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Mike shares GCF’s interest in a revitalized urban core, where entrepreneurs with bright ideas bring jobs to the region.
“There is a real synergy of what’s going on downtown and the entrepreneurship there,” Mike said. “They feed off each other.”
CincyTech is one of the organizations that is making this synergy happen. A seed-stage fund that invests in and provides management assistance to software and life science companies, CincyTech’s portfolio companies have created 833 jobs with a $79,000 average salary. The majority of these jobs are in our region.
GCF supports job creation and the work of CincyTech through Impact Investing and grants. Using charitable dollars, GCF and its donors invest in projects that can generate both social and financial returns. When principal and earnings are returned to donor advised funds, the resources can be reinvested in other Impact Investments or grants.
For Mike, Impact Investing was an opportunity to assist CincyTech through his donor advised fund.
“Donate once, give twice,” he said. “That’s the way I look at it. Not only do I get a return on my investment, I get to make an impact on the community.” GCF and its donors invested $500,000 in CincyTech’s Funds II, III, and IV. Fund IV is projected to create at least 600 jobs in Southwest Ohio, each earning about $80,000 a year.
“After the economic downturn, we needed not just to place people in jobs but to help create jobs here in Cincinnati,” said Robert Killins, Jr., program director of Vibrant Places. “We want to grow our local economy. Through CincyTech, we are investing in local businesses, investing in local jobs.
"The secondary return is the mindset change that young individuals view Cincinnati as a place for entrepreneurs,” he added. “They can get capital and mentorship through CincyTech to grow their businesses locally.”
“The work that we do and the redevelopment of the neighborhoods, it attracts people not only to the new companies, but the established ones like P&G,” said Bob Coy, president/CEO of CincyTech. “Everyone benefits.”
That’s an impressive return on an investment.
To date, $11.8 million has been invested in community projects and funds through Impact Investing by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and its donors. Mike Collette’s CincyTech investment was part of Generous Together.
Published in the 2015 Annual Report to the Community.
CINCINNATI (June 2, 2016) —The Greater Cincinnati Foundation was one of eight organizations examined to get an understanding of how impact donor advised funds, an emerging social finance instrument in the philanthropic sector, work in North America in a joint paper released by Social Venture ConneXion (SVX) and Tides Canada.
“It is a well-documented fact amongst those in the social change and philanthropic sectors that, in order to tackle our most pressing social and environmental challenges, we must mobilize capital in both its investment and philanthropic forms," the authors write in the report, "Impact DAFs" A Scan" [PDF]. "This has lead to an explosion of foundations re-aligning their investment portfolios to meet their mission aims. Investment portfolios in this context largely consist of endowment funds, as many private foundations across Canada and the US have actively transformed their investments into mission-supporting vehicles.”
Learn more about Impact Investing at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.
This report was written by Marie Ang, Adam Spence, and Todd Jaques and published April 2016. The case study on The Greater Cincinnati Foundation begins on page 10.
Read the full report, “Impact Donor Advised Funds: A Scan” [PDF]
One of the nation’s leading community foundations, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation helps people make the most of their giving to build a better community. We believe in the power of philanthropy to change the lives of people and communities. As a community foundation, GCF creates a prosperous Greater Cincinnati by investing in thriving people and vibrant places. An effective steward of the community’s charitable resources since 1963, the Foundation inspires philanthropy in eight counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. At the end of 2015, GCF had net assets of $533 million.
CINCINNATI (April 18, 2016) — The Greater Cincinnati Foundation uses impact investing to tie the discipline of the market with the social mission of philanthropy. These investments use charitable assets to invest in projects that can generate revenue as well as direct community benefits.
Impact investments by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and its donors include CincyTech, the largest seed investor in the region.
“After the economic downturn, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and its donors realized we needed not just to place people in jobs, but to create jobs here in Cincinnati,” said Robert Killins Jr., director of Vibrant Places. “We want to grow our local economy. Through CincyTech, we are investing in local businesses, and investing in local jobs.”
