All posts by Adam

Austin Gullett Named New Athletic Director at Taft

ABC is thrilled to announce that Austin Gullett, a valued member of our team, has been appointed as the next Athletic Director of Taft High School. 

Austin initially joined ABC in October 2021 as the KISR Enrichment Manager, overseeing the Kids In School Rule! program and connecting Cincinnati-based children in foster care with enrichment opportunities. In the 2022-23 school year, Austin transitioned to the role of Athletics Coordinator, where he played a crucial role in organizing and coordinating ABC’s elementary athletic programs, especially the soccer program and End of Season Celebrations at TQL Stadium. Additionally, Austin provided essential support to ABC’s Athletic Directors at Cincinnati Public Schools.

Before joining ABC, Austin spent three years working in the Community Relations department at FC Cincinnati. He earned his Master’s in Education in Sports Administration from Xavier University (#goMuskies).

Austin’s dedication and impact led to his selection as one of the Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders by the National Afterschool Association in 2022. This prestigious recognition highlights emerging leaders who contribute to the afterschool community and demonstrate a passion for growth and development.

Outside of ABC, Austin is incredibly active in the Greater Cincinnati community. He is the Assistant Board President for High Achievers Aim High, a local non-profit organization that is dedicated to nurturing children through one-on-one guidance. HAAH has the goal to educate and motivate minority children, so that they can receive equal opportunities. 

He hosts the Ignite Your Why podcast, providing guests with a platform to amplify voices of authentic people by having genuine conversations about their motivations and current events. He also spent two seasons as the Head Soccer Coach of his alma mater, Holmes High School.

“ABC is extremely excited to welcome Austin as the new Athletic Director at Taft High School”, said Ricky Miller, ABC’s Senior Manager of Athletics. “Austin’s recent experience as the interim AD at Taft, combined with assisting the athletic department at Woodward High School, and supporting the athletic department at ABC made him a perfect fit for the Senators. We’re confident Austin will lead the Taft students and faculty, and the West-End community to a bright future.”

A Grand Slam Day: ABC Hosts End of Year Tennis Extravaganza for Young Athletes

On Friday, May 10, 2024, the spirit of sportsmanship and fun was in full swing as 5th and 6th grade students from Pleasant Hill, Parker Woods, and Cheviot Elementary gathered for ABC’s Tennis End of Year Celebration. This special event, held at the indoor tennis facility at Walnut Hills High School, provided an exciting day of tennis-related activities, completely free of charge for the students and their families.

The day began with eager anticipation as students arrived, accompanied by their dedicated coaches. To kick off the event, the students participated in a group stretching session, emphasizing the importance of good habits before engaging in athletic activities.

Following the warm-up, the students embarked on a rotation through various game stations, each designed to highlight the skills they had developed throughout their time in the tennis program. From target practice to the engaging “hungry crocodile” game, every station offered a unique and fun challenge, keeping the young athletes enthusiastically engaged.

After the morning activities wrapped up, the students enjoyed a well-deserved lunch, featuring delicious pizza and fresh salad from LaRosa’s. The free meal provided a perfect opportunity for the kids to recharge and socialize with their friends.

The excitement didn’t end there. As each student prepared to leave, they were presented with an array of ABC goodies. These ABC take-home gifts included a fidget spinner, a lanyard keychain, and a handy sling bag to carry everything. But the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the brand new tennis racket each student received, ensuring they could continue practicing and enjoying tennis long after the event.

ABC’s Tennis End of Year Celebration was more than just a fun day; it was a memorable experience that celebrated the hard work and dedication of these young athletes, fostering a love for the sport that will last a lifetime.

ABC Athletic Director Receives National Certification

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) is pleased to announce that Donald Newberry, Director of Athletics at Shroder High School has been recognized by this association as a Certified Master Athletic Administrator.

