Xavier Magazine

Profile: Ned Hertzenburg

Bachelor of Arts in communication and public relations, 1973
President, Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation

Establishing Priorities | Responsibility called on Ned Hertzen-berg early in life. “My father died when I was 15,” he says. “I had a 6-year-old brother, and I assumed the responsibility of raising him. Right after Dad died, I started working at a pharmacy, and I worked there through my junior year of college.”

Priorities | College, work and family responsibility filled his life. “I went to school in the morning, worked all afternoon and, because public relations courses were only offered at night, I went back to school at night,” he says. “It was just a matter of getting my priorities straight.”

Different Planet | After graduating in 1973, Hertzenberg worked nights directing a supermarket crew. After getting married, he began six years with Cincinnati Area Senior Services and became director of a senior center in Over-the-Rhine, a high-crime neighborhood. “A different planet,” Hertzenberg says. “It was quite a change from my somewhat sheltered life in the suburbs. There were times I’d get called at 3 or 4 in the morning because somebody broke into the building. The center was open 365 days a year, so I spent Easters, Christmases, all kinds of holidays down there.”

College Pays Off | The Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation was looking for a new president and, thanks in large part to search committee member Jim Wyler, Hertzenberg won the position. “One of the things Jim saw in me was my background in public relations and my ability to speak and sell things,” says Hertzenberg. “They felt the foundation was flying under the radar and wanted somebody with a communications background to make it much more known.”

Foundation Facts | The foundation is a clearing house that administers high school and college scholarships established by businesses, organizations, individuals and other foundations. When Hertzenberg took over 25 years ago, the foundation was distributing $80,000 a year through a dozen funds. Today, it distributes nearly $2 million a year via more than 100 funds.

Green Companions | One of Hertzenberg’s hobbies is collecting frog-related items—T-shirts, ties, photos, knickknacks. “You name it, I’ve got it,” he says. “I have a 24-carat gold frog ring with emerald eyes that my wife gave me as a wedding present. I have a 5-foot-tall Kermit the Frog. When I put the top down on my Mustang, I’ll sometimes seatbelt Kermit into the passenger seat and drive around.” He even has two live frogs at home. It all got started when he and a friend took a cross-country car trip. The car’s glove compartment was broken and Hertzenberg’s mother gave him a beanbag frog to drape over the opening. “Ever since then, frog items are what I get for birthdays, Father’s Days, Christmas.”

Big Needs | “We give out close to $2 million a year, but the need of the students who apply to us is about $7 million a year,” he says. “My biggest concern is that as the costs of education increase, we have more and more students who we’re simply unable to help.” He’s trying to close the hefty gap by urging estate planners, financial planners and attorneys to persuade their clients that scholarships can be put in wills. “It’s a nice way for families to keep the name of a loved one in the public’s eye and not be forgotten.”

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