SmartMoney Program




Bright Future Awards 2005


On Thursday August 30th, 2007 at Cincinnati Music Hall, SmartMoney Community Services honored and celebrated the successes of four individuals for the following awards:


Vinessa and Clifton Knox  

SmartSuccess Award –
Vinessa and Clifton Knox
Individual program participant and/or graduate of the year

ecently married and not accustom to mixing their income, as well as their expenses, Vinessa and Clifton Knox were not sure how to go about building their savings, living on a budget, or clearing up their credit. They knew that they eventually wanted to purchase a home, but they also knew they had a long way to go with paying off debt and working to improve their credit scores. After hearing about SMARTMONEY’s SmartChange program from a friend, Vinessa andClifton began utilizing our services over two years ago. After completing five one-on-one counseling sessions, the Knox’s enrolled in the SmartHome class. Using the knowledge and skills they gained from both of these programs, the Knox’s purchased their very own home in the summer of 2007. They were even able to make necessary home repairs shortly after moving in. They are thankful to the staff as they were in constant communication throughout every stage of the home-buying process. Clifton says that the SmartHome and SmartChange programs helped them formulate a plan and guided them towards success. We are proud to present the SmartSuccess Award to Mrs. Vinessa and Mr. Clifton Knox, Jr.
Nova Hurt  

SmartPath Award –
Nova Hurt

Individual program participant and/or graduate of the year

ova Hurt is a recent college graduate currently working for the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) as a Family Self Sufficiency Program Coordinator. After college, she got a job and continued to live with her parents, leaving her with a steady income and few bills to pay. When she moved from her parents home to her own apartment, she discovered what happens if you don’t manage your money properly. Through her position at CMHA, Nova was repeatedly referring people to SMARTMONEY Community Services. As someone who was never taught about financial budgeting and money management, she realized that she could benefit from our services. Nova attended the SmartChange Program, completing all five sessions and achieving her goal of furnishing her apartment, paying off two of her three credit cards, and maintaining a budget that has been created specifically for her. She says that she gained a wealth of knowledge from the program, including the realization of how much money she actually had after understanding where she was spending it. Nova continues to maintain her budget and use the information that she learned from the program to help her friends and family as well as CMHA clients.
Cynthia Ford  

SmartEntrepreneur Award –
Cynthia Ford
Smart Business/Build Your Own Business of the Year

ynthia Ford knew she wanted to start her own business before hearing about the programs offered at SMARTMONEY Community Services (SMCS). She also knew that the path was going to be difficult. What Cynthia needed, and what she found at SMCS through the SmartBusiness Program was structure. Knowing what direction she wanted to go in, but not the steps with which to get there, Cynthia used the SmartBusiness program like a map. The course guided her through every stage of writing the business plan and gave her the foresight to know what is to come in the future. With the dream of one day servicing stores and boutiques in the entire region, Cynthia is now operating a wholesale jewelry business and is in the process of building her own website. Her advice to herself and everyone who is thinking about taking the SmartBusiness class is that although you may hesitate or stumble along the way, the path is laid out for you and in the end, hard work will pay off. That hard work continues to pay off as Cynthia has remained a part of our community by utilizing our services and we are proud to present her with the SmartEntrepreneur Award.

SmartLeadership Award –
Dr. Johanna Looye

Leadership and devotion to the long-term success of SmartMoney

professor at the University of Cincinnati in the school of Urban Planning, Dr. Johanna Looye has been a very valuable and influential part of SMARTMONEY Community Services (SMCS). In the late 1990s, Dr Looye worked with SMCS to create the curriculum for the SmartBusiness Program, entitled “Build Your Own Business” which is based on the idea that even if people are not inherently entrepreneurs, and even if they do not end up with their own business, just the experience of learning about all that goes into a small business gives them a better appreciation for entrepreneurs. Over the next decade, the curriculum has grown and evolved into the successful program that we offer today, guiding people through the process of building their own businesses from the ground up. It has equipped people with the skills and knowledge they need, not simply for business start-up, but for life in general. Many graduates have gone on to own a successful business, and those that have not, have a greater understanding of what it takes to do so. Dr. Looye feels that of all the great things happening in Cincinnati, SMARTMONEY Community Services is “not even a diamond in the rough, it’s a full cut diamond. It’s brilliant.” We are pleased to have her on our team, and proud to present her with the SmartLeadership Award.

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

The 2007 Bright Future Awards Luncheon was presented by PNC Bank.


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