To earn this distinction, Donald Newberry has demonstrated exemplary knowledge, contributions and on-going professional development in the field of interscholastic athletic administration. The voluntary certification process included a thorough evaluation of the candidate’s educational background, experience, NIAAA Leadership Courses and professional contributions. It is culminated with a practical written or oral presentation project.

Donald Newberry is one of a very elite group of interscholastic athletic administrators nationwide to attain this level of professionalism.

About the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA)

The NIAAA is an accredited organization and is the professional organization for interscholastic athletic administrators. Based in Indianapolis, IN, the NIAAA’s mission is to provide professional development options for directors of athletics, and to enhance the athletic administration profession. With a current individual membership of over 12,000, the NIAAA consists of member state athletic administrator associations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, as well as internationally. The NIAAA champions the profession of athletic administration through education opportunities, advocating ethics, developing leaders, and fostering community. For more information, visit the NIAAA website at

Celebrating Unity and Athletic Excellence: 513 Day Unites Cincinnati’s Sports Community

In an exciting collaboration, ABC is teaming up with the Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, FC Cincinnati, Cincy Shirts, and Cincinnati Public Schools to honor local athletes this upcoming 513 Day. This initiative aims to highlight the unity and spirit of Cincinnati by bringing together professional sports teams and high school athletes under the banner of #TeamCincy. Through the tagline ‘No matter where you started, we are all #TeamCincy’, the event underscores the inclusive ethos that binds the community together.

Leading up to May 13th, ABC will shine a spotlight on exceptional Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) student athletes who have demonstrated outstanding prowess in their respective sports throughout the year. These athletes have been recognized as CPS Scholar Athletes of the month, showcasing their dedication and achievements on and off the field.

Moreover, our initiative will also feature profiles of local professional athletes, offering insights into their journeys and the values they share with the community. By sharing these stories, the aim is to inspire pride, foster inclusivity, and strengthen the sense of unity within Cincinnati.

As part of the celebration, Cincy Shirts is offering a limited edition t-shirt designed to commemorate 513 Day! Featuring elements from the Bengals, Reds, and FC Cincinnati, the shirt symbolizes the collaborative spirit of #TeamCincy. Proceeds from the sale of these shirts will directly support ABC’s mission to support CPS student athletes, further reinforcing the community’s commitment to nurturing local talent.

Join us in celebrating 513 Day and supporting our student athletes by purchasing a limited edition t-shirt! Together, let’s champion the spirit of unity and pride that defines our beloved Cincinnati. Click below to get your hands on this exclusive merchandise and show your support for #TeamCincy!

ABC’s Swimming for Safety Program Making Waves at Taft Elementary

ABC is ecstatic to announce that our impactful Swimming for Safety program is underway at Taft Elementary. This initiative is set to equip over 65 students in grades K-2 with essential swimming skills over a six-week period, meeting twice a week for 45-minute lessons. These sessions are seamlessly integrated into the school day, aligning with the students’ regularly scheduled physical education classes.

Launched in 2017-18, ABC’s Swimming for Safety program seeks to teach young Cincinnati Public Schools students the basics of swimming and water safety, at no cost to the students or their families. 

ABC collaborates with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission to provide trained, certified swim instructors to teach the children the basic swim strokes and provide them with valuable water safety information. Additionally, thanks to the partnership with the CRC, Taft students have access to the indoor pool facilities at the Mount Auburn Community Center, conveniently located on the school campus.

Throughout the program, students not only learn essential swimming strokes like the doggy-paddle but also acquire vital skills such as identifying pool edges and self-rescue techniques during water emergencies. To facilitate their learning journey, ABC equips each student with a swimsuit, towel, and pool shoes.

The significance of such initiatives cannot be overstated, particularly considering that drowning ranks as the second leading cause of death among children aged 5-14 in the United States, with minority and low-income communities disproportionately affected.

For many of the children enrolled, Swimming for Safety represents their inaugural experience with swimming. Initially apprehensive, these students gradually gain confidence and comfort in the water, often expressing eagerness to explore further swimming opportunities.

