Karen Kerkhoff Gromada

Karen Kerkhoff Gromada ~ Chairperson

Karen holds a BSN and MSN from the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and is certified as an IBCLC by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, Inc.

An active member of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA),  she served as association president in the mid-1990s and was named Fellow of ILCA (FILCA) in July 2008.She is the author of Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding and Caring for Twins or More as well as numerous articles and chapters for professional and lay publications.

Karen is Brandon’s mother and that of four other grown children, and she enjoys watching her “babies” parent her grandchildren. 

Head & Neck Cancer Ribbon
Head & Neck Cancer Ribbon

About the Foundation

The Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation was launched June 3, 2012 by Dr. Joseph & Karen Gromada, the day after their oldest son Brandon died of an aggressive “poorly differentiated squamous cell cancer” (SCC).

The goal of the Foundation is to generate research funds for the development of innovative and more effective treatments, which lead to cures for head and neck cancers - most of which are some type of squamous cell carcinoma. 

The Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Joseph (Joe) M. Gromada, MD

Joseph (Joe) M. Gromada, MD, FACOG ~ Vice-Chair

He is a retired obstetrician and gynecologist, who practiced for more than 20 years and delivered more than 8000 babies in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky.

A native of Youngstown, Ohio, he came to Cincinnati to attend and play basketball at Xavier University during the late 60s to early 70s. He then attended the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, graduating in 1975, followed by a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Cincinnati’s Bethesda Hospital, now part of TriHealth.

In addition to being active on local tennis courts, he currently volunteers at Cincinnati’s Pregnancy Center East and the Good Samaritan Free Health Center.

Dr. Joe is Brandon’s father and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.


The Foundation envisions a day in the near future when effective cures are readily available for head and neck cancers, and those cures result in no or very mild side effects. 

Elizabeth M. Gromada

Elizabeth M. Gromada ~ Treasurer

She has been teaching economics and history at Ursuline Academy (UA) in Blue Ash, OH for six years. Previously, she worked for Cincinnati Public Schools and various Archdiocesan high schools as a substitute teacher. Prior to her career in education, she was employed by Johnson & Johnson as a field associate.

Elizabeth holds a BA in International Affairs (Economics Concentration) from the George Washington University and a MEd in Secondary Education from Xavier University. She is also on the Board of Clifton Meadows Swim and Tennis Club as the chair of the membership committee. 

Elizabeth is Brandon’s sister and lives in the Clifton area of Cincinnati.


The mission of the Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation is to increase public awareness of head and neck cancers and raise funds for research seeking cures for these types of cancer.

Christina Keuper Gromada

Christina Keuper Gromada ~ Secretary

She has worked for GE Aviation since 1998 in various roles from Design Engineer to Marketing Black Belt. She currently works at the West Chester, OH office as a Services Program Manager.

She holds two degrees in mechanical engineering, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Science from the University of Cincinnati.

Christina is member of Pastoral Council at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Norwood, OH, and has been a member of the St. Joseph Drama Club, Cold Spring, KY since 2001.

Christina was Brandon’s wife and she resides in the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati with their daughter, Morgan.

Foundation Goals

The goals of the Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation are to:

  1. Raise funds for innovative research that will find a cure for such cancers, particularly poorly differentiated squamous cell (SCC), which is the type that affected Brandon
  2. Increase awareness of head and neck cancers.

The Foundation funds innovative research that will add to the understanding of and treatment/cure for head and neck cancers, particularly that of “poorly differentiated squamous cell cancer,” which is the type that affected Brandon.

Those involved with the Foundation will celebrate when the need for this organization no longer exists and effective cures become available. Then no other families will have to deal with the pain of such a loss, and the Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation can dissolve. Job done.

Carolyn Gromada Durstock

Carolyn Gromada Durstock ~ Director

She works for Post Consumer Brands as a Category Manager for their Breakfast brands, calling on Kroger. 

 She graduated from Indiana University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Apparel Merchandising with a minor in Business. 

 Carolyn is Brandon’s sister and lives in the Turpin Hills area of Cincinnati with her husband, Kris and kids Grant and Gwen.    

The Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation


Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this Investment Policy Statement (IPS) is to provide guidelines and a general framework to be utilized by our advisor(s) to effectively, allocate, supervise, monitor, and evaluate the investment assets of The Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation (BCGF).  

This IPS does not constitute a contract. It is intended solely as a summary of investment philosophy to provide guidance for the management of the BCGF’s portfolio.  The hiring and retention of any investment advisor requires an additional and separate agreement/contract which shall be in accordance with the policies and requirements in this IPS.

