Q&A With Alex Stillpass of the ABC Board of Trustees

1) The age-old Cincinnati question: where did you go to school?

I graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1983. I earned my bachelor’s degree in political economy with a history focus from the Murphy Institute of political economy at Tulane University. It is basically a Philosophy, History Economics, and Political Science degree all wrapped up into one. 

I still hold fond memories of Walnut Hills, and believe my experience there has shaped who I have become in many different ways.

2) What is your professional background?

I had an interest in finance and investments, so I interned at a firm in New Orleans. Then I came home and got a job working for the oldest public finance bank in the state of Ohio, Seasongood & Mayer.

I then moved to Ross, Sinclaire & Associates and practiced there for nearly 29 years, until the Firm closed in 2020. I focused my practice on tax advantage investing, including municipal finance, tax credits, and ESG investments. I now work with a few partners as a consultant, specializing in tax credits.

3) Tell us a little about your family!

My wife Lisa is a lawyer who grew up in Finneytown, graduating from Our Lady of Angels High School (which has since merged with Roger Bacon) and University of Cincinnati College of Law. I have twin daughters, who are now in their mid-20’s, and both graduated from Walnut Hills High School. One attended Notre Dame and now works in finance, and the other attended University of Michigan and now works in tech. My daughters were the third generation of my family to graduate from Walnut Hills!

4) When you were in school: did you participate in any extracurricular activities? If so, which ones and what skills do you think you gained from them?

I loved basketball, but was not a very good player. I had an opportunity to participate by being the varsity basketball manager as a 7th grader. I played football until 9th grade, and participated in track & field, where I threw shotput and discus. I gained communication skills and learned a lot from being on the sidelines during basketball games.

5) Outside of ABC, in what ways do you give (or in what ways have you given) to the community?

My family was very philanthropic and helped put me on the right path. My parents were both always involved in community causes like the Community Chest (now the United Way), the symphony, community parks, and Findlay Market Foundation.

I am on the board of a national organization that is a community development entity focused on community impact projects. I was also on the board of Centerpoint Health, until it became part of Talbert House. Mostly, I try to give back through ABC. ABC is my passion project.

6) What do you see as the greatest challenge for today’s students, and what do you think ABC’s role is in addressing that challenge?

This is a difficult question to answer in simple terms because everybody is different and everybody learns and interacts differently. That said, I think the toughest challenge is for ABC to provide for students to learn and better understand themselves through how they interact with others. It can be challenging to provide an atmosphere for children to expand their curiosity about academics, and keep them focused on the importance of staying in school when there are so many distractions.

ABC [creates a] structured place through sports, dance arts and music, to give children a time to come together in teams and in a learning environment that is outside of the classroom. The activities we help provide are a piece of the path to understanding how to present themselves in social, work, and learning atmospheres.

7) What is one of your favorite ABC programs and why?

It is tough because ABC does so many beneficial things, and I love all ABC programs! If I have to choose, I would pick the two programs we support that focus on kids that do not have robust advocates these are Kids In School Rule (KISR) and the support of Project Connect.

These programs are incredibly important to help children who are truly at risk. These children do not always have access to the proper guidance in order to achieve academically and generally lack support in life. KISR and Project Connect help keep the most at-risk children engaged and involved with their studies and enrichment programs.

[Note from ABC: Kids in School Rule! serves students experiencing foster care, and Project Connect serves students experiencing homelessness]

8) What are some goals you’d like to see ABC accomplish in the future?

I’d love to see ABC expand our services. The model that ABC has honed over the years is one that can be replicated, and should resonate beyond our current geographic focus.

9) What is the most important thing you would like the public to know about ABC?

That we do good work that is very impactful to the children in our community.