Chic Spotlight: JDRF’s Cincinnatian of the Year Gala

Chic Spotlight: JDRF’s Cincinnatian of the Year Gala

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A local charity is prepping for its biggest fundraiser of the year. See how you can mix and mingle with the “who’s who” of Cincinnati while supporting a “super” cause!


JDRF will host its annual Cincinnatian of the Year Gala on May 13.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about JDRF!
Melissa Newman, Executive Director at JDRF: JDRF is a nonprofit organization with the mission to cure, treat, and prevent Type 1 diabetes (T1D), which is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. JDRF Southwest Ohio is a local chapter that serves 43 counties and an estimated 30,800 individuals who live with T1D.

Cincy Chic: Can you share more information about the upcoming JDRF gala?
Newman: The annual JDRF Cincinnatian of the Year event is a black-tie gala that each year attracts 825-900 attendees and raises approximately $1.1 million. The event this year will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center on Saturday, May 13, 2017 and will honor Dan Schimberg, CERO OF Uptown Rental Properties, as the Cincinnatian of the Year. Our gala chair is Petra Vester and our Volunteer of the Year award recipient for 2017 is Laura Cramer. The Cincinnatian of the Year gala has built a reputation as not only one of the top nonprofit fundraising galas in the region, but is also one of the most fun and exciting.

Cincy Chic: What inspired this year’s Super Hero theme?
Newman: Part of what makes JDRF Cincinnatian of the Year Gala so exciting is its theme. Our gala committee really goes all out every year to develop a fun theme and make the gala experience full immersion of that theme – from the moment you receive your event invitation to the evening of the event when you pull your car up to the valet to when you leave at the end of the night. The theme this year was inspired by all of our JDRF superheroes who commit so tirelessly to supporting our cause and doing what it takes to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. We have so many volunteers and donors who have been steadfastly dedicated for so many years that they really are our superheroes by making a difference and changing the world in a positive way.

Cincy Chic: Why is the Cincinnatian of the Year Gala THE event of the year?
Newman: The gala is THE event of the year because it’s not only a fundraising powerhouse, but it’s truly a night of fun, hope, and inspiration. Our volunteers and staff not only make a tremendous effort to incorporate the theme throughout the entire event, but we take pains to ensure that the evening program isn’t just people endlessly talking, but that we weave into the program the message of our organizational mission in an entertaining and inspiring way. In planning the night’s program, we often describe it as a “rollercoaster of emotion.” We want guests to experience the high energy and excitement of our live opening act and then the live auction, but also the poignant moments where we remind attendees of why we’re here by sharing the stories of people whose lives are impacted by T1D.

Cincy Chic: What makes the Cincinnatian of the Year Gala a great place to network with other locals?
Newman: We are fortunate that the Cincinnatian of the Year Gala attracts a “who’s who” of Cincinnati. At the event, attendees will find a diverse crowd of our city’s leaders and decision-makers across all spectrums. We also build into the event program, through pre-function, part of the dinner program, and of course the after party, ample opportunity to socialize with fellow guests.

Cincy Chic: How much do you expect to raise for JDRF at the Cincinnatian of the Year Gala?
Newman: Our fundraising goal this year is $1.1 million, with a stretch goal of $1.25 million, which would be yet again another record year for our chapter. With the strength of our honoree Dan Schimberg, and of course our amazing volunteers and donors, I think we might be able to achieve that target.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about JDRF, the Cincinnatian of the Year Gala, or purchase tickets?
Newman: Readers can visit for more information or to purchase a table or tickets.