A Message from our Executive Director
In 2022 Greenacres Foundation proudly welcomed a new executive director, Meredith Randolph Leslie. Please read on for her words on her first year at Greenacres:
As the year comes to a close, we’re reflecting on the wonderful experiences it held and looking forward to new opportunities and challenges in 2023. Carter Randolph has led the operations at Greenacres with grace, passion, and humor for the last 34 years. He is looking forward to semi-retirement, where he will maintain his role as President and Chairman of the Board. He will continue to mentor, coach, and guide myself and the rest of our leadership team for many years to come. While I am new to employment at Greenacres, I am not new to the foundation. I grew up here; my school came to Greenacres for field trips and as I got older, I would work on the farm in the summers and volunteer as a chaperone for school groups. In 2018, I joined the Greenacres Foundation Board and am honored to now be employed by the best workplace in Cincinnati.
Over the last twelve months, we’ve started returning to pre-pandemic levels of operation and we’ve launched new programs to support our community. We’ve developed a solid strategic goal and vision for the next five years, within the mission of honoring our founders intent. Our site in Brown County, Ohio experienced the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra in our meadow, and we started to hear the laughter of children enjoying environment based field trips for the first time. Celebrations of marriage filled the rooms of the Arts Center again. The Pops, Opera, Ballet, and May Festival created the most beautiful and collaborative Celebration Concert, honoring the history of Ohio. We educated local farmers on how to grow native warm season grasses, and continued our war on Honeysuckle and other invasive plants. We provided nearly 500 families with generatively-raised turkeys for their Thanksgiving table. We have been inspired by the life of Grace Lewis, a young woman who had a passion for outdoor educational opportunities. In partnership with her family, we launched Exploring with Grace to provide youth in under-resourced communities the Greenacres experience. Internally, we were able to bring back employee favorites like the Turkey Week Potluck and other family oriented holiday celebrations. 2022 has been an incredible year at Greenacres, and we cannot wait to see where 2023 takes us.
We’ve also faced challenges this year. While the pandemic is getting smaller in the rearview mirror, we can still see it. Illnesses and staffing shortages across our community have led to last minute cancellations of field trips and postponed or delayed projects. Our farming friends in Ukraine have lost everything, but we were fortunate to partner with Matthew 25: Ministries to help provide some relief through a wonderful fundraising gala put on by our events team and community partners. Our livestock and garden teams faced challenges from mother nature and worked tirelessly to overcome them.
Our team faced these challenges, and more, with grace as we stretched ourselves to new heights! I’m honored to be a part of a team of so many dedicated people.
Thank you for being on this journey with us as we continue to offer unique and powerful experiences to members of our community, and live out the vision of Louis & Louise Nippert.
Cheers to 2023 and beyond,
Meredith Randolph Leslie