The ongoing session of Swimming for Safety, launched in April and extending through May 2024, promises to empower over 65 students from Taft Elementary with invaluable swimming and water safety skills.

Ricky Miller, ABC’s Senior Manager of Athletics, expressed the organization’s enthusiasm for the continued partnership with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and Taft Elementary. “This year’s program features kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classes,” Miller stated. “Our goal is to provide basic pool-safety education and to get students in the water so they can develop a skill they’ll hold on to for life.”

ABC extends its heartfelt gratitude to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission for their unwavering support and provision of exceptional facilities at the Mount Auburn Recreation Center. Additionally, the organization acknowledges the invaluable contribution of the Andrew Jergens Foundation (of the GCF), whose financial support has been instrumental in making this program accessible to the children of Taft Elementary.

Remembering Dave Dierker: A Legacy of Support for Cincinnati Student Athletes

Dave Dierker (middle) stands alongside Brian Leshner, former Executive Director at ABC, and Charley Frank, Executive Director of the Reds Community Fund & Vice-President of ABC's Board.

It is with heavy hearts that ABC shares the news of the passing of Dave Dierker, the former Director of Athletics of Cincinnati Public Schools. Dave’s impact on the community, particularly in bolstering extracurricular opportunities for students, is immeasurable.

In 2004, Dave recognized the need for a district-wide booster club to enrich the extracurricular experiences of Cincinnati Public Schools students, particularly in athletics. Thus, the Student Activity Foundation was born, evolving into Activities Beyond the Classroom (ABC). This partnership with CPS aims to enhance athletic programs by managing purchasing budgets for grades 7-12 across thirteen high schools. ABC’s provision of full-time Athletic Directors ensures that each school’s athletic fund is efficiently allocated towards equipment, uniforms, transportation, and more.

However, Dave’s vision extended beyond current student athletes. He saw the importance of honoring the achievements of past CPS student athletes and thus championed the establishment of the CPS Athletic Hall of Fame. This institution, now entering its 15th year, continues to celebrate and immortalize the accomplishments of CPS alumni.

In this 2015 photo, Dave Dierker (far right) and former ABC Executive Director Brian Leshner (center) are present to receive a $5,000 check from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. This funding was allocated to equip the baseball and softball fields at Withrow High School.

“It was a privilege working with Dave,” said Brian Leshner, former Executive Director of ABC. “He was humble and modest, with a dry, gentle sense of humor. Dave brought a quiet passion to his mission of helping student athletes from the Cincinnati Public School district. He will be missed. He worked alongside Dave for 12 years, advocating for student athletes at CPS.”

“Throughout our teams, we mourn the passing of Dave Dierker,” remarked Ricky Miller, Senior Manager of Athletics. “He was absolutely pivotal in our nonprofit’s founding. While his passing weighs heavy on our hearts, his memory will serve as a guiding force as we expand our mission in Cincinnati. His legacy will not only endure, but will continue to proliferate as we grow to serve over 20,000 students annually in Cincinnati through diverse programs spanning athletics, arts, wellness, and beyond.”

In honoring Dave Dierker, we celebrate a compassionate individual whose vision and compassion have empowered generations of Cincinnati student athletes. His kindness, care, and unwavering commitment to enriching the lives of others will forever be remembered and cherished.

MSA Design Pledges Support to ABC

MSA Design has enthusiastically stepped forward as an Advocate Sponsor for Activities Beyond the Classroom (ABC), affirming their commitment to our cause. This generous pledge marks a significant milestone in our partnership, one that will have a profound effect on our ability to empower and enrich the lives of over 20,000 students attending 61 schools throughout Cincinnati. With MSA Design’s support, ABC can continue to offer a diverse array of enrichment programs, ensuring that each child has access to opportunities that foster growth, creativity, and success beyond the traditional classroom setting. 

