Philanthropy Lies at the Heart of Human Greatness V3

Photography by Catie Viox

We are fortunate to live in a very generous, philanthropy-focused, volunteer-oriented community.

Cincinnati fights way above its weight class when it comes to quality of life and human services, and that is possible because of the extraordinary generosity and voluntary leadership of the many compassionate, engaged people who live and work here.

Consider, for example, the high caliber of our arts and cultural organizations. We have the encyclopedic Cincinnati Museum Center, the Taft Museum that offers the classics and the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), one of the first modern art institutions in the United States. And we have the exceptional Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, one of only 15 remaining full-time symphony orchestras in our country.

We have these hugely thriving, quality arts and culture organizations because people here are generous; when asked, they give. When asked, they take the lead.

Skystone Partners believes that philanthropy lies at the heart of human greatness. Committed to philanthropy and to expanding its influence here and around the world, we look at fundraising as a noble profession. As such, our role as consultants is to help nonprofit organizations increase their value to society through philanthropy. In addition to arts and cultural organizations, we establish partnerships with civic and community organizations, colleges and universities, hospitals and other health agencies, and social service organizations, and many other nonprofits.

We help charitable organizations maximize their already-strong aspects. In other words, nonprofits seek our help at important junctures in their development, when they are about to embark upon something remarkable they’ve never done before. We offer an array of services, including studies and assessments, capital campa

igns, annual funds and strategic planning. Through our coaching, training, mentoring and ongoing education of staff, and through directing and guiding volunteer leaders, we help organizations develop to their full potential, enhancing their capacity to help themselves and, as a result, help and enrich others and the world we share.

Beginning with the spring issue of Venue, and continuing with our third phase in this issue of Lead, we are proud to highlight, over the course of this year, two dozen philanthropic leaders and nonprofit organizations committed to enriching life in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky community. At the same time, I think, we are all philanthropists. It’s the way we encounter the world. Philanthropy is an attitude of kindness, a heart of generosity; it’s offering to help someone put their bag on the shuttle at the airport.

Every generation brings its own unique mark to philanthropy. While the way people give their time, talents and treasure may be changing, I believe the benevolent heartbeat of philanthropy will remain the same.


Thanks for reading.


Elizabeth Pierce

President and CEO

Cincinnati Museum Center


“We want to create a ferocious appetite for curiosity and learning” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center, as she shares a glimpse of an astonishing new dinosaur CMC presents to the community in November.  An incredible asset to our community like CMC can only make the transition from great to greater when earned revenue and public income are supplemented and supported by philanthropy.

“Philanthropy is a key to the future of Cincinnati Museum Center. While generous support from private donors, sales tax proceeds and historic tax credits have secured the future of Union Terminal, private 

philanthropy will leverage this public investment to transform the museum learning experiences for generations of future innovators, problem-solvers and leaders.”

Cincinnati is a more vibrant place because the generosity of citizens enables such great programming and exhibits as the CMC is able to present.

“The restoration of Union Terminal is chapter one of a multi-chapter story. We are moving into chapter two with strong momentum, raising private dollars to put the exhibits back into the building.”

Cincinnati Museum Center is a great cultural asset in Cincinnati – both for the building’s historical significance as well as for what is housed inside. Both showcase Cincinnati as a city of international consequence from a historical, scientific and natural history perspective.

“There is history and heritage, and there is incredible problem solving and innovation, and it’s happening right here in Cincinnati,” says Pierce. “I am hearing great excitement from donors now, who are energized about the future of the museum. There is a level of energy and enthusiasm for that intersection of science and history. They feel deeply about the heritage of the community, so they want those stories told, but they are forward-thinking and want to drive innovation and curiosity in the workforce of tomorrow.”

Pierce points to both visible fundraising impact and the vibrancy of the arts in the Cincinnati area as some of the reasons for the community’s pride and generosity in their giving.

“I think that [the community’s generosity] is a testament to people having so much pride and love for the community. And I think that pride and love come from the fact that you can get things done here – you can see the impact that your gift makes in very practical ways,” says Pierce. It is because of enormous pride that the CMC, like other cultural institutions in Cincinnati, is the recipient of great generosity. These philanthropic investments enhance the quality of life, reputation and economic development of our community.