Recognition of Fiduciary Responsibility

The BCGF recognizes the importance of sound fiduciary practices in both the choice of an investment adviser and in our monitoring of the adviser’s practices. 

The BCGF recognizes the following Uniform Standards of Care:

  1. Know standards, laws and pertinent trust provisions.
  2. Diversify assets to specific risk/return profile for the funds.
  3. Prepare a detailed, written investment policy statement.
  4. Use “prudent experts” and document due diligence.
  5. Control and account for all investment related expenses.
  6. Monitor the activities of “prudent experts”.
  7. Avoid all conflicts of interest and prohibited transactions.

Our investment advisers must also demonstrate a high degree of their own fiduciary responsibility and adhere to prudent choices of investment products and processes.  They must acknowledge and adhere to the above Uniform Standards of Care.

Investment Policy Statement

The BCGF and its Finance Committee take seriously the stewardship and responsibility over its funds.  It recognizes that all dues and assets reflect an implicit trust in the BCGF’s ability to invest these resources and to use these funds wisely.  The Finance Committee will work with its investment adviser to set policy, establish performance benchmarks and monitor the performance of the BCGF’s portfolio against these policies and benchmarks.

The BCGF’s investment philosophy reflects the following fiscal objectives:

Primary Objective:  Preservation of purchasing power

Asset growth, exclusive of contributions and withdrawals, should exceed the rate of inflation in order to preserve the purchasing power of the Foundation’s assets.

Secondary Objective:  Growth of capital

Asset growth, exclusive of contributions and withdrawals, should provide a rate of return competitive with a balanced portfolio.

These objectives should be achieved by utilizing a strategy of equities, fixed income and cash equivalents in a mix that is conducive to participation in a rising market while allowing adequate protection in a downward market. 

The investment funds of the BCGF are segregated into levels of investment as shown below:

  1. Current Operating Funds / Short Term Reserves: Defined as the amount needed to fund current budgeted obligations. These funds are not included in the overall portfolio allocations percentages.
  2. Endowment and Donor Advised Funds: Defined as funds set aside as the corpus of BCGF’s portfolios.  These funds are available for investment under the direction of the Board of Trustees of the BCGF. 

It is expected that the past year’s contributions be used to fund the next year’s current expenses; however, our portfolio must have a reasonable level of income producing assets to also give liquidity in addition to long-term growth of capital.  The minimal level of overall growth expected would be 5% over the Consumer Price Index – Urban. 

Investment Strategies 

Using the investment instruments outlined below, the following investment guidelines should be followed for each category of funds.

  1. 1.     Current Operating Funds

 0% to 100% Cash and Equivalents or anticipated income from income producing assets

Cash is defined as the BCGF’s checking accounts and money market funds at financial institutions chosen by the Board of Trustees.  These checking accounts and money market funds should be used for current operating funds.  These accounts are only typically insured for $100,000 and the balance in these accounts should not exceed that amount. In the event that the donations and contributions in a current year do not cover the operating expenses, anticipated income from income producing assets will be used as part of our current operating funds.

  1. 2.     Investment Portfolios

Category I         15%  Minimum to 25% Maximum

Acceptable investments within this category include: CDs, US Treasuries, interest bearing checking accounts, short to intermediate term bond funds and liquid money market accounts. The aim of this category of the portfolio above all else is to protect the principal. 

Category II        50% Minimum to 65% Maximum

Acceptable investments within this category include income producing stocks, stock funds, balanced funds, bonds, international stocks and international bonds within a fund.

The aim of this category is to provide current income along with the possibility of long-term growth of capital.  It is understood that the value of this portion of the portfolio will fluctuate and will consequently involve risk.

The resources allocated to this category can be invested with a professional money manager either directly or via a mutual fund.  At the point of investment, the individual asset position will be associated with a closely correlated index and monitored relative to its performance on an ongoing basis with its peer group index.  If an individual asset in this category underperforms its benchmark by 10% or more in any rolling 12 months, it will be considered as a warning for replacement, unless additional analysis is presented. 

Category III       10%  Minimum to 40% Maximum

Acceptable investments within this category include non-income producing stocks, stock funds.  This category can include large capitalization, mid-capitalization, small capitalization and international stocks with the portfolio.  The category can include assets which are income producing.  The aim of this category is long-term growth of capital with no consideration given to current income.  This category is the most aggressive component of the portfolio and will experience more volatility and possibility of capital losses than the other categories. 

