History and Information

Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families (SELF) helps hard-working individuals find a path to live their dreams and better support their families in the future.

SELF’s Mission:  to enhance the quality of life for Butler County residents by impacting the causes of poverty and empowering individuals to achieve, sustain and advocate self-sufficiency. 

SELF offers:

  • Personal development programs that help people learn new skills, find a job, budget and save more money or even start a small business.
  • Home and utility assistance for low-income people in Butler County, Ohio


Supports to Encourage Low-income Families, Inc. (SELF) is a private nonprofit, 501(c)(3) and the state-designated community action agency for Butler County, Ohio.

SELF was established in 1995 with key leadership from the late Janet Clemmons, Butler County Commissioner, and was designated by the Ohio Department of Development on April 1, 1996. Mrs. Clemmons’ vision was to create a community action agency that would serve all of Butler County and would be accountable both programmatically and fiscally. The agency began client services before the federal welfare reform changes and before other nonprofits began emphasizing self-sufficiency.


Clients have called SELF “a bridge” to self-sufficiency and “an anchor in a storm.” SELF strives to uphold the original mission of community action as established in President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” in the mid-60s – “a hand-up not a hand-out.” SELF emphasizes employment and education and works to lessen the barriers for low-income families to obtain and maintain self-sufficiency.

In fulfilling its mission, SELF strives to perform the following roles at the highest standards of excellence:

  • To be an advocate for the needs of the community and the development of individual potential.
  • To be a facilitator in linking individual needs to the full network of services available.
  • To be a provider of quality services.
  • To be a trusted and respected partner with individuals and organizations in addressing the needs of the community.

SELF is funded from a mixture of individual and corporate donations; the United Way; city, county, state and federal government grants and contracts; and grants from private foundations and corporations.

The Janet Clemmons/SELF Community Service Award

In honor of its founder, SELF established the Janet Clemmons/SELF Community Service Award in 1997. It is the highest honor SELF provides to outstanding advocates for low-income individuals.

Past Recipients of SELF’s Janet Clemmons Community Service Award

  • 2023: Pamela Benson from Village Food Pantry, Inc. and Tonja Pohlman from Special Olympics of Butler County
  • 2022: Pastor Shaq Mathews from HYPE and Bethany Tompkins from Sew Purpose
  • 2021: Kyle Montano, SLIM
  • 2019: Joey and Micky Mackey, Open Hands Food Pantry
  • 2018: Jeri Lewis, Kingswell; Peter Engelhard Jr., Shared Harvest Foodbank
  • 2017: Mike Johnson, The Interfaith Center, Oxford
  • 2016: Lauren Marsh, Community Meal Center, Hamilton
  • 2015: Steve and Joan Crispin, Princeton Pike Church of God
  • 2014: Jim Lusk, Middletown Police Department
  • 2013: Butch Hubble, Hamilton Community Council
  • 2012: Stephen Bernat, a Hamilton attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Volunteer Lawyers Project
  • 2011: Christine Birhanzl of Trenton and the American Red Cross, Butler County Office
  • 2010: Bill Fugate, SHALOM in Middletown
  • 2009: Bill Teets, Lebanon
  • 2008: Joel Fink, Butler County United Way, Hamilton
  • 2007: Jeanene Cotton, Hamilton
  • 2006: Roy & Pat Ickes, SHALOM, Middletown
  • 2005: Thomas Fritsch, The Maureen L. Fritsch Cancer Assistance Fund
  • 2004: Carla and Robby Rice, Fairfield
  • 2003: Roscoe Riddell, Living Word Church’s Food Pantry
  • 2002: Linda Kimble, Serve City, Hamilton
  • 2001: Bobbie Chapman, Open Door Food Pantry, Hamilton
  • 2000: Robert “Sonny” Hill, Middletown City Council
  • 1999: Iris Abbott, Job Club Coach, Butler County Joint Vocational School
  • 1998: Nancy Caudill, Hope House, Middletown
  • 1997: Janet Clemmons, Butler County Commissioner

For SELF’s full Guidestar Report, please visit: Supports to Encourage Low-income Families

Blue letters spelling out SELF with a multi-colored bridge across the logo

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