Saturday, October 30, 2021

The Cincinnati NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner will be held this year on Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 6:00 P.M. at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

Tickets are on sale now, and the cost is $85.00 per person. The dinner will include an array of awards, entertainment, and a phenomenal keynote speaker.  The keynote speaker is one of Cincinnati's very own local treasures, who is a notable physician, educator, and valued leader of several institutions and boards, Dr. O'dell Moreno Owens, M.D., MPH, former Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State University President, and recently retired President and CEO of the local health equity non-profit agency, Interact for Health.

RSVP by October 20, 2021.

This year's dinner theme, "Resounding Resilience," is undeniably reflective of our history as an organization that has undergone adversity and transitions, while continuing to make strides and being relevant in the fight for Civil Rights that is still very much needed in the current climate of the United States.

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was established in 1909 and is America's oldest and boldest, largest and most renowned, well-equipped and most respected civil rights organization that exists. It was formed by both white and Black activists, specifically in response to the ongoing violence and lynchings of African Americans around the country.

To put it plainly, we refuse to quit. Our mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. We will continue the fight against racial disparities and injustice until it is won. We are seeking the participation of all social justice warriors and freedom fighters who share our core values and mission.

Such as these award recipients that will be recognized at this year's Freedom Fund Dinner:


Keynote Speaker

O’Dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H.

Award Recipients


2021 President's Award Recipient

Christie Bryant Kuhns, Esq

The President's Award is the highest award given at the local branch level that is chosen by the branch president to recognize an individual that has been a pillar of the organization for their individual sacrifice and overall impact.


Wright-Overstreet Memorial Award Recipient

Verna L. Williams, Dean, UC College of Law

The Wright Overstreet Award was established in 1989 to honor the memories of two dedicated civil rights leaders, Rev. Samuel Ross Wright and Mr. Henry Overstreet, Jr. Both men are recognized through this award for their work in the NAACP and in the community. Rev Wright, a minister in the United Methodist Church, was a past president of the NAACP and appointed to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission by the governor. Mr. Overstreet was a resolute union man who dedicated his efforts to supporting the NAACP.

Community Outreach and Partnership Awards

The Community Outreach Award recognizes the organization or persons that exemplify the values and mission of the NAACP in their outreach, efforts, and impact in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Sandra Jones Mitchell

SO-ACT Director

Ellen Katz

Greater Cincinnati Foundation, CEO

Stephanie Smith

Fifth Third Bank, Sr. Vice President, Chief Inclusion Officer



Empowering Education Award Recipient

Anthony G. Smith, Superintendent, Winton Woods School District

The Empowering Education Award recognizes leaders in education, who greatly impact African American students in the Greater Cincinnati Area.


Theodore M. Berry Award Recipient

Alicia Reece, Hamilton County Commissioner

The Theodore M. Berry Award was established in 1995 to recognize outstanding achievement in the political arena and in service to the community.

Ted Barry established milestones early in his lifetime. He was Cincinnati’s first African American High School Valedictorian, Hamilton County’s African- American Assistant Prosecutor, and Cincinnati’s first African American Mayor, a position he served from ‘72 to ‘75. Mr. Barry spent 15 years on Cincinnati City Council. He resigned his council seat to accept an appointment as Assistant Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington D.C. He served as President of the Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP for 10 years.


Inspiring Innovator Award Recipient

Nathan Ivey, Nathan Ivey Show

The Inspiring Innovator Award is given to organizations or persons who change the world we live in with their innovation and creativity.


Distinguished Volunteer Award Recipient

Eula Melson, NAACP Executive Committee

The Distinguished Volunteer Award recognizes a very impactful volunteer of the Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP and a trusted member that has over time dedicated their time, energy, and resources to help push forward the mission of the local branch of the NAACP.

The Cincinnati NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Dinner is a long-standing tradition that brings together NAACP members and community supporters to raise funds to support the operations of our local Branch. At the level where we have been working diligently to eliminate discrimination and inequalities for over a decade, since 1915, in 52 neighborhoods and our surrounding communities.

Our initiatives are needed as much now as they ever were. Every day we focus on these key areas: voter education and empowerment, criminal justice reform, public safety, racial health disparities, and economic inclusion, among other aspects. We couldn’t do this work, and accomplish our goals, without the generous support of our community, and monetary support of our mission by our allies and partners. For sponsorship information or to donate to the Cincinnati NAACP please visit our website at or by contacting us at 513-281-1900.

Please join us as we educate, empower, and engage the community. We would look forward to hearing from you. With the Cincinnati NAACP:  YOU Are The Movement! 

Freedom Fund Dinner History

Our annual Freedom Fund Dinner serves as an opportunity to celebrate those who have made a difference in the community. It is also a place where the often-unseen work of individuals and organizations are recognized with visual and verbal recognition and awards. Everyday community member comes together to collectively support the work and commitment to civil rights and social justice.

The generous support of our sponsors and those who purchase tickets, allows us to pay our operational expenses for the year. This allows our all-volunteer organization to continue to assist and support those in our community who are addressing societal and systemic injustices through advocacy, engagement and education.


2021 Freedom Fund Dinner Sponsors

Interested in becoming a Sponsor?
Contact us at
or call (513) 281-1900


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Francie & John Pepper


UFCW Local 75


Standard Textile
Univ. of Cincinnati, Office of Equity,
Inclusion & Community Impact
US Bank
Xavier University


Iron Workers Local 44
Lifecenter Organ Donor Network
Robert Richardson Sr.
The Cochran Firm
Triversity Construction Group
University of Cincinnati College of Law
Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio


Mount St. Joseph University
Mt. Zion Baptist Church
Northern Kentucky University
RWB Properties & Construction LLC
Second Episcopal District CME Church
Sentinel Police Association
Sherriff Charmaine McGuffey
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
Village of Lincoln Heights
Walker Funeral Home
William Mallory Sr. Family
Winton Woods City Schools
Women's Health Alliance