MSA Design is an architectural organization based in Cincinnati, OH that specializes in architectural design, interior design, and experiential graphic design. While known for their expertise in the architectural industry, MSA is truly a charitable organization, looking to advocate and provide equity to the youth of Cincinnati in need of high-quality extracurricular activities.

MSA Design is the creative, architectural visionary behind such beauties as Xavier University’s Master Plan, including Health United Building and Alter Hall; the University of Cincinnati’s renovated Calhoun Hall and the Turner Design Center; and the Live Oaks Career Campus. “Look at any of MSA Design’s architectural plans and it’s plain to see: this firm values innovation, community, and elegant utility,” shared ABC Executive Director Sally Grimes. “I think this is where we especially align; both MSA Design and ABC invest in solutions that are different, edgy, and support our communities in beautiful, unexpected ways. We are proud to partner with such a tremendous organization that is responsible for creating such beauty and utility in our community.”

ABC is deeply honored and filled with gratitude for the blossoming partnership with MSA Design. This new chapter in our collaboration holds promise for countless fruitful years ahead, dedicated to serving the children of Cincinnati with unwavering dedication and care. Together, we envision a future where every child has access to enriching activities that not only keep them safe after school but also nurture their talents and ambitions, laying a sturdy foundation for their future success. We are excited to embark on this journey alongside MSA Design, knowing that together, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of the youth we serve. 

UC Students Making Real Impact, Write Now

With a student impact of ~20,000 students, over 200 programs and partnerships, and a geographical impact radius that spans across the Greater Cincinnati area, ABC does the mighty work of a big organization. And yet, ABC does not have the resources of many of its peers that have similar impact footprints. With a staff of only 48 employees, most of which are spread across our service locations; only 11% of expenses going towards management and administrative functions, like marketing, accounting, and human resources; and only 1% of total expenses feeding fundraising efforts, ABC is considered an incredibly lean organization. While there is so much opportunity to serve even more students in Cincinnati, ABC has to keep growing internally to keep up.

This is where strategic partnerships with allies across the city are incredibly important, such as the grant writing partnership with the University of Cincinnati’s Sport Administration graduate program. Thanks to the leadership and innovative thinking of the program’s leader, Dr. David Kelley, both these graduate students and ABC (and similar nonprofits) benefit from seasonal fundraising support.

The cornerstone of this collaboration is the practical experience provided to the graduate students in grant writing. Understanding the crucial role of funding in sustaining and expanding programs is an integral part of the students’ education, and this partnership affords them the opportunity to delve into the intricate world of grant writing under the mentorship of experienced professionals. “First, my students are afforded the opportunity to learn how to articulate grant proposal goals, justify funding needs, create a budget and present their ideas effectively all in the context of addressing societal issues such as food insecurity or perhaps basic sport uniform or sporting equipment needs,” Dr. Kelley articulated. “Second, by collaborating with Activities Beyond the Classroom, my students apply the knowledge they’re learning in class to real-world scenarios.  Thirdly, the skills acquired during grant writing, such as communication, critical thinking, and collaboration, are transferrable to various contexts.  Last and certainly not least, in my opinion, grant writing is a “game-changer” in that it enhances students’ competitiveness in the job market. Many schools and athletic organizations actively seek employees who can secure external funding.”

Beyond the academic and professional benefits, this collaboration fosters a sense of empathy and solidarity among the graduate students. As they witness firsthand the impact of their efforts on the lives of students served by ABC, they are inspired to continue advocating for educational equity and inclusion. “I was very excited to hear that I was assigned to collaborate with Activities Beyond the Classroom,” Jarred Jermacans, graduate student and team leader, shared. “I am new to the Cincinnati area and have read and heard a lot about the work of Activities Beyond the Classroom, which is admirable to me.” Jermacans is one of several students that have also leveraged this opportunity to demonstrate their skills to ABC leadership through this project and submit their resume to be held on file in case of future job openings. 

