About The Women’s Committee

Women’s Committee Leadership

Co-Chairs: Cynthia Henderson & Keke Sansalone
Vice Chairs: Halle Quinn & Amber Sprengard
Founding Co-Chairs: Helen Heekin & Debbie Oliver

History of The Women’s Committee

The Women’s Committee of Smale Riverfront Park, a committee of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation, is committed to endowing, maintaining and preserving riverfront greenspace and to educate the public to become stewards of this irreplaceable urban treasure.

In 2007, women of the Greater Cincinnati area joined together to create The Women’s Committee of Smale Riverfront Park. Led by Debbie Oliver and Helen Heekin, the group had the ambitious goal of getting 100 women to donate $1,000 each in order to begin construction of Cincinnati Riverfront Park (a.k.a. the John G. & Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park). To their surprise, 554 women contributed to the cause and our riverfront was transformed forever.

The creation of this Park is arguably one of the most important public projects our region has undertaken over the past decade. That’s because as the city’s new front yard, Smale Riverfront Park has become a destination venue for an estimated 1.1 million visitors annually. The Park has transformed Cincinnati’s riverfront into a powerful destination gateway that fuels economic development, community health, commerce and tourism for the entire region.

Women’s Committee membership is open to all women. To learn more about the benefits of membership, and how to become a member, please click here.

Hats Off Luncheon

The Hats Off Luncheon was created by The Women’s Committee of Smale Riverfront Park in 2007 to achieve the Committee’s goals of endowing, maintaining and preserving 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. When The Banks development opened, the Luncheon moved again, this time to the Schmidlapp Event Lawn. 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.

Hats Off Luncheon Co-Chairs

2007: Helen Heekin & Debbie Oliver
2008: Helen Heekin & Debbie Oliver
2009: Cathy Caldemeyer & Dianne Rosenberg
2010: Cathy Caldemeyer & Dianne Rosenberg
2011: Helen Heekin & Debbie Oliver
2012: Amelia Crutcher & Marty Humes
2013: Amelia Crutcher & Marty Humes
2014: Cynthia Henderson & Keke Sansalone
2015: Cynthia Henderson & Keke Sansalone
2016: Kim Kline & Cheryl Rose
2017: Cathy Caldemeyer, Madeline Caldemeyer & Lisa Diedrichs
2018: Jamie Humes & Marty Humes
2019: Jennifer Buchholz & Carrie Carothers