The resources allocated to this category can be invested with a professional money manager either directly or via a mutual fund.  At the point of investment, the individual asset position will be associated with a closely correlated index and monitored relative to its performance on an ongoing basis with its peer group index.  If an individual asset in this category underperforms its benchmark by 10% or more in any rolling 12 months, it will be considered as a warning for replacement, unless additional analysis is presented.

Investment Funds and Manager Selection

The investment funds and managers selected shall have demonstrated the ability to provide above average returns when measured against their peers and their benchmarks over time. It is the responsibility of the investment advisor to provide ongoing review and analysis of the managers and funds within the investment account. 

An investment may be replaced or repositioned for any of the following reasons:

  1. Departure of one or more of the firm’s key investment personnel.
  2. Deviation from the firm’s or fund’s stated investment discipline.
  3. Poor investment performance over a “reasonable” period of time (two years as a minimum, with three years a more appropriate period under normal circumstances).
  4. Change of client’s objectives, which become incompatible with the particular investment. 
  5. A better alternative not previously available becomes available.
  6. The investment category is not within the stated parameters of this IPS.

Investment Adviser Restrictions

  1. There shall be no more than 20% invested in any one industry sector.
  2. The market value of any one investment position shall not exceed 15% of the total portfolio, with the exception of securities issued by the U.S. Government and its agencies or investment in mutual funds.
  3. There shall be no short selling, securities lending, financial future, margins, options, or other specialized investments.
  4. There shall be no investments in non-marketable securities, commodities, or speculative real estate.
  5. There shall be no investments in private placements or letter stock, with the exception of those given as gifts. If received as a gift, said investments will be sold at the earliest practical time and will not be held as part of the long term investment strategy.
  6. If any major management or personnel changes occur with the investment adviser’s firm, the Finance committee is to be immediately notified.

Investment Adviser Review Process

  1. The Finance Committee, Board of Trustees and other interested and authorized persons can/will monitor investments based on the monthly consolidated statement of positions provided by the investment adviser and miscellaneous specific reports and information prepared by the advisor from public sources.
  2. Advisor will be available for communication as requested and will provide at least quarterly a written performance analysis including current status, future expectations, analysis of performance and allocation of investments, and performance comparison to peer groups.
  3. Verbal report to the Finance Committee chair to provide update and analysis is encouraged at any time.
  4. The advisor will also meet in person with the BCGF’s Finance Committee and/or Board as deemed necessary, but at least once per year, in November, to review performance, perspective and analysis of the portfolio, including peer group comparisons.
  5. Failure to follow the BCGF Investment Policy Statement will be grounds for removal.  Written notification from the Finance Committee will be sent to the investment advisor establishing the violation with a specific time frame of no longer than 3 months from the date of the notification to comply with the policy.  Non-conformance will result in termination.
  6. Failure to consistently meet investment benchmarks, as established within a reconciled performance monitor, over an extended period of time may result in the investment advisor being placed on “watch” and may lead to termination.  Specifically, if portfolio assets trail their respective index by 200 basis points over 2 years and/or portfolio assets are in the 50 percentile ranking or below of a comparable peer group, then the investment adviser is immediately placed on “watch” for not doing due diligence over the portfolio management.
  7. Substantive changes in an investment adviser’s philosophy, process, people or fees may result in the investment adviser being placed on “watch” and may result in termination.
  8. For the purposes of this IPA “Watch” is defined as 6 months of probation. At the conclusion of the “Watch Period” the BCGF’s Investment Committee will vote on re-instatement or termination.

Policy Review

 It shall be the responsibility of the Finance Committee to review this policy periodically but not less frequently than annually. Any modifications shall be approved by the Board of Directors of the BCGF and reviewed with the investment adviser in a timely manner.It is understood, however that it is generally not in the best interest of BCGF to react to short-term events that contradict the longer term policy adopted in this policy.

Adopted by the BCGF on February 3, 2014

James (Jim) J. McGraw, Jr., Esq.

James (Jim) J. McGraw, Jr., Esq. ~ Director

He is a  Corporate Partner at Keating Muething & Klekamp, and he is President and Chief Executive Officer of KMK Consulting Company, LLC. His background is centered in business development, public utilities, insurance and non-profit organizations. Jim has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2013. He holds a Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ of AV Preeminent®, “highest professional excellence,” by his peers.

He is a Board member of several healthcare not-for-profits. In 2003 he was honored with the Notre Dame Distinguished Alumni Award.

A long-time friend of the Gromadas, his children grew up with Brandon in the Mt. Lookout neighborhood of Cincinnati, OH.   

