The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Taylor Gruenwald called the Evans Scholars House on East 16th Avenue home throughout her four years at Ohio State.

Photo by Jo McCulty

Embracing community

This 2016 graduate brings an open heart and optimistic outlook to her every destination.

For Taylor Gruenwald ’16, “Love where you live” isn’t just an inspirational mantra — it’s a way of life.

Gruenwald enjoyed growing up in St. Bernard, a charming one-square-mile village surrounded by Cincinnati on three sides, but she always wanted to venture elsewhere for college. As a teenager, she forged a path to Ohio State through the Evans Scholarship, a full tuition and housing scholarship for high-achieving golf caddies.

With the scholarship came the opportunity to live in the Evans Scholars House on East 16th Avenue throughout her time at Ohio State. Living in close proximity to people from diverse backgrounds, skill sets and areas of study, she fully embraced the house mission to build a strong group environment through an appreciation for individual differences.

“By living in the Evans House, I formed close friendships with people I might not have interacted with otherwise,” she says. “It was such a valuable learning experience to bring all these different people together.”

As an Evans Scholar, Gruenwald volunteered alongside fellow residents for community projects, including street cleanup and caddying at local golf tournaments. Twice a year, they hopped on a charter bus to Chicago to attend a golf outing and banquet with chapters from around the country. “Getting to know Evans Scholars from everywhere was one of the major highlights of my time at Ohio State,” she says.

After graduation, Gruenwald relied on the skills she developed in her city and regional planning major to build community back in Greater Cincinnati. While she never expected to return to St. Bernard, she landed a job after graduation at The Port, an economic development agency geared toward revitalizing neighborhoods in Hamilton County. Armed with practical planning experience from her Ohio State classes, she worked to balance new development with community preservation.

These days, Gruenwald spends most of her time working toward more dense, walkable communities as a developer at an integrated property development, construction and management company called The Model Group. Outside of work, she volunteers with the St. Bernard Community Improvement Corporation (CIC). The nonprofit serves as the village's designated economic development agency and acquires and repositions blighted land and buildings to promote healthy development.

In addition to large-scale development, she’s also passionate about home renovation, and she’s spent the past year breathing new life into the duplex in St. Bernard where she lived for most of her childhood. With the help of an army of friends and family, she transformed the duplex that’s been in her family for three generations. Chronicling that odyssey led to a whole new community — on TikTok, where she has built a following of 480,000 people who value her expertise and common-sense advice.

Whether she is advising the St. Bernard CIC on a local development project or finishing renovations on her duplex in preparation for future tenants, Gruenwald draws inspiration from the potential she sees all around her. “I plan to keep contributing to revitalization efforts however I can,” she says. “Now that I’ve experienced how rewarding it is to engage a community and cast a vision for the future, I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.”

Applying inspiration

Taylor Gruenwald documented a home renovation on TikTok. Learn how she engaged her massive following.

About the author

Portrait of author

Ashley Mosteller Rabinovitch ’15 MPA

Ashley Mosteller Rabinovitch ’15 MPA is a brand journalist who specializes in higher education, entrepreneurship and health care. She lives in Columbus.