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The Cincinnatus Association presented the Donald and Marian Spencer Spirit of America Awards

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Pictured are Giovanna Alvarez of Su Casa; Elliot Grossman, President of the Cincinnatius Association and Ted Bergh, executive director of Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio, at the presentation of the Donald and Marian Spencer Spirit of America Awards May 9. (Courtesy Photo)
Pictured are Giovanna Alvarez of Su Casa; Elliot Grossman, President of the Cincinnatius Association and Ted Bergh, executive director of Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio, at the presentation of the Donald and Marian Spencer Spirit of America Awards May 9. (Courtesy Photo)

The Cincinnatus Association presented the Donald and Marian Spencer Spirit of America Awards for the third year, honoring Su Casa and other Cincinnati area businesses and nonprofits for promoting diversity and inclusion.

The 97-year-old civic organization recognized:

Su Casa, a program of Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio. It was honored for its support services to Latino immigrants. Su Casa recently celebrated its 20th year anniversary.

Greater Cincinnati Urban League, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming generations by promoting personal empowerment and economic self-sufficiency. It was honored for its workforce development programs.

Al Neyer, a real estate development and design-build construction firm. It was honored for its commitment to diversity and inclusion in the company and the community.
Cincinnatus honored the winners at a May 9 dinner at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Hotel as 245 guests looked on.

The awards honor organizations and individuals that exhibit conspicuous and enduring contributions to promoting greater inclusion and diversity in the community. At the same time, the Spencer Awards celebrate the Spencers’ achievements in civil rights as well as The Cincinnatus Association’s decades of civic activism.

The Cincinnatus Association’s current focus is on eliminating poverty and helping Cincinnati area residents achieve the American Dream. The association is doing that not only by advocating for diversity and inclusion but also for good government and education.

“With all the supposed divisiveness in the United States, the number of people here in this banquet room for a common cause – recognizing outstanding efforts for diversity and inclusion — should give all of us hope for the future,” Cincinnatus President Elliot Grossman told the crowd. “It is a wonderful sight.”

The Cincinnatus Association created the Spencer Awards to honor Cincinnati’s “First Couple of Civil Rights.” Donald Spencer, who died in 2010, was the first African American on the Cincinnati Park Board, the first African American broker on the Cincinnati Board of Realtors, and the first African American trustee at Ohio University. Marian Spencer fought to integrate Coney Island so her children could swim in the pool. She also was the first African American president of the Woman’s City Club and the first African American Cincinnati City councilwoman. Donald was a Cincinnatus Association member for many years, and Cincinnatus made both Donald and Marian permanent honorary members in 2007.

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