“The idea that when you invest in something like the Museum Center, or the Symphony, or any number of other arts organizations, that’s part of an ecosystem that draws tourism here, that draws reputation here, that builds out a quality of life…so it’s this whole system that works together to keep the economy vibrant in our region. We are blessed to have legacy families who are well-practiced in philanthropy, and that’s really important, because that helps set an example for others.”

The Cincinnati Museum Center/Union Terminal is located at 1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45203. For more information, call 513.287.7000 or visit


Looking Forward ...

The Union Terminal will be welcoming the entrance of the Holocaust & Humanity Center (HHC) into the revitalized train station, ushering in an entirely new aspect of historical and cultural significance.

“Sarah Weiss is just spectacular. She is an incredible leader and has so much passion for what she does. It is exciting to be able to be a partner with her,” says Pierce. “We’re thrilled that HHC is going to move into Union Terminal. The liberators and survivors of the camps came through Union Terminal when it was a train station – you can see the same view that the Holocaust survivors saw when they came to this community and looked out and saw the city and the promise ahead of them.”


Lauren and Jim Miller

Community Leader and Philanthropist;

Chairman, Wealth Advisor and Principal

Bartlett Wealth Management


“I did a lot of work for the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC), which was rewarding. It was great as far as generating funds, generating a good turnout, delivering people and an absolutely beautiful building – a work of art in and of itself. That was a very nice situation, because I’ve been involved with the CAC for a long time and had been at or near the top as far as organizing some of these galas. And Lauren came right in and created a smash hit. It was a wonderful feeling.” says James Miller, chairman and wealth advisor for Bartlett Wealth Management.

Newly married, Miller and his wife, Lauren Chesley, a community volunteer, have teamed up to form a spousal philanthropic bond.

 “It’s really nice to be involved with projects that have a new shared interest – while also learning about new ones”, says Jim Miller.


Chesley, a native of Cincinnati, lived in Chicago before eventually returning to Cincinnati. Miller is a native of Dayton, Ohio. They have worked with Lighthouse Youth Services, the CAC, and the American Jewish Committee, among several other organizations.

“It was fun to come back to Cincinnati to find things that we like together. I had done work in my volunteer world and the political world and children’s services and feeding the needy and helping children and scholarship funds for certain organizations. And then Jimmy had a different set of things, and it was nice to find things we came together on that I didn’t know about or that he didn’t know about,” says Chesley.

“I think he’s more versed in what Lighthouse Youth Services does, and I’m more versed in what the CAC does. It’s been nice to combine forces in what matters. But I would say that something that’s a core for both of us is many Jewish causes. American Jewish Committee (AJC) – we’re chairing the 75th Anniversary this year. David Harris, the global head of AJC is going to come, so that’s a huge hats off to Cincinnati that makes us proud. We’ve been involved in the new Holocaust and Humanity Center as well, so there are things where we’re finding common ground, which is really lovely.”

Married just under two years ago, Chesley and Miller have teamed up to create something special – something that positively impacts not only their own marriage, but the entire city of Cincinnati. They have faith in each other and in the city they’ve come to know and love.

“There are great projects here, things that people rally around. Certainly, the sports, the natural beauty of the hills and the river, to have the wonderful array of arts here – that’s a work of art in and of itself,” observes Miller.

“I think it’s a culture of giving back. It’s so connected here. There are generations of people who grew up here, who want their kids to come back, they want it to be a good place to live; they want it to be cultural; they want it to be diverse; they want it to be smart and are willing to invest in the city,” says Chesley. “Cincinnati’s growing up. It’s a very cool, hip town doing interesting things. We have major league sports, we have incredible arts, great restaurants…I think people believe in it.”

“It’s truly rewarding, the things that we were doing separately,” reflects Miller. “But together, we’ve joined forces, and have introduced each other to new things. That’s good for the soul.”


Bartlett Wealth Management is located at 600 Vine Street #2100, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 513.621.4612 or visit