We’re off to a fresh start with a whole brand new year, happy for a clean slate and for all we learned from our last year. Knowledge and experience add up and, more and more, we appreciate the good things people do and the good people who do them.

Take Everett Dameron of Covington, definitely one of the good ones. He saw a need to improve education in the area and connected with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program as a Champion to bring free books to school kids.

Dameron gathered up a group of friends who are just as dedicated as he is—Marilyn Donnelly and daughters Amy and Kristin, Jo Rogers, and Holly Jung. They teamed up with a nonprofit, the Notre Dame Urban Education Center, which agreed to take the tax-deductible donations.

Dolly Parton’s organization furnishes the books free but the local champions have to pay for the postage—about $2.10 per book per month—mailed to a child’s home.

Today, there are 342 children in Covington receiving a free book every month. Dameron’s group has set a new goal—750 children this year. They need to raise money—about $19,000 to expand and sustain the program. Donations can go to the NDUEC (with NKYDPIL in the memo line), 14 E. Eighth St., Covington, KY 41011.

Dameron believes a child’s life can be changed through reading and having books in a home. I think most of us agree.

Vent haven Museum
Did you know aabout the Vent Haven Museum, tucked away on Maple Avenue in Fort Mitchell? It’s the only museum in the world dedicated to ventriloquism and it provides a resting place for “old” dummies as well as an extensive collection of photos, playbills, books and ephemera.

It was founded by businessman W.S. Berger who left the collection of nearly 1,000 dummies and more, along with his home, to a private foundation that opened the home as a museum in 1973. The dedication was attended by legendary ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, whose famous Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd dummies now reside there.

The collection has grown so extensively that its board, including trustee Anne Roberts and director/curator Lisa Sweasy, has undertaken a $1 million capital campaign to expand the facility into a first-class, state-of-the-art museum building that will expand display space and provide a superior experience to the thousands of visitors from around the world who visit the museum every year.

The Drees Homes Foundation has pledged $200,000 towards the museum’s capital campaign.

You can learn more about Vent Haven and the campaign at venthaven.org.

Newport Firefighters Local 45
The good-deeders on the Newport Firefighting squad reported at year’s end that they had successfully executed a wide-ranging body of activity in 2018. Their work included food drives and scholarships, coat drives and contributions to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The icing on those thousands and thousands of dollars for kids and families was an amazing holiday effort that delivered more than $53,000 worth of food and gifts to 429 children in 106 different Newport families.

And there was a fire truck involved, much to the delight of the kids.

Horizon Fund and Greater Cincinnati Foundation
We’ll top off the good-deed salutes with special mention for the Horizon Community Fund of Northern Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which represent great collective giving in our area. These organizations are proof that a little money from a collective of donors can make a big impact.

Horizon has announced that its Impact Fund will be offering $50,000 in grants to nonprofits who submit grant requests that impact Northern Kentucky, particularly Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. Check their website for details at horizonfunds.org.

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has invited organizations to apply for $50,000 funding targeted to help the region’s most vulnerable have better access to food, shelter and behavioral health services. Details are at gcfdn.org. 

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