From ABC’s perspective, the partnership brings fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to its fundraising efforts. The enthusiasm and dedication of the graduate students inject new energy into its initiatives, helping to reach new milestones and expand its reach. “Since ABC does so much work in the community, the grant opportunities can feel endless,” Carmen Lawrence-Bille, Senior Manager of Grants and Foundations, shared. “This partnership alleviates some of the workload relevant to our athletics programs, which is a huge relief as this is one of our biggest fundraising efforts throughout the year!”

Moreover, the partnership strengthens ABC’s ties with the academic community, paving the way for future collaborations and knowledge sharing, as well as opening a pipeline of talent. “ABC has an excellent employee retention rate, but we’re also growing really fast. We’ll hit an event horizon soon that will accelerate our program reach and we’ll invariably be hiring to accommodate that growth,” shared Director of Operations Sophia Scott. “This partnership with the University of Cincinnati gives us access to excellent talent in athletics management. So whether these students are considering careers as athletic directors or fall in love with grant writing, we want to know them.”

Together, Activities Beyond the Classroom and University of Cincinnati’s Sport Administration  program are not just addressing the immediate needs of students but also laying the foundation for a brighter and more inclusive future. Through their collaborative efforts, they are empowering students to realize their full potential, regardless of their background or circumstances. As they continue to work hand in hand, they are not just writing grants; they are writing a story of hope, opportunity, and transformative change.

Thank you to the University of Cincinnati, the Sport Administration department, and Dr. David Kelley for making this collaboration possible!

A Night to Remember: Jazz Fest 2024

All photos taken by Melissa Kyrlach

On the 9th of March, a remarkable event unfolded at the Aronoff Center for the Arts as more than 125 students from Cincinnati Public Schools took center stage at the International Jazz Festival. Representing over 20 schools within the CPS district, these talented young musicians were joined by acclaimed Japanese Violinist, Tomoko Omura, and numerous professional musicians from the Cincinnati region. The festival, a full-day celebration of jazz, offered enriching experiences to students and their families at absolutely no cost.

The festivities kicked off with a vibrant array of workshops and jam sessions, led by seasoned jazz artists. In these intimate settings, students had the invaluable opportunity to hone their musical skills under expert guidance. Exploring the nuances of jazz improvisation, rhythm, and harmony, they discovered new depths to their craft.

As evening descended, the students graced the main stage of the Aronoff Center, delivering a spellbinding performance alongside seasoned professionals. Sally Grimes (Executive Director at ABC), Eve Bolton (CPS Board President), and Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney (Vice-Mayor of Cincinnati) extended warm welcomes to the sizable audience, acknowledging the students’ achievements and underscoring the significance of the event for both the students and the city.

Before an enraptured audience of over 800 attendees, the young musicians mesmerized with their extraordinary talent, leaving spectators awestruck by their devotion to jazz. The evening unfolded as a harmonious fusion of solo showcases and collaborative ensembles, resonating with the universal language of music.

In instances where students faced obstacles in obtaining formal attire for the concert, ABC stepped in, providing suit jackets, shoes, ties, and other necessary wardrobe items, ensuring every student could shine on stage.

Global Artistic Contribution

In addition to highlighting musical prowess, the festival also illuminated the realm of visual art. Partnering with the International Sister Cities Association, ABC orchestrated a poignant visual art display in the lobby of the Aronoff Center. Showcasing extraordinary artworks crafted by students from Cincinnati Public Schools alongside their counterparts from Germany, China, Japan, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe, the exhibit served as a testament to friendship and artistic collaboration. Through this innovative exchange, the installation resonated with the spirit of unity and creativity.

A Remarkable Event for Everyone

The 2024 Cincinnati Public Schools International Jazz Festival stands as a testament to the visionary leadership of CPS Fine Arts Director Dr. Isidore Rudnick and a celebration of jazz music’s limitless capacity to forge bonds among communities worldwide. Dr. Rudnick’s steadfast commitment to nurturing the talents of students, combined with his extensive network within the jazz realm, has elevated this program into a remarkable showcase.

