Upstander Awards Finalists Announced: Katie Couric to Honor Cincinnati Change Makers

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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 2023 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 Dinner and Gala on June 11, 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. Award-winning journalist Katie Couric, Founder of Katie Couric Media, will serve as this year’s Celebrity Master of Ceremonies. Members of the public are invited to attend the Awards Dinner, which includes a three-course meal, live music, art experiences, and a moving awards ceremony featuring Katie Couric. Tickets are going fast and can be purchased by visiting

“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:

  • Brittani Gray
  • Cass Steiner
  • Alethia Finley
  • Chloe Keil
  • Missy Spears
  • Jordan Klette-Cusher
  • Carlton Collins
  • Kayelin Tiggs
  • LeTecia Cunningham
  • Michele Berry Godsey
  • Whitney Blackston
  • Joshua Kayes
  • Imran Malik
  • Krystal Smalley
  • Joseph Waldon and Abigail Groszkiewic
  • Scott Smith
  • Polly Camrey
  • Mason Bailey
  • Tanya Keskar
  • David “Tex” Cho
  • Suzy DeYoung
  • Dominque Olbert
  • Evin Blomberg
  • Oliver Kroner
  • Sheryl Long
  • Dr. Kate Carlier Currie
  • Kristin Shrimplin

Learn more about the finalists.

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center is honored to present community leaders Kick Lee, Amy Spiller, and Jaipal Singh with our 2023 Upstander Leader Awards. These individuals have used their leadership and character strengths to lift up Cincinnati through their work. Three Community Award Winners will also be recognized at the Upstander Awards on June 11.


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.


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.


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 is 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. To get your tickets to all events, visit

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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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