SmartMoney Program




Bright Future Awards 2005


On Thursday August 17th, 2006 at Cincinnati Music Hall, SmartMoney Community Services honored and celebrated the successes of four individuals for the following awards:


Nikole Whitener  

SmartSuccess Award –
Nikole Whitener
Individual program participant and/or graduate of the year

Click here to view a video about Nikole's accomplishments.
(hi-speed internet connections only - mpg file, 46MB filesize)

hen Nikole Whitener came to SMARTMONEY Community Services in 2001 she was a longtime Over-the-Rhine resident living on Vine Street with no car or license, $4,700 in credit card debt and was ready to make a change in her life. Nikole took advantage of our SmartLoan Program to pay off her debt. She also completed our SmartChange Financial Counseling Program, as well as countless hours of follow up phone calls and meetings to ensure her budget, credit rebuilding and savings plans were successful. Since 2001, she has paid off her SmartLoan in full and on time, improved her credit rating from the low 500’s to the high 600’s which has allowed her to purchase a 2002 Hyundai as well as her own home! Nikole now lives in her home in Avondale and is in the process of adopting her niece. She is sticking to a steady monthly budget and savings plan, and was recently promoted at her job with Hamilton County. Nikole is a shining example of what the SmartSuccess Award is all about.

SmartSuccess Award –
Kathy Porter

Individual program participant and/or graduate of the year

Click here to view a video about Kathy's accomplishments.
(hi-speed internet connections only - mpg file, 37MB filesize)

referral from a partner organization is what led Kathy Porter to SMARTMONEY in 2002. At the time she enrolled in the SmartStep Savings Program, she had recently filed bankruptcy, ended her marriage and was living in a shelter with her two children. When she learned the SmartStep Savings Program would match every dollar she saved 2:1 she thought it was too good to be true, but was eager to fulfill her dream of homeownership. Kathy began focusing all her energy on saving for her down payment, maintaining a healthy budget and keeping her credit in order. By 2005 she had completed over 24 hours of budget and credit counseling. As a result of her hard work and diligence, Kathy received $3,750 from her SmartStep Savings account and used it to purchase her first home in Hartwell. She works full time as a cosmetologist and takes home improvement courses to maintain her new home. Kathy continues to utilize what she learned at SMARTMONEY to sustain a better life for her family and we are extremely proud of her accomplishments.

SmartEntrepreneur Award –
Leonard Phipps, III
SmartBusiness/Build Your Own Business of the Year

Click here to view a video about Leonard's accomplishments.
(hi-speed internet connections only - mpg file, 28MB filesize)

hen Leonard Phipps III first heard about the Build Your Own Business (BYOB) course being offered at SMARTMONEY Community Services he didn’t waste any time getting registered. He made the decision to get started in the pest control business because of a need that came up while doing home inspections. Leonard completed his business training in Fall of 2005 with more than 40 hours of classroom and counseling time under his belt. Not only was Leonard’s business plan for Onyx Termite and Pest Control selected as the best written out of his class–which awarded him with a computer and office space at the Cincinnati Business Incubator (CBI)–but Onyx was open for business by the end of 2005. Through his dedication and hard work, Leonard Phipps leveraged the tools and knowledge provided to him through the SmartBusiness course to become successfully self-employed and he truly embodies what it takes to be a smart entrepreneur in today’s society.

SmartLeadership Award –
Scott Seideweitz

Leadership and devotion to the long-term success of SmartMoney

Click here to view a video about Scott's accomplishments.
(hi-speed internet connections only - mpg file, 69MB filesize)

n 1993 Scott Seidewitz, an enthusiastic and socially conscious individual joined the board of Cooperative Fiscal Services (known today as SMARTMONEY Community Services). The Co-op, then a relatively unknown yet dynamic non-profit, was operating in Cincinnati’s most blighted, low-income, inner city neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine. Phil Obermiller, Ron McSwain and Bill Herring, the founding fathers of the Co-op and Cincinnati Central Credit Union, immediately recognized Scott’s strong leadership abilities as a board member and he became Board President in 1994. During Scott’s tenure as Board President of Co-op he led the planning and implementation of the name change and re-branding of Cooperative Fiscal Services to SMARTMONEY Community Services in 1998, marking a major milestone in our 18-year history. He led the board and staff in the expansion of the organization’s vision and mission to offer our services to the broader Cincinnati community, while overseeing SMARTMONEY’s program growth to offer Individual Development Accounts and Micro Enterprise Business Training. Seidewitz also brought in two outstanding executive directors, Rahim Spence in 1993 and Darrick Dansby, in 2000 who both aided in leading SMARTMONEY down our own “Smart Path to a Bright Future” (the slogan he also branded.) To Scott, we are extremely grateful for your passionate support through the years. Your vision for SMARTMONEY remains strong as we continue to guide individuals, families and our urban communities along a steady path towards economic self-sufficiency.

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

The 2006 Bright Future Awards Luncheon was presented by PNC Bank.


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