Sunday, November 19, 2017 Elyria 33°


Leadership Lorain County honors difference makers


ELYRIA — Leadership Lorain County honored those who have put forth significant time to help others during the annual Difference Makers Gala on Friday at the Spitzer Conference Center.

This year’s recipients include: Brian Frederick, president and CEO at Community Foundation of Lorain County; Claudia Jones, retired associate director of fund development at Oberlin College; 100 Women Who Care About Lorain County founding members Sue Bowers, president of Mercy Allen Hospital; Marcia Miller, director of investments at Oberlin College; Nancy Sullivan, associate professor and program chairwoman at Tiffin University; and Libby Thuning, vice president of U.S. Bank National Association; and PolyOne Corp.

“The gala honors individuals and an organization that have demonstrated remarkable leadership, while making a significant impact on the community,” said Beth Maiden, president and CEO of Leadership Lorain County.

Brian Frederick

Frederick received the Eric Nord Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Frederick moved to Lorain County in 1983, and served as an associate director of the Lorain County Board of Mental Health until 1990 when he left to create a consulting firm. In 1998, Frederick became the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Lorain County.

Frederick is involved in many local and regional civic efforts including serving as first vice chairman of the Fund for Our Economic Future, a regional consortium of philanthropy promoting the economic competitiveness of NE Ohio, and as a board member and Governance Chairman of Team Lorain County. He was the founding Board Chairman of the Civic Commons. He also has served as the co-chairman of the economic development committee for the Oberlin Project.

From 1999 to 2011, Frederick was one of 11 U.S. ambassadors of the Transatlantic Community Foundation Network and was a founding member of the advisory committee to the German Marshall Fund for the Community Foundation Transatlantic Fellowship.

“If my grandchildren were to ask me, ‘Gramps, what do you do?’ I would tell them, ‘I do whatever I can do to make the world better,’” Frederick told the audience Friday. “We don’t do this for awards; we do it for a job well done.”

Claudia Jones

Jones received the Excellence in Leadership Award. She credits her ambition to make the world a better place through Girl Scouts.

Jones, a Girl Scout since the 1940s, is a past board chairwoman for the Girl Scouts of Erie Shores legacy council (Lorain County) and she continues as a board member-at-large for the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio. This past year, she chaired the task committee that conducted a national search to recruit GSNEO’s new CEO, and she received the President’s Award for her volunteer leadership. Jones also was recognized as a Girl Scout Woman of Distinction.

Jones recently retired after 35 years with Oberlin College, where she most recently served as the associate director of fund development. Since retiring, she has embraced her “second career” as an community volunteer.

Additionally, she is a member of the New Sunrise Properties Board that focuses on providing affordable, permanent housing for Lorain County residents with low to moderate income or who may have moderate to severe mental illness.

“I don’t think you can be part of this world and not care about this world,” Jones said. “If you can do something, you should share something. Share that gift if you can.”

100 Women Who Care About Lorain County founders

Sue Bowers, Marcia Miller, Nancy Sullivan and Libby Thuning met while pursuing their MBA at Tiffin University.

At an annual holiday gathering, they discussed how it would be great to figure out a way to do something more for others in lieu of exchanging gifts among themselves. The following summer, a column by Regina Brett about a group of women who met and gave money to local nonprofit organizations sparked a conversation among them and on Oct. 13, 2010, they held their first meeting of 100 Women Who Care About Lorain County.

The concept is simple: Making a difference one woman at a time. Their motto, “One Charity, One Hour, One Large Sum of Money, Purely Local Benefit” defines the organization’s purpose.

Since its inception, the 100 Women Who Care have raised more than $100,000 for 12 nonprofits across Lorain County.

“It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes 100 women to help that village,” Bowers said.

PolyOne Corp.

PolyOne Corp. is a global leader offering an array of specialized polymer materials, tailored services and end-to-end solutions, headquartered in Avon Lake.

For the first time in the history of the Difference Makers Gala, the Excellence in Leadership Award for an organization is being presented to a for-profit company. PolyOne leads by example in its commitment to community. The company encourages its employees to participate in community activities and charitable works of their choice.

PolyOne supports many charitable organizations committed to improving the quality of life for citizens. The majority of PolyOne’s corporate officers serve on nonprofit boards, and dozens of other PolyOne employees also volunteer.

In 2012, PolyOne raised $775,599 for United Way of Greater Lorain County. According to Bill Harper, executive director of United Way, the donations from PolyOne and its employees represented more than one-fourth of the total funds raised in Lorain County last year.

From blood drives to food drives, and from elementary classrooms to high school mentorship programs, PolyOne employees pitch in to help make where we live a better place.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or

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