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Here for the Long Haul

Leaving Loveland a Legacy to Be Proud Of

Article by Natalie Shawver

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

Turning tragedies into legacies—that’s the Loveland Legacy Foundation’s mantra. What began as a desire to help the brokenhearted Loveland community after 2017’s downtown fire has turned into a compassionate, giving, permanent presence that continues to revitalize all that once was.

“We believe there’s a lot of need—even in normal times—and those in need don’t always know where to go to get help,” Steve Max, president of the LLF, says of the nonprofit. “We love to connect the need to the solution. The more we can help fund sustainable initiatives in the community, the better our community will be in the long-term.”

Thanks to financial gifts and donations from generous community members and donors, the LLF’s purpose is simple: assist small businesses during challenging times with provisions that create long-lasting value for the community. In its first two years, the foundation grew from only a handful of grants to being able to fund six in 2019—Kingdom Warriors, NEST Community Learning Center, LIFE Food Pantry, Tried & True Parenting, CASA for Clermont Kids, the Care Center (with partner Wheels Cincinnati), and Loveland Educating Against Alcohol and Drugs (LEAAD). But six isn’t enough for Steve. His hope is to continue to grow the foundation’s presence and further impact the community.

“There are hundreds of charitable efforts doing great work,” Steve says. “Our ability to help connect and strategize with them gives us an advantage that continues to grow. Our vision is to enhance the great things these charities do.”

And the kindheartedness and desire to help run deep. The collaborative board members, composed of Loveland small business owners and residents (many of whom were personally affected by the fire), worked together to rebuild the downtown area after the tragedy destroyed much of the community’s lifeline and social hub.

“We held a ‘Loveland Strong’ block party at Nisbet Park to raise money for the fire victims,” Steve says. “It was so cool watching people literally empty their pockets and stuff the collection boxes for their fellow residents—that’s the spirit of Loveland.”

It is that same generous spirit that has spilled over into the recent COVID-19 pandemic affecting many local businesses.

“We are working to fill the gaps with small business owners by collecting funds and gift cards for owners and employees who may be in need,” Steve says. “In just a few short weeks, the response from the community has been outstanding. Within a matter of minutes of putting a communication out to small business owners, we identified one owner and his three employees who were hit particularly hard. We’ll be working with them to see how we can help.”

If there’s one thing that the LLF and Steve want small business owners and the broader community to know, it’s that they are not alone.

“When we hit times of uncertainty, we want to be there to help businesses and individuals through those tough times,” Steve says. “We all love being in the community—whether that’s supporting local businesses for dinner and a beer, shopping or working one of the many events.” 

“Loveland is filled with such wonderful people who truly care about each other. Being part of the LLF puts us right in the middle. We have the privilege of being part of something really cool; we have an obligation to help our fellow residents and businesses—and we have a blast doing it.” 

Born from a heartrending event, it has become exactly what their name would indicate.

“We want to leave a legacy,” Steve says. “We want to be here for the long haul.” 

When we hit times of uncertainty, we want to be there to help businesses and individuals through those tough times.