PROFILE IN GIVING: Hiler Family Love Fund Builds Bridges
“I’m the fun guy,” said Whit Hiler, executive creative director of CORNETT, a marketing agency based in Lexington. “But Christy is the heart of our family.”
Whit Hiler, well-known for his quirky, unforgettable advertising campaigns like Kentucky Kicks Ass, has been featured in the New York Times and Business Insider, and recently, was recognized in the Adweek Creative 100 List of the most fascinating people in marketing, media and culture.
Christy Hiler, president of CORNETT—and, technically, Whit’s boss—agrees she usually takes the lead when it comes to the family’s charitable activities. “I’m the one who says ‘yes,’” she said. “But I know I’m also saying ‘yes’ for them, too.” The “them” to whom Christy refers are the Hilers’ four children: Ellie, 12; twins Charlie and Georgia, 6; and Boone, 3.
In addition to career and family responsibilities, Christy actively volunteers for numerous nonprofits, including Esperanza Inc., Common Good, and Step By Step. Christy said she knows her nonprofit work impacts her family. In the Hiler household, that means everyone has to pitch in and pick up the slack.
“We all have a different role when it comes to doing good in our communities,” she said. “Some people donate, some serve on boards, some are talented administrators, some provide direct aid. All are necessary. It’s like that in our family, too. Everyone plays a different, but essential, role. We depend on each other.”
Despite their different roles, the Hilers still find time to volunteer as a family. Together, they serve meals at Nathaniel Mission and Room In The Inn, and ring handbells for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. Christy and Whit also participate in mission trips to Costa Rica through Esperanza Inc.
Christy has been especially active in Step By Step, a Lexington nonprofit that offers mentors, support, classes and fellowship to young single moms ages 14 to 22. She served on its board for many years. One of her first tasks for SBS was facilitating discussions among the young women. Christy worried she wouldn’t be effective. “How could I relate to them, or them to me?” she said. “Our lives were so different.” She soon discovered their differences didn’t really matter because “love bridged the gap.”
That understanding inspired the name of the charitable fund the Hilers opened at BGCF: The Hiler Love Fund.
Since establishing their donor advised fund in 2017, the Hilers have made dozens of gifts to causes and charities, including Centenary United Methodist Church, Friends of the Good, Common Good, Step By Step, Esperanza Inc., and the American Cancer Society, to name only a few—and BGCF helps them organize it all.
Christy and Whit agree that given their full, busy lives, they are grateful for BGCF’s role as the giving community’s philanthropic partner.