In a crowd of more than 800 people at historic Union Terminal, the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center announced the winners of the 2023 Upstander Awards on Sunday evening.
Hosted by Master of Ceremonies Katie Couric, the Upstander Awards 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. In addition to touring the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center’s award-winning museum, Katie Couric enjoyed a discussion about her cancer advocacy and upstander work with museum leadership. Out of hundreds of nominees, the winners were selected by an esteemed committee for their outstanding contributions to the community. Each award presented is named after a Holocaust survivor, World War II liberator, rescuer or upstander featured in the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center’s award-winning museum. Each award also recognizes a specific character strength used in the museum to describe upstander behavior.
The winners are:
The Edith Carter Award for Love: LeTecia Cunningham
The Werner Coppel Award for Perseverance: Michele Berry Godsey
The Jim Tojo Award for Leadership: Kayelin Tiggs
The Al Miller Award for Gratitude: Mason Bailey
The Frank Bergstein Award for Bravery: Cass Steiner
The Mirsada Kadiric Award for Hope: Carlton Collins
The Charles and Else Heiman Award for Kindness: Dominique Olbert
The Michael A. Meyer Award for Spirituality: Imran Malik
The Roma and Sam Kaltman Award for Love of Learning: Krystal Smalley, Patti Davidson and Rachel Keirns-Moore of the Upper Sandusky Community Library
Learn more about the winners here.
“We’re entering our brightest chapter as an organization – a time to fulfill our mission of using the lessons of history to inspire a community of upstanders in Cincinnati and beyond,” said David Wise, Interim Chief Operating Officer. “This won’t be the last you’ll hear of these incredible stories. We’re thrilled to share that we will be launching a Center for Storytelling in January. Thanks to the support of the Cynthia & Harold Guttman Family, we’ll be launching a podcast and an expanded social and digital media strategy that will allow these inspiring stories to reach new and diverse audiences—here in Cincinnati and well beyond.”
The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center also presented Upstander Community Leadership awards to Kick Lee and Amy Spiller, and in honor of Jaipal Singh. These individuals have used their leadership and character strengths to lift up Cincinnati through their work.
- NONPROFIT UPSTANDER OF THE YEAR: KICK LEE
Kick Lee embodies what it means to be a Cincinnati Upstander. As the founder of Cincinnati Music Accelerator, Kick showcases how creativity can transform a community. By creating opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs, he has transformed lives, built careers for minority and female musicians, and shown the power that music and art can have on a region.
- BUSINESS UPSTANDER OF THE YEAR: AMY SPILLER
Amy Spiller is president of Duke Energy’s utility operations in Ohio and Kentucky, which serves approximately 880,000 electric customers and 550,000 natural gas customers. Under Amy’s leadership, Duke has invested over 2 million dollars transforming Cincinnati’s urban core, making meaningful social justice and racial equity strides. She is a true pioneer of female leadership in the otherwise male-dominated utility industry.
- UPSTANDER LEGACY AWARD: IN HONOR OF JAIPAL SINGH (1980-2022)
Jaipal Singh (1980-2022) was an architect, Sikh community advocate, and interfaith leader who lived a life dedicated to love, service, and community. He served as co-chair for the annual Festival of Faiths and sat on the board of the Cincinnati Regional Coalition of Against Hate. From 2010 to 2012, Jaipal provided relief aid in Haiti coordinating post-disaster reconstruction of schools, orphanages, and housing. Jaipal was a palpable force of positivity steadfast in his conviction of building a more beautiful world.
The Upstander Awards was part of the Cohen Family Upstander Weekend on June 10-11. The Cincinnati Upstander Weekend celebrates and uplifts the changemakers in our community with a variety of events including a 5K, Museum Family Day, and Volunteer Expo.
The Cohen Family Cincinnati Upstander Weekend is presented by Duke Energy, Fifth Third Private Bank, the Mayerson Family Foundation, WCPO, and Procter & Gamble.
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ABOUT THE NANCY & HOLOCAUST & HUMANITY CENTER
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.