SmartMoney Program




Bright Future Awards


On Thursday August 26th, 2004 at Cincinnati Music Hall, SmartMoney Community Services honored and celebrated the successes of five individuals for the following awards:



SmartPath Award –
Larry Hodge

Young adult program graduate of the year

arry joined the SmartBankers program in the fall of 2003 while beginning his senior year at Hughes Center. In the first nine months of the program Larry maintained perfect attendance, saved and earned $1500 of his income, all while working as a manager of a fast food chain. In the fall Larry plans to attend the University of Cincinnati and major in Education.

SmartSuccess Award –
Sandra McMahon

Individual program participant and/or graduate of the year

n 2000 Sandra decided she wanted to save for a single family home or a multi-unit home, which she could then use as a rental property. In order to achieve her goal she enrolled in the SmartStep Savings program. Throughout the program Sandra maintained perfect attendance and received the maximum program match of $3,600. Sandra was able to purchase a multi-unit home in Camp Washington in 2004. She plans to renovate the second floor of the property to use as extra income. In addition to successfully completing the SmartStep Savings program, Sandra is also a graduate of the SmartBusiness/BYOB program.

SmartEntrepreneur Award –
Sydney Gardner

Smart Business/Build Your Own Business of the Year

n 1999 Sydney joined the SmartStep Savings program to fulfill her dream of purchasing a home for her family. Within two years she accomplished her goal and was able to buy a house in Bond Hill. In addition, to completing the SmartStep Savings program, Sydney went on to successfully complete the SmartBusiness Build Your Own Business (BYOB) program. With the knowledge gained from the SmartBusiness BYOB program, Sydney was able to open a fast-food take-out restaurant in 2003. Sydney currently maintains a full-time job, works five days a week at her own restaurant and still manages to have time for her husband, three daughters and two stepsons.

SmartLeadership Award –
Ron McSwain & Phillip Obermiller

Leadership and devotion to the long-term success of SmartMoney

n the 1980’s, Over-The-Rhine lost 11 banks and savings and loans, leaving residents of this community deprived of a safe and affordable financial service provider. Ron & Phil worked collaboratively with community leaders, two ministers, concerned OTR residents and Cincinnati Central Credit Union, to open a full service credit union and a non-profit organization called the Cooperative Fiscal Services (former name of SmartMoney Community Services) in April of 1988. Phil served as the organizations’ first President and Ron served as the SmartMoney’s first Treasurer. Together they worked tirelessly to build the capacity of the organization to help end the cycle of poverty by providing low interest loans, financial services and comprehensive financial literacy programs. In 1996, the two organized and lead a capital campaign to buy and renovate an abandoned bank building at 1800 Vine Street, where the OTR Branch of Cincinnati Central Credit Union still stands today.

The luncheon was an exciting celebration attended by over 100 program participants, volunteers, supporters, and friends of SmartMoney.

The 2004 Bright Future Awards Luncheon was presented by PNC Bank, sponsored by Cox Financial and Procter and Gamble and supported by Cincinnati Central Credit Union, Cooney Faulkner and Stevens, FACS Group, Frost Brown Todd, McSwain Carpets, Ohio Credit Union League, and US Bank.


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