101 Stories: Dianne Dunkelman

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years. 

Dianne Dunkelman

Nationally-recognized women’s health leader, Dianne Dunkelman, provided seed funding for two projects centered around healthy eating at TCT. Her support helped to launch the TCT WorkShop INSIDE THE PYRAMID (now entitled MY PLATE). This TCT WorkShop instills healthy eating habits with Chef Bon Appetit as he teaches his friend, the rambunctious Chip, the importance of eating right, and humdrum Tofutti the value of creative exercise. The interactive WorkShop, where theater meets nutrition, encourages students to think “outside the box” and consider what’s on their plate. Ms. Dunkelman’s support also provided healthy food options at TCT’s Breakfast with Santa event in 2009. 

Dianne Dunkelman created Clever Crazes for Kids in 2006 after realizing the need to educate kids about improving their health and that of their families. This quickly grew to include not only health, but also STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) academics, ethics, and personal responsibility.  

Clever Crazes for Kids now reaches hundreds of thousands of young scholars and athletes in schools, homes, and after-school programs all across the country, using fun, free, interactive online games to instill in them a lifelong love of learning. 

In Fall 2018, the robust Clever Crazes curriculum grew to include a new literacy initiative, which introduces and improves reading and language arts skills for children in PreK through 8th grade. 

Prior to Clever Crazes for Kids, Ms. Dunkelman established the National Speaking of Women’s Health Foundation in 1996 with a mission to educate women about health, well-being, and personal safety for themselves and their families. The National Women’s Health Foundation has impacted the lives of hundreds of millions of women and their families through conferences, websites, books, television, and other materials. This initiative was picked up by the Cleveland Clinic in 2008, furthering its impact. Dianne continues her involvement by serving as Chief Strategist for Speaking of Women’s Health. 

Ms. Dunkelman has been recognized throughout the country for her women’s health initiatives.  Over the past 15 years, she has received dozens of awards and honors, including the University of Cincinnati Trustee Award, the Business Hall of Fame 2015 Laureate for Junior Achievement, and she was honored as a Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year. 

Ms. Dunkelman remains passionate about the cause of healthy families, including the areas in which they live. Consequently, she serves on community, state, and national organizations as a member of their leadership boards of trustees and as an advisor to many more. 

We had a chance to chat with Ms. Dunkelman about TCT.  

“I have known Jack and Susie Louiso for more than forty years. They are talented, creative, considerate, and FUN! When I learned that they were taking on the leadership of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati I knew they would infuse their creative style and I was happy for everyone.” 

She continues: “Susie brought her signature asset of keeping in touch with the donors, keeping the calendars accurate, and especially keeping the budget in line! Jack brought not only his famous ability to direct young performers, but also his unique talent of bringing out and showcasing talents of groups of children who had no experience and making them performers! He showed them the power of, as my son says, “Honest Efforts=Honest Results.” This is a transferable skill that these young students can take with them in everything they do. For the kids, by participating personally in the arts, it imbues in them the ability to have critical thinking whether it is in literature, STEM, or continuing in the arts!” 

“I have great admiration, appreciation, and love for what they have done for our region. I know that Roderick Justice and the team are bringing their own gifts to The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati!” 

Would you honor Dianne Dunkelman with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?