2017 Champions Of Children

Barbara Siemer

Barbara Siemer’s drive to improve the lives of disadvantaged families and children is her life’s work. Her passion for helping others was the reason she and her husband, Al, established the Siemer Family Foundation, which has awarded tens of millions of dollars in grants to hundreds of organizations.

In 2011, Barbara embarked on an ambitious effort by founding the Siemer Institute, with the goal to prevent family homelessness and school instability and provide disadvantaged children a greater opportunity to succeed. In central Ohio, this work – overseen by United Way of Central Ohio through the Stable Families program – has helped nearly 1,700 families and their children to help them remain stable in their homes and in their school of origin.

For many years, Barbara has devoted her time and energy to serving on numerous boards and governing committees, and currently serves on the boards of the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Metropolitan Library and I Know I Can. Her tireless commitment to helping families and children makes her a true Champion of Children.


Directions for Youth & Families

Established in 1899, Directions for Youth & Families (DFYF) demonstrates a strong commitment to children and families, promotes the development of youth leadership skills and addresses a multitude of challenges experienced by today’s youth. DFYF serves more than 6,200 youth and families each year, and has over 70 licensed clinicians providing counseling services in the home, school or a community site.

DFYF’s culturally sensitive and comprehensive programming has been instrumental in helping our community’s young people and families learn skills necessary to be successful and to be the next generation of leaders, resulting in a stronger central Ohio for all of us.

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