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|Jennie Dennison-Budak '98|
Jennie graduated from the Weekend College in 1998. She was an extraordinary student, showing special gifts in writing, and placing in the Best of Ohio Writers contest, sponsored by Ohio Writer Magazine, by the time of her graduation. Currently Jennie is a member of the Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature Advisory Council.
She comes from a family long distinguished for its support of education, health services, philanthropy and public service. Her mother, Margaret G. Kroehle Dennison, served as a post-World War II relief worker in Europe, served in the Ohio Legislature, served as a Trumbull County Commissioner, and owned and published the Austintown Leader newspaper. Jennie's maternal grandparents created the Ralph and Marion G. Kroehle Foundation, which through its generous support of the Hiram writing program, has provided hundreds of Hiram students with exceptional advantages and opportunities since 2000, and helps to sponsor the Kroehle Creative Writing Nonfiction Contest, an annual competition for Hiram writing students.
Jennie also vigorously continues her family's legacy in social involvement as director of the Mission of Interfaith Home Maintenance in Youngstown, an organization that began as an ecumenical volunteer agency in 1974 helping low-income families who could not afford essential repairs to their homes. By 1986, Interfaith had become a United Way agency with a staff of fourteen people. A talented fundraiser, administrator, and advocate for Youngstown's residents, Jennie has overseen and helped raise money for the repair of plumbing, roofing, carpentry, painting, plastering, and heating in thousands of homes since her arrival. Interfaith works mainly with the elderly and the disabled and improves the neighborhoods in the greater Youngstown area in a very real way. She has dedicated her life to the maintenance of sanitary and safe living conditions for people who have neither the physical nor financial resources to do this.