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Philanthropy Features

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Hughes STEM High School a springboard for effective, community-based learning

Because of strong community partnerships that result in events like speed mentoring and with lots of opportunities for experiential learning, Hughes STEM High School students are a step closer to bright futures.

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OTR's Latin School for Boys raises the bar, demands high standards

St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys builds character and provides a rigorous education for 27 students in the Over-the-Rhine community. "There will be no excuses," says Headmaster Jonathan Love.

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15 for '15: Big ideas driving Cincinnati forward in the new year

Here are 15 big ideas for Greater Cincinnati in 2015 that, if achieved, will accelerate the region's forward momentum. They're certainly doable given the winds of change moving Cincinnati in the right direction.

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Rothenberg garden a source of connection, pride and growth for OTR students, community

Rothenberg Preparatory Academy's roof-top garden serves multiple roles, from educational experience to salad bar provider to community building.

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Top Soapbox stories of 2014

We've checked our Google Analytics once, checked them twice, and here are the top 10 most popular Soapbox stories published in 2014 based on page views. Join us as we go truckin' down memory lane.
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Philanthropy Videos

Opening in spring 2015

Building Carol Ann's Carousel

Cincinnati Parks and the Haile Foundation have released a video showing the animal/character design and construction work currently underway for Carol Ann's Carousel, expected to open this spring at Smale Riverfront Park downtown.

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People's Liberty

The application deadline for People's Liberty's two $100,000 Haile Fellowships is next week. Learn more about these innovative grants.

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Weekend Roundup

Soapbox photographer Scott Beseler took a 35mm look at his Friday night in Cincinnati, starting at Ei8ht Ball Brewing in Newport, Ky., then venturing across the river to Findlay Market, Clay Street Press and MOTR Pub.

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Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic: David Falk

Boca and Sotto's David Falk shares his insights on the Cincinnati restaurant boom. Falk will participate in the inaugural Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic September 12-13 in Washington Park.

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CDF celebrates 25 years with renewed grant program

In honor of its 25th anniversary, the Cincinnati Development Fund has restarted its Enhancement Fund grant program, which was used in 2011 as a one-time way to help the community and projects it funded "get a little something extra" that wasn't previously in their budget.
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Philanthropy

Katy Samuels, co-founder of Memories of Loved Ones

Katy Samuels, co-founder of Memories of Loved Ones

City: Western Hills

How did you start your business?  
My brother Scott and I are the co-founders of Memories of Loved Ones, or MoLo. We started our business with loans from our family after a mutual friend of ours, Keith Noble, passed away.  At Keith’s funeral there were many poster boards on display with original photographs.  Several years passed and the poster boards were eventually taken apart.

We started talking about how frustrating it was that Keith’s poster boards didn’t exist anymore and it got us to thinking – what do most families do with their pictures when they plan a funeral?  We found out that there are no good solutions available to families who want to preserve precious photos and memories of a loved one.

Once we had come up with our concept we decided to test our idea by offering our service for free to a friend that had lost his father.  We got great feedback and it confirmed that we had come up with a great idea.   

How did you come up the idea for your business?  
We couldn’t find any company that provided a service like this for a funeral.   There are tons of companies that can help you after a funeral but we are the first that helps you during that painful time. So, between Scott’s and my IT background, my background with Creative Memories [a program that helps convert physical photos and the like to digital images], and many other talents in our family, we were able to come up with a process that allowed us to provide this service to families very much in need of it.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
Everyone that works with us is either a family member or close enough they are like family.  We are lucky to be part of a large family with many talents so we have done the majority of the work in house using as much “free help” as we can get.  Without the many talents in our family we would not be where we are today.  

To be honest, I can’t say we utilized many local resources initially.  We are now involved in groups like Bad Girl Ventures, and we’ll be meeting with a SCORE counselor next week.  I am part of a local business networking group called the Westside Referral Organization, and we’re also a part of the Delhi Business Association.

What does a typical day in your business look like?   
Our headquarters is located in my home, where we converted one side of my basement into our office.  When we’re working on projects, we’re usually here.  

Life can be a bit crazy for us!  Since we deal with funerals, our schedule is constantly changing.  When we are meeting a family onsite, we can be found in the “MoLo Mobile,” a bright purple and green, 35-foot RV (it was wrapped by our friends at Advertising Vehicles) – you can’t miss us driving down the street!  

Inside the RV, we have scanners and cameras that allow us to convert everything from photographs and keepsakes to digital onsite while meeting with a family.  

The RV is fun and casual as well – just like us!  There is plenty of diet coke, M&M’s and other junk food all on hand; we try to make the family feel as welcome and at ease as possible.

What’s next for you and your company?
We are still a small business just working toward that “break even” goal, yet the business seems to evolve every day and we’ve come so far in just two years.  We see significant growth potential with our business, and have considered pitching our idea to angel investors and VC firms with the goal of expanding and offering our service nationwide.  

If I had a dollar for every person who has told us this is the best idea they’ve heard of in years, or said, “You need to franchise this fast,” I’d be a rich person!

For now, we are happy to continue spreading the word, growing our local market and helping to make one more family’s life a little easier every day.   

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