Holocaust & Humanity Center Announces 2024 Upstander Awards Finalists

Share on Social Media

Winners to be announced at Upstander Awards Gala on June 2 at Union Terminal

Contact: Kara Driscoll, Director of Marketing & Events, [email protected], 513-638-0508

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center is proud to announce the finalists of the 2024 Upstander Awards, which recognize individuals in the region who use their character strengths to stand up for themselves and others — pursuing justice, both great and small, and inspiring others to do the same.

Out of hundreds of nominees, the finalists were selected for their outstanding contributions to the community. From among these finalists, the winners will be selected and announced at this year’s Upstander Awards Gala on June 2, at 6 p.m., in historic Union Terminal’s breath-taking rotunda — home of the Center’s award-winning museum, and the very place where local survivors of Nazi Germany arrived by train from war-torn Europe to rebuild their lives. The event will be headlined by  Debra Messing – an Emmy Award-winning actress, producer, and human rights advocate. Read more about her work and advocacy here. Tickets are going fast and can be purchased by visiting www.cincyupstander.org.

“This year’s applicant pool was incredibly large and very competitive, with hundreds of nominations that came in from across the community—each one more inspiring than the next,” said David Wise, Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center. “Our mission — using the lessons of Holocaust to inspire a community of upstanders who exemplify the best of humanity today — this was the challenge that our founders laid out for us. We are here to carry on the legacy of these survivors. It is their spirit of hope, resilience, and their optimistic pursuit of a better world that inspires and animates our commitment today to the work of creating a community of upstanders.”

The finalists include:

  • Tori Morrison
  • Rosemary Oglesby-Henry
  • Toilynn Turner
  • Lamont Ragan
  • Galadriel Stamm
  • Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland
  • Carter Pittman
  • Tyra Patterson
  • Emily and Mark Kendall
  • Martha Stephens
  • Cedric Cox
  • Barth Johnson and Robert Singleton
  • Evangeline DeVol
  • Kimberly Huckleby
  • Terrisenia Denham
  • Gabriel Fletcher
  • Mary Beth Knight
  • Emelia Luce
  • Karen Gibbs
  • Elise Carter & Trinity Walsh
  • David Morse
  • Sister Nancy Linenkugel
  • Steven Anderson
  • Kevin Schweiger

Learn more about the finalists.

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center is honored to present five esteemed community leaders with our 2024 Upstander Leadership Awards. These individuals have used their leadership and character strengths to lift up Cincinnati through their work. These individuals will also be recognized at the Upstander Awards on June 2.

Nonprofit Upstander of the Year: Whitney Austin

A fighter and survivor in every sense, Whitney Austin was shot 12 times as she entered the Fifth Third Bank headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio on September 6, 2018. Since that tragic day, Austin has dedicated her life to preventing gun violence through data-driven, responsible gun ownership solutions. Whitney Austin founded the Whitney Strong Organization, which dedicated to reducing gun violence by promoting, advocating and supporting responsible gun ownership. She said she feels “an undeniable force pushing me to tackle gun violence.”

Business Upstander of the Year: Joel Stone

Joel Stone is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Private Bank for Fifth Third Bank’s Cincinnati Region, including Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky. A true champion of Cincinnati’s arts and nonprofit organizations, Joel works tirelessly in his professional and volunteer leadership roles to strengthen and enhance the arts and cultural landscape of our region. Joel was a founding co-chair of the Holocaust & Humanity Center’s Business Beacons program, which connects Cincinnati’s corporate community with the Center to foster workplace and community cultures of upstanding.

Duke Energy Illuminator Award: Laura Brunner 

Laura Brunner is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority. For more than a decade, Laura has led The Port with her impassioned efforts to fix broken real estate in order to reduce wealth disparities, increase homeownership and grow manufacturing jobs. Brunner gained national recognition in 2022 when she led the unprecedented effort to acquire 194 single-family homes from an out-of-town investor to keep the American dream of home ownership alive for many Cincinnatians.

Upstander Lifetime Achievement Award: Barbara Kellar 

Barbara Kellar has been helping the Cincinnati community see the arts world differently for decades. She has served Cincinnati as a volunteer for more than 44 years – dedicated to serving the arts, youth and education. She hosts public television’s SHOWCASE with Barbara Kellar on CET, CET Arts and online, which features interviews on behalf of the arts community. Mrs. Kellar has served in key roles with CET where she has won numerous awards including the President’s Award, a key to the City of Cincinnati, the Ohio Broadcasting Award for Development, the National Award for Excellence in Public Television Leadership and was honored at a 2010 Gala for her over 44 years of service to CET.

Upstander Legacy Award: Richard Weiland z”l

Dick Weiland, a renowned Cincinnati lobbyist, power broker and philanthropist, was remarkably committed to civil rights, individuals with special needs, social services, and dozens of other causes that he passionately supported. The lifelong Cincinnatian raised millions of dollars for Cincinnati’s arts organizations, as well as for Jewish and non-Jewish social service agencies, hospitals and nursing homes. He worked actively on issues in Columbus and Washington, D.C. on behalf of the community.

Generously supported by the Cohen Family, the month of events at Union Terminal includes:

  • June 2, 2024, at 6 p.m.: Upstander Awards Gala
  • June 18, 2024, at 6 p.m.: Museum Mindfulness Yoga: Tapping into the Science of Well-Being
  • June 30, 2024, 8:30 a.m.: Upstander 5K Run & Walk
  • June 30, 2024: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Upstander Family Museum Day at Union Terminal

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center was created to carry on the stories and lessons of one of the darkest chapters in human history. Rooted in this educational mission is a vision to create an entire community of upstanders — high-minded, everyday heroes who act because they refuse to be bystanders.

The Cohen Family Cincinnati Upstander Month is presented by Duke Energy, the Mayerson Family Foundation, and Procter & Gamble. For more information and to purchase tickets to events, visit www.cincyupstander.org.

# # #


The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center exists to ensure the lessons of the Holocaust inspire action today. Located at Cincinnati’s historic Union Terminal, HHC impacts more than 2.5 million people every year through digital and in-person events, museum tours, educational experiences, social media, and virtual content. From Australia to India, individuals from more than 25 countries and 30 states engage with our mission. For more information, visit www.holocaustandhumanity.org.