January 20, 2022

Hello Nune,

Happy New Year!

As this new year dawns, we give many thanks to our friends and supporters who helped get us through another year of this global pandemic. Last year, your support helped Maria learn English, and Yafah become financially independent through financial coaching. Your donations helped Weldezghi and Semhar stay in their apartment with rental assistance and Ana Luz Isidro get diapers for her son. With your help, Hanora was able to earn work experience while Jerrod was able to find his dream job - and the list goes on and on! Your support also helped over 400 people get vaccinated against COVID-19 during our health fairs and vaccination events in 2021!

As we look ahead to this, our 125th year of service to the community, we see great potential despite the challenges this pandemic poses. We will once again be hosting two health fairs where we will be vaccinating community members against this deadly disease. The first will be held on February 19, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Price Hill Recreation Center. If you would like to donate your time to this event, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Lucienne Driehaus, at 513-390-0314. The second will be held in the fall. Details for both of these events and much more will be found on social media. Please follow us on your favorite social network: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube.

We look forward to seeing what 2022 holds for our community and thank you once again for your support.



H.A. Musser, Jr.

President and CEO

Santa Maria Community Services, Inc.

Make a Donation to Santa Maria

Santa Maria Celebrates its Quasquicentennial in 2022!


On December 8, 2022, Santa Maria Community Services, Inc. will celebrate 125 years of serving families in Cincinnati – that’s called a quasquicentennial. Founded by two Sisters of Charity, Blandina and Justina Segale, Santa Maria began as a settlement house serving Cincinnati’s Italian immigrant population. Settlement houses were part of a reformist social movement whose goal was to bring together affluent and underprivileged residents of a community in an effort to alleviate poverty. They provided educational, recreational, and other social services to the community.

Maria Maddalena Segale was born in Cicagna, Italy on December 12, 1846, followed by her sister, Rose Mary Segale on January 23, 1850. The Segale family emigrated to America in 1854, settling in the Basin area of Cincinnati. Both sisters attended parochial schools run by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and in 1866 entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Charity. Maria Maddalena received the name Justina and Rose Mary received the name Blandina.

The Sisters both served the people of Trinidad, Colorado and Albuquerque, New Mexico in their early days of service. Sister Blandina famously met Billy the Kid’s gang and prevented the scalping of four prominent citizens of Trinidad. In 1893, Sister Blandina was called back to Cincinnati, with her sister to follow in 1897. Sister Justina was working with Italian immigrants when the Most Reverend Archbishop Elder approached the sisters and asked them to expand their work with immigrant outreach in the Italian community. Together, the Sisters turned $5 seed money into the Santa Maria Italian Educational and Industrial Home.

Santa Maria first made its home in borrowed classrooms located at Holy Trinity School. In 1899, Santa Maria moved to a former convent owned by the Sisters of St. Frances located at Third and Lytle Streets (now Lytle Park). The Sisters of Charity wrote, “This first home was a God-send and deep gratitude was felt for the Franciscan Sisters for this timely aid.” The Sacro Cuore (The Sacred Heart) School was opened there in 1900. There would be many more homes for Santa Maria over the years. Whether it was in downtown, Over-The-Rhine, or Lower and East Price Hill, Santa Maria was dedicated to helping the community.

From the very beginning, Santa Maria offered financial assistance and visited homes to render social service. In the early twentieth century, Santa Maria became involved with the Juvenile Court Auxiliary and Sister Blandina even became a Probation Officer. It created the Domestic Science Department that taught sewing, millinery and culinary classes, and the Free Employment Bureau that assisted people in finding employment. A Temporary Home for the Unemployed provided lodging for women and girls and arranged lodging for men at various places in the city. Srs. Blandina and Justina and other staff and volunteers visited the sick, the poor and those in prison. “One of the greatest works of charity, with excellent results, we found to be the giving of a helping hand in the hour of need,” wrote the Sisters of Charity in 1922 when they celebrated Santa Maria’s silver jubilee.

Another service Santa Maria offered was visiting tenement homes. “Visiting the homes gave us a good opportunity to correct many abuses, promote education and keep informed of the needs of the working people,” the Sisters of Charity wrote. Santa Maria opened The Santo Bambino Day Nursery in 1918, providing much needed childcare in the neighborhood. It created a Mothers’ Club that met once a week under the supervision of Mrs. Charles Ginocchio. “Mrs. Ginocchio has fulfilled the hopes of the club beyond all expectations by her generosity and faithful service,” wrote the Sisters of Charity. The Ginocchio’s descendants and extended family members are still actively involved with Santa Maria today. Santa Maria conducted evening classes in citizenship, English, and Italian, and began after school activities for youth that included dance, drama, and art classes, study and social clubs and recreational activities. In addition, Santa Maria ran Mothers’ and Men’s Clubs, and provided entertainment in the form of concerts, lectures, and outings. At one point Santa Maria had its own choir, boy and girl scout troops and even a baseball team.

After World War II, Santa Maria changed its service focus to Appalachians who were migrating to Cincinnati at record numbers in search of better-paying industrial jobs and higher standards of living. It added many services for senior citizens, continued working with school children and provided a preschool. By the 1960s, Santa Maria was beginning to take on the shape of a modern social welfare agency and moved the bulk of its services to Lower and East Price Hill.

