News & Event
CINCINNATI (May 4, 2016) — Partnering with donors fuels our mission and ability to build a more prosperous and vibrant region where all can thrive. And helping you invest your charitable dollars in the areas about which you care most is the engine of our work.
Last spring, we introduced co-investment as an opportunity for you and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation to make grants together that fully align with your charitable interests. Many donors have joined us in this effort, combining their grantmaking with ours, and the results are meaningful investments in our community.
One way in which we worked together to address a regional challenge: In the wake of last fall’s abrupt closing of Senior Services of Northern Kentucky, GCF and a donor family responded with a combined grant for the Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD), which had been quick to step in and provide some of the urgent services for seniors. Because of this GCF/donor partnership, the NKADD received critical funding for an important and unforeseen situation.
In 2017, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, together with its generous donors, made the single largest investment in its history: $1.8 million to partner with the Greenlight Fund to bring the Family Independence Initiative (FII) to Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The commitment is a reflection of GCF’s new focus on building a more equitable community and connecting people with purpose. GCF believes in the innovative FII model because it trusts and empowers families to determine their goals to move themselves out of poverty, individually and collectively through cohort groups. Cincinnati is the eighth U.S. city to participate in the FII program. Its two-year, data-driven process, backed by technology that tracks results, produces significant — even life-changing — outcomes.
A year after FII’s launching here, GCF’s deep, concentrated stake is paying powerful financial and social dividends. To date, more than 179 families — from Middletown to Alexandria, and Northgate to Bethel — have enrolled in FII, exceeding the program’s first-year goal.
FII - Cincinnati families are reporting that during the first six months of engagement, on average:
In addition to financial progress, the cohort groups harness the value of social capital exchanges — help they give to and receive from friends, family and neighbors through such activities as child care, preparing meals and providing transportation. To date, Cincinnati-FII families have exchanged an estimated $34,000 in such social capital exchanges; that figure increases as their community engagement and relationship building grow.
Marcia Worsham and Carla Belcher, two single mothers enrolled in FII here, have made tremendous strides. “The fire inside of me has been reignited since I have been setting my goals in my monthly journal,” said Marcia. Completing those goals — including paying off debt, building emergency savings, enrolling her two children in gymnastics and obtaining a life insurance policy — has been empowering. “That just makes you want to move on to the next goal and continue to chip away at the things that seemed like mountains before.”
Carla, an artist, was inspired by her participation at the PolicyLink Equity Summit in Chicago, especially its Mobilizing Arts and Culture in the Equity Movement workshop. “I had always wanted to start my own business, not just to sell my work but to spark social change in North College Hill,” she said. “Bouncing ideas off of other workshop attendees taught me that equity can begin with subtle changes. I was inspired to go home and make my dream a reality.”
GCF’s initial investment accelerated the original commitment from 200 to 500 families. FII Cincinnati's new goal, thanks to GCF's substantial commitment along with its generous donors, is to partner with 1,000 families over four years.
Here are ways to join GCF in advancing the transformative success of FII-Cincinnati:
As we wrap up 2019, we look back at our very impactful year of moving forward on many fronts! As your community foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is grateful for the support of and partnerships with our donors, nonprofit partners and community stakeholders to bring about a more equitable future for everyone in our region.