Laying the Foundation for Community Change

Photography by Wes Battoclette

Everyone deserves a decent place to live. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati strengthens families in our community by building or rehabbing houses in the Tri-State. More than 550 local homes have been repaired or constructed by the organization. 

Volunteers, donations and sponsorships are integral to the nonprofit organization. Western & Southern Financial Group donated $520,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati to build eight homes. 

“Corporate social responsibility is important to Western & Southern, and it has been throughout our 128-year history,” says John F. Barrett, chairman, president and CEO. “Through community partnerships with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, we can help create sustainable, positive change and greater opportunity for all.” 

Work has begun on the latest house, which the Woods’ family will soon call home. Sajah and Earl Woods have three children – Elijah (6), Quincy (6) and Autumn (2). Their dream of homeownership will become a reality with the help of Habitat for Humanity’s affordable program. 

The organization does not give houses away; they are sold to partner families with an affordable mortgage that is often much less than their previous rent. Families are also required to spend 250-500 hours of “sweat equity” during the construction of their home or through other work with Habitat for Humanity. 

Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity is a rewarding experience for everyone involved. “We’re excited for Western & Southern employees to have a tangible takeaway from the sponsorship,” says Tricia Sunders, corporate relations coordinator at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati. “When you’re hands-on and have direct contact with the partner family, it’s a powerful experience. Volunteers will be able to see that house years from now and know they were a part of its creation.” 

Currently, 45 Western & Southern associates and their families are registered to participate in building the Woods’ home and several others will work on additional Habitat for Humanity homes in the Tri-State. 

“Our associates are very excited about our partnership with Habitat for Humanity; they recognize the organization’s values are aligned with our own corporate values and are thrilled to help a family become homeowners,” says Kim Chiodi, senior vice president of human resources at Western & Southern Financial Group.    

A construction kickoff takes place at the start of each build, and allows volunteers the ability to meet the partner family. 

“Home ownership provides such meaningful benefits for families, including much higher educational achievements for the children,” says Chiodi. “This aligns well with the work Western & Southern has been doing for years with our partnership schools and with the Junior Achievement program.” 

Children are 28 percent more likely to graduate from high school and 116 percent more likely to go to college when their families are given the opportunity for home ownership, according to Habitat for Humanity. The program goes far beyond strengthening individual families, to eventually fortify the entire community. 

“We are pleased to support Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati as it furthers neighborhood revitalization efforts and helps working families achieve the American dream of homeownership,” says Barrett. 

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati is located at 4910 Para Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45237. You can reach them at 513.621.4147, by email at or visit their website at 

Western & Southern Financial Group is located at 400 Broadway, Mail Station 90, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 866.832.7719 or visit their website at