2024 Neighborhood Summit Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2024 Neighborhood Summit Community Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is given to an individual, inside or outside of a community organization, whose life and work has benefited all of Cincinnati, through creating inclusiveness, increasing the viability of community activities and organizations, and supporting neighborhoods and neighborhood leaders.

Winner: Bill Fischer
We recently heard a rumor that Bill Fischer is going to retire, so OF COURSE he is the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Quite a few of us have known Bill for many, many years – after almost 2 decades working at the City in the Department of Community and Economic Development, then 5 years with the Port, he has helped many projects come to fruition across the neighborhoods.

Bill was hired at the Port as the VP of Community Development in 2019 – a role that seemed a perfect fit of combining his expertise and experience with his love for community.  There he has focused on residential infill and housing and led outreach efforts in the neighborhoods.  He has worked tirelessly to strengthen community engagement and broaden partnerships to serve the needs of neighborhoods undergoing change.

While at the City, for many organizations and individuals in community development, Bill not only helped navigate the complexities of working with the City, but was a true mentor to the newbies.

Bill has always gone above and beyond the work required of him and truly deserves the Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations and all the best with whatever comes next for you.


Community Catalyst of the Year
A volunteer in a community organization whose energy and ideas lead to a project or program that gets community members involved and excited, results in increased neighborhood engagement, and produces good outcomes, which catalyze the neighborhood

Winner:  Joe Nava, President Carthage Community Council
When the planning committee was reviewing the nominations for this category and came upon Joe Nava, the resounding response was “Duh!”

A few years ago, a once in a generation offer arose for the Carthage Civic League to get some vacant property right in the middle of Carthage.   Joe spearheaded the initiative to develop the vision for a community gathering space (eventually to also include a Community Center) for the neighborhood.  He then spoke with all the community development professionals, people in the City, finance professionals, and anyone else who might have a piece of useful information, to understand “how to do this”, – and then went for it.  Joe has doggedly, persistently pursued this vision and has made it a reality.

This past September, the Carthage Civic League joined forces with Homebase and Yard and Co. to get this idea to fruition. After a catalyzing Community Event, titled “Carthage Opening Night,” we can proudly announce that this project has continued into the next stages of pre-development, headed by Joe, the small but might Carthage Commons Steering Committee, and their HomeBase partners.


Rookie of the Year
With this award, we recognize that hard work and dedication to positive change in our neighborhoods isn’t just something undertaken by the old hats and hands. This award is for the under-30 (ish) newcomers or new-ish organizations, who are bringing passion, fierce commitment, and new forms of organizing and activism to make our city a better place for all.

Winner:  Cincy Nice
Founded during the pandemic by Billy and Destinee Thomas from the simple idea to create more spaces where people can be themselves and have fun together. Cincy Nice promotes community, creativity, and culture though expression and experiences.

At the heart of Cincy Nice’s mission is the belief that collaboration and cultural engagement drive positive change. 5 Points Alley, situated in Walnut Hills, exemplifies their commitment to creating inclusive spaces where joyful experiences thrive. As stewards of this culturally rich community space, they curate diverse programming, including live music events, art installations, and social impact gatherings, ensuring it remains a vibrant resource for the neighborhood.

Amidst rapid change, particularly in Walnut Hills, they’re steadfast in preserving its unique cultural identity, fostering a welcoming environment for all. They’ve expanded their presence with their recently opened Peebles Gallery.

Through ongoing initiatives, they celebrate and amplify the diversity of our community, nurturing a city that embraces everyone. Previous notable programs such as:

Our Tables, in 2020, which turned the boarded-up windows of Main St into 2 city-blocks of open table conversations, storytelling and community healing; and

Soul Plate: Passing the Culture, which was a month long program in early 2021 that created the togetherness of a shared meal through smell, taste, sound and storytelling, hosted as virtual dinner gatherings.

Congratulations Cincy Nice

Equity in Practice
This award goes to an outstanding project that demonstrates a commitment to equitable values, exemplifies equity in action to strengthen and transform a community, and has measurable and sustainable outcomes

Winner: Santa Maria Community Center
Most people don’t realize that Santa Maria services has been around since 1897 when it was formed to address the urgent needs of immigrants for housing, education, training, employment and family stability. 

125+ years later, Santa Maria Community Center still serves those most in need, especially immigrants.  Since the mid-1990s a rapidly growing Hispanic/Latino community is making its home in the Price Hill neighborhoods.  Combined, those neighborhoods have the largest percentage of Hispanic/Latinos in the city. The Price Hills are also home to a growing African immigrant population.

Santa Maria was specifically nominated for this award for two of their projects –

the Stable Families program helps families on the brink of homelessness find resources to work for stabilization. 

Every Child Succeeds provides mothers and their families a collaborative, home visitation program that works with at-risk mothers from pregnancy until the child’s 3rd birthday to optimize child development and promote positive outcomes

Thank you Santa Maria for all that you do that exemplifies equity in action.


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