Through workshops, performances, and collaborative endeavors, the young musicians from Cincinnati embodied the transformative essence of jazz, transcending borders to cultivate connections and friendships. As the reverberations of their soulful performances lingered, they etched a lasting impression on the hearts of all who experienced this remarkable testament to harmony and unity.

The Jazz Festival, a free community event, was made achievable through the generous backing of The National Endowment for the Arts and their Challenge America grant, as well as support from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), a state agency committed to funding and enhancing quality arts experiences to enrich Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically through public investments. In addition, ABC extends heartfelt gratitude to Flip & Shelia Cohen for their unwavering support of this event, since its inception.

ABC Celebrates 20th Anniversary

This March, Activities Beyond the Classroom is thrilled to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Established in 2004 as the Student Activities Foundation, our humble beginnings centered on supporting high school athletic programs at Cincinnati Public Schools. 

Over the years, our reach has expanded significantly. Today, we proudly serve 15,000 students annually, offering 200 diverse enrichment activities. Notably, our commitment to arts-based enrichment activities has flourished. Join us as we reflect on ABC’s journey thus far and set our sights on a bright future, dedicated to empowering students in Cincinnati and beyond.

Impact Through the Years


The year was 2004, and for a variety of reasons, the landscape for extracurricular activities was bleak. In most suburban schools, the answer was simple: families formed booster clubs and raised money to offset the costs. However, for many urban families, money was limited and booster clubs weren’t an option. 

For this reason, a few committed individuals came together with the belief that no child should be without these life-shaping extracurricular experiences. Thanks to their efforts, and an extremely generous one-time anonymous donation, a districtwide booster club known as Student Activities Foundation (now Activities Beyond the Classroom) was born.

In ABC’s inaugural year, it supported athletic programming for 1,000 students at Cincinnati Public Schools.


ABC entered into an agreement with Cincinnati Public Schools to manage Stargel Stadium. Willard Stargel Stadium, named in honor of a distinguished Woodward alum, esteemed employee of Taft High School, and beloved figure in Cincinnati, remains a vibrant hub for high school athletics, accommodating teams from over seven CPS high schools.


Secured funding, including $200,000 from the Cincinnati Bengals and NFL Foundation, to help develop a new athletic field at Withrow High School. This versatile playing surface caters to a wide range of sports, and its impeccable condition has led to its selection as a venue for hosting OHSAA playoff games.


ABC and Cincinnati Public Schools enter into a contract to manage the high school and junior high Athletic Directors and their budgets. This means that Athletic Directors are officially added to the team at ABC.


ABC began creating and managing programs catered to students of even more age groups, extending beyond athletics for grades 7-12. This included launching arts enrichment, martial arts, youth tennis, 21 Century Learning Centers, and Community Connectors mentoring programs.


Changed the name of the organization from Student Activities Foundation to Activities Beyond the Classroom. This new name was conceived to more accurately reflect our expanded programming.


ABC secured an Impact 100 grant to turn an abandoned building into a thriving athletic facility for students at Hughes High School. This facility, known as The Mack, encompasses a complete basketball court, field turf, and a batting cage, providing student athletes with the opportunity to train for multiple sports throughout the year.


ABC launched our youth soccer program. While initially aimed at engaging young girls, this program now enrolls all genders. In the latest season, the program has expanded its availability to include over 500 students from more than 27 CPS schools.


Launched ABC Clubs at three elementary schools in Cincinnati. ABC Clubs are no-cost, high-quality afterschool programs that provide children equitable access to arts, cultural, athletic, and life skills programming.

ABC Clubs provide lower-income students with a safe place to go when the final bell rings. In addition, ABC Clubs provide students with nourishment through a healthy meal and snack as well.


ABC broadened its role as the Community Learning Center Lead Agency, facilitating enrichment activities for students at nine schools. This number has now increased to 13, with ABC collaborating closely with the Resource Coordinator at each school to deliver enriching activities for students.

