Northern Kentucky is a place replete with doers—those who roll up their sleeves, put their heads down and do good work. Not just the easy stuff, but the things that matter for beyond a lifetime and make our home a better place. Here are just a few of those doers:

Learning Grove

When Rick Hulefeld and his wife cooked up the idea for Children, Inc. in their basement home in Covington many years back, the maestro could not have foreseen in 1979 the impact the nonprofit would have on the well-being of children and how it would grow.

Today, Children, Inc. has become Learning Grove, led by now-CEO Shannon Starkey-Taylor. You’ll be seeing the rebranding of this premier childhood-focused nonprofit in the weeks to come.

Children, Inc. joined forces with Cincinnati Early Learning Centers to become Learning Grove, combining efforts to advance care and education programs serving more than 3,200 children in the region. Learning Grove’s continuum will serve children and families prenatally through college and career readiness. Services include child care, preschool, before and after-school care, parenting support, professional coaching and college and career planning.

Southbank Partners

As maestros go, they don’t get better than Jack Moreland, the educator who led the successful crusade for what would become the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990. Today, he is president of Southbank Partners, a significant community and economic development organization based in Newport and focused on development for the river cities. Successes include the Purple People Bridge, Riverfront Commons and the Trail Town initiative.

After over a decade of working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a passel of key partners in five cities—Bellevue, Covington, Dayton, Ludlow and Newport—Southbank Partners finally got the green light to move forward with a major riverbank restoration project with $7.4 million in funding, including a $1.5 million local match.

This project will restore floodplain forest along the Ohio and Licking rivers and tens of thousands of feet of naturalized shoreline. This work will save the river shoreline, making it more stable, beautiful and usable. It will also lead to more trails along the river for walkers, joggers and bikers and places to launch kayaks and canoes.

Tim Hanner

My final doer story takes a bit of a different turn, but it’s really good news. Beloved educator Tim Hanner has found his perfect match for a new kidney.

Many of you probably know about Hanner’s struggle with his health and the failure of the kidney transplant he received from his sister. For the past several months, he has been waiting for the perfect match as his kidney function has continued to deteriorate and he has been on dialysis.

By the time you read this, he and his donor will likely have undergone the transplant operation by specialists at Christ Hospital. But the real story here is that being a doer—and making a difference in the lives of people as you move through your life—really matters.

Hanner is a lifelong educator, distinguished teacher and administrator who served as superintendent of the Kenton County School District and founded NAVIGO Career and College Prep, working with students who needed some extra help to find their way.

As your mom always said, “What goes ‘round comes ‘round.”

After a lot of donor volunteers, the perfect match was found for Tim Hanner. Alyssa Vanderpool is a former student of his from middle school—now a teacher herself at Robert D. Johnson Elementary in Fort Thomas—who volunteered to be tested. She credits Hanner for inspiring her to become a teacher.

To receive more articles from NKY Magazine sign-up for a complimentary subscription here!