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Ohio Philanthropy Awards

Since 2004, the sector has celebrated the contributions of outstanding Ohio philanthropists – specifically the funders who have made significant contributions to philanthropy through innovation; diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; public policy; as an emerging leader; or a lifetime of achievement.

Brittany Lovett (center right) won the 2023 Emerging Philanthropist Award.

Ohio Access to Justice Foundation won the 2023 Philanthropy Innovation Award.

Isabelle Ridgway Foundation won the 2023 Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in Philanthropy.

Melissa A. Kleptz (center) won the 2023 Ohio Philanthropy Award.

John Corlett (left) won the inaugural 2023 Public Policy Award.

2024 Ohio Philanthropy Awards

The Ohio Philanthropy Awards celebrate the brightest and best in philanthropy – the leaders who tirelessly work to improve our communities. With a resounding passion for impact, innovation and creativity that has a ripple effect on the sector, their leadership inspires and strengthens philanthropy. Championing equity and the inclusion of all, their influence stretches beyond a single community. The Ohio Philanthropy Awards honor the most significant contributions to how the sector thinks, operates and impacts communities. Meet the 2023 award winners

Philanthropy Ohio board and committee members vote for the 2024 award winners, which were announced at Philanthropy Forward ’24 in September. Philanthropy Ohio board and committee members shall abstain from voting if they are nominated for the award being deliberated upon.

Ohio Philanthropy Award

Criteria for the lifetime achievement award – the Ohio Philanthropy Award nominees:

  • Have made outstanding contributions to philanthropy;
  • Demonstrate long-standing leadership in advancing philanthropy;
  • Display creativity in responding to societal problems; and  
  • Have left a significant positive impact on philanthropy. 

Ohio Philanthropy Award Winners

Melissa A. Kleptz (2023) | Claudia Y.W. Herrold (2022) | Pam Howell-Beach (2021) | Samuel Barone (2020) | Geoffrey Gund (2019) | Richard Pogue (2018) | Hank Doll (2017) | George B. Milbourn (2016) | Gordon Wean (2015) | Denise San Antonio Zeman (2014) | Brian Frederick (2013) | George E. Espy (2012 Special Award) | John and Annie Glenn (2012) | Robert W. Briggs (2011) | Shirley Dunlap Bowser (2010) | Malvin E. Bank (2009) | Dr. Lucille G. Ford (2008) | Catherine M. Lewis (2007) | Kathryn E. Merchant (2006) | Chad P. Wick (2005) | Steven A. Minter (2004) 

Philanthropy Innovation Award

Criteria for the Innovation Award nominees:

  • Moved philanthropy forward through an implemented idea or innovation that led to positive change in how the sector operates, thinks or impacts communities; and
  • May have formed a public/private partnership, implemented a unique grantmaking strategy, leveraged resources, engaged in a creative funding or investment strategy or developed a new collaboration.

Innovation Award Winners

Ohio Access to Justice Foundation (2023) | Kristin Aspin and the Women's Fund Childcare Initiative (2022) | CenterPoint Energy (2021) | Dr. Daniel Keenan, Jr. (2020) | bi3 (2019) | Gary Cates (2018) | Don Ambrose (2017) | The Ashtabula Foundation (2016) | Shiloh Turner (2014) | The George Gund Foundation (2013) | The Cleveland Foundation (2013)

Emerging Philanthropist Award

Criteria for the Emerging Philanthropist Award nominees:

  • Demonstrate exemplary leadership in advancing philanthropy;
  • Have engagement beyond a single community;
  • Display creativity in a philanthropic endeavor; and
  • Have achieved significant accomplishments in a short period of time.

Emerging Philanthropist Award Winners
Brittany "Britt" Lovett (2023) | Allie Watson (2022) | Heather Clayton Terry (2021) | Adrienne Mundorf (2020) | Rachel Goodspeed (2019) | Dan Cohn (2018) | Anthony Richardson (2017) | Patrick Westerlund and Meredith Wood (2016) | Connor Reed Thomas (2015) | Andrea Timan (2014) | Cara Dingus Brook (2013)

Michael G. Shinn Award for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in Philanthropy

Michael G. Shinn was the founder of the Shinn Family Foundation and served as secretary of Philanthropy Ohio’s Board of Trustees until his death in March 2015. He chaired the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee, taking on primary responsibility for guiding Philanthropy Ohio’s efforts in that arena.

Criteria for Shinn Award nominees:

  • Have made outstanding contributions to philanthropy by building bridges and connecting people dedicated to equity;
  • Champion the acceptance, respect and inclusion of all;
  • Promote justice and fairness;
  • Forge genuine partnerships with diverse communities; and
  • Implement equitable practices in organizational operations, grantmaking and other areas.

Michael G. Shinn Award Winners

Isabelle Ridgway Foundation (2023) | Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (2022) | Social Venture Partners Cleveland (2021) | The Raymond John Wean Foundation (2020) | John Moore (2019) | Donna and Larry James (2018) | Treye Johnson (2017) | The Community Foundation of Lorain County Board of Trustees (2016) | Kristi Andrasik (2015)

Public Policy Award

New in 2023, the Public Policy Award recognizes a champion in public policy or advocacy work in philanthropy in Ohio. The individual or organization that wins this award uses their voice with courage to advocate using the guiding principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to build stronger communities and a more impactful philanthropy.

Criteria for Public Policy Award nominees:

  • Advocate for policies that impact the sector and its communities;
  • Support public policies that address systemic disparities and produce equitable outcomes for all Ohioans;
  • Remain nonpartisan while working with issues that are political; and
  • Amplify the voice of philanthropy while educating and influencing Ohio policymakers.

Public Policy Award Winners

John Corlett (2023)

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