The Robert & Ruth Westheimer Center for Philanthropy
In 1999, GCF secured permanent, flexible office space by purchasing the six-story building at 200 West Fourth Street downtown to house GCF offices and meeting space on the first three floors, with three more floors available for lease. Known as the S.P. Nelson & Sons Building, it was built in 1919 and housed a mercantile warehouse, later an interior design firm, and the Northlich Stolley LaWarre advertising agency in more recent years.
Turning a vacant building into an anchor of the historic Fourth Street neighborhood has allowed GCF to expand services to a growing number of donors, provide better services and resources to nonprofit organizations, host multiple community gatherings of varying sizes, and provide space for a number of community initiatives and duration of special projects, including Cincinnati CAN, the Metropolitan Growth Alliance, and Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, as well as several private tenants.
The building is named for Robert and Ruth Westheimer, who believed in the idea of a community foundation, and who made our building possible with a significant gift. We lost Bob in 1997 and Ruth in 2009, but our building will stand as a physical symbol and memory of their friendship and generosity.
The late Bob Westheimer provided dedicated leadership to GCF as an Associate Director and then Governing Board member for more than 15 years. Bob also provided leadership and support to a host of other important community organizations, including the United Way & Community Chest.
“Ruth Westheimer was an outstanding volunteer who received many honors and awards as testament to her importance to this community,” GCF President/CEO Kathryn E. Merchant said. “She cared deeply about the causes nonprofit organizations represented, but she also cared deeply about the people who staffed them and valued her fellow volunteers. She was a generous philanthropist to all of these organizations she cared about so much.”
The Westheimer family believed that helping GCF secure a permanent home was a fitting testament to Bob’s commitment to the community and to the Foundation. Ruth and Bob were life partners in their commitment to this community. GCF is honored to recognize the Westheimer family’s philanthropic and civic leadership.