ABC’s Resource Coordinators play a pivotal role in securing unique and life-changing opportunities for their students. They forge strong partnerships with individuals and organizations within their school communities, offering exceptional programs and experiences to the students they serve.

Notable achievements include Alpha Delta Boule’s formal adoption of Winton Hills Academy, facilitated by Resource Coordinator Shelby Zimmer’s dedication; a Color Fun Run at Ficke Park, organized largely by Resource Coordinator Cheri Jordan to raise funds for Silverton Elementary; and the consecutive recognition of ABC Resource Coordinators as “Resource Coordinator of the Year” by Adopt A Class, underscoring their exceptional work ethic and impact.


ABC teamed up with Dr. Isidore Rudnick and Cincinnati Public Schools to host the first ever CPS International Jazz Festival. On October 5, 2019, over 250 students who live in the Cincinnati area gathered at the Aronoff Center to participate in a free, full-day event packed with jazz-related activities.

During this all day event, the student-musicians performed for professional jazz musicians, and were able to get constructive feedback from the professionals to help them master their craft. In addition, the students were able to sit in more intimate master-classes, where the accomplished jazz musicians gave lessons, and shared their experiences in the world of jazz.  The evening featured performances on the main stage of the Aronoff from an ensemble of professional musicians from around the world, as well as larger student groups. 


Pivoted to coordinate deliveries of basic groceries and supplies to families struggling through COVID-19. Highlights from these efforts include partnering with the Cincinnati Bengals to provide educational kits to 350 student athletes and securing a $49,800 grant to provide shelf-stable food to families where ABC is the lead agency.


Launched Virtual ABC Clubs to pivot to remote learning. This gave students the opportunity to attend a variety of free and fun afterschool activities, such as the STEM Bicycle Club, Anime, Graffiti Art, American Sign Language, & more.

Partnered with Cincinnati Public Schools to launch the Summer Scholars Program. Summer Scholars was launched to provide additional educational and enrichment opportunities to students throughout the month of June at no cost to the students or their families.  While students spent their mornings focusing on academics and social/emotional learning, their afternoons were filled with enrichment activities, provided through partnerships with ABC and other nonprofits.

Secured funding, including $250,000 from the Cincinnati Bengals & NFL, to develop a new athletic field at South Avondale Elementary.

Brian Leshner steps down from Executive Director position. He is succeeded by Sally Grimes.


ABC took eleven student musicians to Barcelona for the Jazzing Festival de Sant Andreu. These students experienced a unique journey to Spain, immersing themselves in the regional culture while also honing their musical skills.

ABC End of Year Soccer Celebration hosted for the first time at TQL & Stargel Stadiums. This event allows for 340+ students from 27 CPS elementary schools in ABC’s elementary soccer program to engage in a full day of fun, soccer-related activities, at no cost.


Third International Jazz Festival expands to include visual arts gallery featuring international student artists. Thanks to the partnership of the Cincinnati Sister Cities, the International Jazz Festival featured pieces from student artists representing China, Japan, Ukraine, & Zimbabwe.

Looking Forward to Another 20 Years

Over its 20-year history, ABC has positively impacted approximately 200,000 students through its no-cost programs and services, saving families over a million dollars amid financial challenges. Initially serving 1,000 high school student athletes at its inception, ABC now annually supports over 15,000 students in grades K-12 across diverse enrichment activities spanning arts, athletics, wellness, foreign languages, and STEM education. These initiatives aim to keep children engaged and foster their future success throughout Cincinnati.

Looking ahead, we’re thrilled to extend our reach into arts-based programming for Cincinnati students. Our forthcoming initiative aims to deepen connections with regional and local arts organizations, enriching the array of opportunities accessible to students across the city.

We look forward to serving students in Cincinnati for another 20 years, and aim to expand to serve an even greater number of students with our cost free programming in the years to come.