Early contributors to Santa Maria included the Ginocchios, Mr. and Mrs. J. Castellini, Otto Armleder and even Queen Margaret of Italy. One of Santa Maria’s Honorary Board Presidents was His Grace Most Reverend Archbishop Moeller, D.D. Names like Chiotti, Fox, Cardosi, Miller, Farrell, Storer, Ginocchio, Murray, Olberding, and Fitzpatrick made up Santa Maria’s Board of Directors. Some of those families still support Santa Maria today!

For our 100th birthday, Santa Maria made this analogy comparing the Agency with the ship that carried explorers to the new world:

“The waters have always run deep, and the sea has never been calm. As we look back, we are proud of our accomplishments. We accept that there are new horizons to move toward. We sense that our ship is afloat, and the wind has caught its sails.”

As Santa Maria heads into its 125th year of service, it continues to sail on with the wind at its back. 

Donate to Santa Maria in Honor of 125 Years of Service

Santa Maria Welcomes

New Board Members!

As Santa Maria Community Services, Inc. enters its 125th year of service in 2022, we are pleased to welcome new board members, Robert Fohl, Lorena Garcia Cruz, Tom MacDonald, David Sparks and Max Williams.


Robert Fohl: Robert is a Certified Public Accountant working as an Accounting Manager at Metcut Research Inc. Previously, he was an audit Senior Manager with BKD CPAs and Advisors specializing in auditing manufacturing and construction companies and employee benefit plans. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and economics from The Ohio State University. He currently resides in East Walnut Hills. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, cycling and hiking. “I grew up on the West Side of Cincinnati and attended Elder High School in Price Hill. I enjoy contributing to an organization engaging in great work to assist the families of Price Hill,” Robert said.

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Lorena Garcia Cruz: Lorena is a wife and mother of three children and has been a long-time resident of Price Hill after emigrating from Oaxaca, Mexico. Lorena is a leader in the Hispanic community and has been involved with All Children Thrive, 4C for Children and the Early Childhood Collaborative. She has also been a part of the Justice Promoters Group in Price Hill and Avondale, in partnership with the Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Santa Maria. Lorena has been involved with Santa Maria for the past decade, participating in the women’s group, High School Equivalency program, Homesteading program, and the English as a Second Language program. She is an active member of St. Boniface Church and is always looking for programs to benefit the Hispanic community. “I would love to share with the board, and Santa Maria, the needs of my immigrant community,” Lorena said.


Tom MacDonald: Tom is the President of Axis Healthcare Consulting. Prior to that, Tom was the Chief Operating Officer at Ultimate Rehab. He has a master’s degree in Executive Leadership and Organizational Change from Northern Kentucky University. Tom has been a mentor for Cincinnati Youth Collaborative for nearly twenty years and was also a member of the United Way Financial Stability Council. Tom said, “Having spent 25 years advising people in a wide array of financial matters, financial literacy is something near and dear to my heart. I believe providing knowledge and common-sense strategies goes a long way in helping people make informed financial decisions which are critical regardless of one’s occupation or income level.” Tom lives with Lorie, his wife of 36 years, in Riverside. They have three sons, Brian, Patrick and Will, and four grandchildren.


David Sparks: David is a Senior Wealth Advisor with Mariner Wealth Advisors in Cincinnati. He specializes in helping high-net-worth individuals, families, and business owners grow and protect their wealth. He grew up on the west side of Cincinnati and currently resides in Wyoming, Ohio with his wife and three children. David received both his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Cincinnati, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. He said, “I am amazed at the great work being done by Santa Maria in the Price Hill community. This organization empowers families and provides stability through their fantastic education and healthcare resources. I am proud to join these efforts to assist our residents and strengthen our community.”


Max Williams: Max is an Associate Attorney with Frost Brown Todd in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has a juris doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a Bachelor of Art degree in Peace, War and Defense from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Max loves all things Cincinnati, from Skyline Chili to the Bengals, and everything in between, Max takes pride in his beloved City. “I wanted to serve on Santa Maria Community Services’ board because I wanted to give back to a city that has given so much back to me. A place like Santa Maria is so vital in making sure that all communities of this city are given the opportunity to thrive,” he said.

Guillermo Villa, Santa Maria Board Chair, stated, “We are very excited to welcome a new slate of board members to Santa Maria Community Services. Each new member brings with them a unique set of experiences and skills that is invaluable to the board. We are at a pivotal time in Santa Maria’s history, celebrating 125 years of helping people help themselves. We look forward to working with our new board members as they help us shape the future of this amazing organization.”

Board Secretary, Christopher Owens, has been selected to serve as Vice Chair and board member, Steven Acosta, will now serve as Secretary of the Board of Directors. In addition, long-time board members, Tina Baumann, Julieta Simms and Luther Smith have completed their service on Santa Maria’s Board of Directors.

“We’d also like to share a big thank you to Tina, Julieta, and Luther for their time and dedication to Santa Maria. Collectively, Tina, Julieta and Luther have well over 25 years of service to Santa Maria and we are so grateful for their service to the Price Hill community,” said Guillermo.

Thank You to our 2022 Sponsor!

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