Michael (Mike) Pardo

Michael (Mike) Pardo ~ Director

He has been a Cincinnati resident since 2001 and is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the Phoenix Restaurant Group, which operates The Phoenix, The National Exemplar and The Golden Lamb.  He has spent the past 20 years working in the restaurant and hospitality industry as an operator, manager and consultant.  

He became a long-time friend with Brandon C. Gromada while both worked for the J. Alexander's Restaurant Corporation. Mike says, "It was our friendship outside of work that was so memorable.  I will miss his sense of adventure, his humor, and his great talent as a chef." 



Terri is a seasoned veteran in the loyalty marketing industry with over 30 years of experience. She has developed creative, customer-focused, data-driven marketing solutions for clients in verticals including retail, financial services, travel and hospitality and B2B. 

Prior to Kobie, Terri was a founding member of loyalty consultancy Marketing Strategists LLC. She has also served as lead strategic consultant for COLLOQUY’s loyalty practice assisting brands like The Home Depot, Eddie Bauer, Chase, MGM Mirage, Best Buy and Cintas among many others.  Terri earned her MBA from The University of Cincinnati with a specialization in Research and Quantitative Analysis. She often shares her perspective and insights through educational programs, publications, seminars and white papers.

Peter J. Gaughan, III, AIF

Peter J. Gaughan, III, AIF®

Peter Gaughan has been a Financial Advisor for more than 30 years and currently holds the position of First Vice President, Wealth Management and is an Investment Management Consultant with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio where he concentrates on wealth management for individuals, businesses and professionals, and is also a consultant for 401 (k) plans, foundations and endowments.

Mr. Gaughan has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (or AIF®) professional designation from Fiduciary360.  A friend and advisor of the Gromada family, Peter has served a variety of non-profit and club organizations, including the Brandon C. Gromada Head & Neck Cancer Foundation.

Brandon C. Gromada

About Brandon C. Gromada

Brandon C. Gromada was an “ordinary” guy, but his was an extraordinary ordinariness. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, he graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1992. The death of one his best friends during his sophomore year of high school proved to be a pivotal experience for Brandon.

He learned that life is short, and he made a purposeful decision in the summer of 1990 to live his life to the fullest. And that he did! The smallish, quiet athlete with a visual perception learning disability decided he’d become more outgoing and unafraid to try new experiences, which included sky diving, much to his mother’s horror.  

Brandon was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) March 1, 2010 after removal of nasal polyps from his right maxillary sinus. Four months later it was obvious that this  “poorly differentiated” SCC had spread to other areas of his body. As with everything Brandon did in life, he approached this cancer and its related treatments with humor and optimism for the future, and without complaint.  Brandon never let “cancer” define him. 

Throughout treatments, which included a surgery, weeks of daily radiation and ongoing chemotherapy – all of which resulted in transient to lasting, plus mild to significant side effects – Brandon continued to work until a few weeks before his death; to engage in a wide variety of physical activities that included running, bicycling, kayaking, skiing or snowboarding, camping, rock climbing, spelunking, and scuba diving; and to share his gift for gourmet cooking and his enthusiasm for learning about wine.

Brandon’s exuberance before and after the cancer diagnosis was always an expression of his love for life and the people in it, especially the “special” people in his life – his wife Christina, their baby daughter Morgan, his parents and four siblings, and many friends. 

Brandon grew up in the Oakley, Anderson Township and Mt. Lookout areas of greater Cincinnati. He graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1992 and earned a BA in Communications and Electronic Media in 1997 from Xavier University. (He also had attended St. Louis University for two years prior to transferring to XU.)

From a job as a studio manager for Instant Replay in the late 1990s, Brandon moved into restaurant work and enjoyed positions both in service and in management for such Cincinnati establishments as The National Exemplar, Carlo & Johnny Steakhouse, J. Alexander’s and Trio Bistro Restaurant.  He combined his knowledge of food service with the food industry in positions for the Sara Lee Corporation and finally with Blue Grass Quality Meats, where he worked until his health forced him to take a leave of absence a few weeks before his death.



Carey is a nonprofit consultant with almost 20 years experience in the field, with expertise in development, marketing, strategy, communications, grant writing, media, and PR. She currently works as Director of Advancement for Magnified Giving in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has previously worked in Director roles for United Way, Cristo Rey Schools, and Mayfield Clinic as well as consultant roles in education and healthcare in New Haven, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Charlotte.

Carey grew up with Brandon and his siblings, and is a longtime friend of the Gromadas. She lives in Montgomery with her husband Zak and their twins.