The Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati honored John F. Barrett with the Alice and Harris Weston Apple Award for his leadership, advocacy and service to the community at its annual Apple Award Gala on June 9, 2011.
John F. Barrett’s passion for Cincinnati makes him one of the city’s most determined advocates. His vision for Cincinnati is evident in all he does — from spearheading the planning that has forever changed Cincinnati’s skyline with the city’s tallest skyscraper and crowning jewel, Great American Tower at Queen City Square, to financing significant development of multifamily, low income and senior housing properties within and around the city.
As Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western & Southern Financial Group, a diversified financial services enterprise and a Fortune 500 company with assets owned, managed and under care in excess of $51 billion at year-end 2010, John continuously strives to improve Cincinnati’s built environment while providing for the underserved. Examples include the development of Brackett Village to give low-income residents in Over-the-Rhine safe, affordable, modern housing; the Carthaginian Senior Center in Carthage; The Salvation Army Transitional Housing Center in Over-the-Rhine; and generous funding for the Over-the-Rhine Housing Fund and the Downtown Housing Loan Fund and Minority Business Loan/Mentoring Program.
John’s efforts to serve people from all walks of life complement his desire to preserve Cincinnati’s unique community assets while enhancing the region’s economic vitality. Under his leadership, several properties in Lytle Park have been preserved, most notably the Guilford school building. His latest vision entails revitalizing the Lytle Park neighborhood into a gaslight district with dynamic housing, restaurants, shopping and the preservation of the historic Phelps Building into an all-suites hotel.
Known to work tirelessly in retaining and attracting other businesses and Fortune 500 firms to our city, John serves in a variety of capacities for numerous organizations and non-profits, including the executive committee of 3CDC, Americans for the Arts, Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts, The Cincinnati Art Museum, The Cincinnati Equity Fund, the Cincinnati Business Committee (CBC), Downtown Cincinnati Inc., The Greater Cincinnati Scholarship Association, the Medical Center Fund for the University of Cincinnati, The University of Cincinnati Barrett Cancer Center, The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Community Advisory Board, and the Capital Campaign for The University of Cincinnati Foundation.
Among the first to recognize a physician shortage in Cincinnati, John was instrumental in the launch of Cincinnati MDJobs.com by the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati, an effort that has recruited 169 physicians to area hospitals since 2004. He also led the first statewide tax reform in Ohio in over 75 years as chairman of the Ohio Business Roundtable in 2006, and prior to that, he arranged private financing for the Duke Energy Convention Center on behalf of the CBC.
John’s involvement throughout Cincinnati is indicative of his deep commitment and passion for our city. He believes that the more people work in, live in and visit our city, the stronger our center city will become, serving as the economic base for a vital and growing region.