and creative vision in horticulture as well as advocacy for keeping the gardens of Cincinnati beautiful. She served as director of the Civic Garden Center, determined to bring gardening to the inner city by developing the Neighborhood Gardens program. She was a board member of the Hillside Trust, which has helped preserve our hillsides.

She was involved in the revitalization of the library of Parham School and spearheaded the outdoor training and learning center at Camp Joy. She has committed over 50 years of service to the community and has continually put her passion and efforts into the parks of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Parks Foundation is pleased to honor Phyllis W. Smale, who had such a true passion for natural beauty. In developing her own gardens, she sought advice from experts and experimented with every type of plant. With loving support from her husband, John, she expanded her interest to the community with the recognition of small areas needing attention. Her initial effort was Wulsin Triangle on Madison Road. She then broadened her scope and concentrated on beautifying areas such as Central Parkway, Columbia Parkway and Fifth Street.

Her influence is seen in the gardens fronting the P&G headquarters where corporate offices are enhanced by green space. We salute her vision, energy and accomplishments and continue to enjoy the legacy of her passion and efforts. In John Smale’s own words about his wife – “if there was ever an enthusiastic park and tree person, it was she.”