Find out about impact investing at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” - Jane Goodall
The symposium’s keynote speaker, Jean Case, reported a comment she heard recently from a college student: “Why would you just settle for a financial return?” Case, Chairman of National Geographic Society, founder/CEO of the Case Foundation and a former AOL executive, sees significant societal and cultural shifts around unleashing capitalism — and the power of entrepreneurial-based strategies — as a force for good. In her book, "Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose", those strategies include: make a big bet; be bold, take risks; make failure matter; reach beyond your bubble; and let urgency conquer fear.
This personal relationship with clients is indicative of HOC’s work; it supports neighborhoods in 20 counties in Ohio and Indiana by promoting and maintaining homeownership.
Services include education about saving to buy a home, the purchasing process, and home maintenance. HOC works with clients to prevent foreclosure, so when a secondary lender closed during the financial crisis, there was concern about homeowners like Doris.
“We provide intervention instead of foreclosure and this was the beginning of the foreclosure crisis,” HOC’s Executive Director Rick Williams said. “We were extremely concerned about these homeowners being in the hands of this large lender because we knew this one was very foreclosure-happy.”
Enter The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) and impact investing, a tool that recycles charitable dollars.
Impact investing uses charitable assets to invest in projects that can generate financial and social returns. The Foundation and its donors have invested $10.5 million to date on projects that create jobs, build homeless shelters, provide energy-efficient homes, build affordable housing, and prevent foreclosure.
As a leader in the field, Cincinnati’s impact investing expertise is being recognized around the country.
An impact investment in HOC allowed the nonprofit organization to buy 90 percent of the above-mentioned loans, enabling homeowners like Doris to keep paying their mortgages but having access to help if needed.
Roger Schorr, a long-time friend of GCF, was the first donor to make an investment using his donor advised fund.
“It just seemed a very effective way to leverage our assets,” he explained. “It was a way of making something happen without a lot required. Our fund can be paid back and do it again.”
“It’s not every day that there is access to this kind of funding, this fast, for this purpose,” Rick said. “We probably could have gone to a bank partner but the terms would not be what we enjoyed with GCF. The bank would have seen it as a way to make money, not as a way for us to help these homeowners and sustain our organization.”
Thanks to HOC, donors, and GCF working together, the values of homes like Doris’ are protected, positively affecting homeowners and neighborhoods.
That’s called making an impact.
The first time she enrolled in college, she was 19 years old and excited to major in pre-med. But as the oldest of five children, she had to become the family breadwinner when her father lost his job. She quit school and went to work full-time.
“I cried when I told the professor I’d have to leave,” the mother of two said. “I pretty much knew what life was like without an education.”
Peg enrolled in school again in the early 90s but because of her second child’s severe health problems, she had to drop out again.
“There was always this desire to go back to school,” Peg said. “But my daughter would be in the emergency room all night and I’d have to go to class the next day.”
When Peg returned to work in 2002, she decided to take a class through the Urban Learning Center (ULC) in Northern Kentucky.
The ULC helps low-income individuals start taking college classes. A student can take up to 10 different courses at the ULC for only $10 a course. There are no book costs, free child care is offered and a small and supportive staff is available to help students manage their postsecondary experience.
Peg enjoyed the class so much she decided to give her dream – a degree – one last chance. Funding was still an issue and ULC staff encouraged her to apply to The Cincinnati Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship Fund (CBPW) of GCF.
Peg was reluctant. “I just didn’t think I’d be worthy – when you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to believe others will,” she said. “I just did it more or less to say, ‘See, I told you I wouldn’t get it!’”
The CBPW Scholarship Fund was created to support women just like Peg, fund advisor Amy McPike said. The fund history has its roots in women helping women.
As far back as the early 1900s, the CBPW organization existed to “give women a leg up” by training them in work force ethics and business etiquette.
By the late 1990s, CBPW’s membership was dwindling. Amy and others decided to use the organization’s endowment as a way to continue to honor its history of benefiting women.
“Our point in creating the scholarship was to really help women who needed to be educated to get a job and support their families,” Amy said. “We wanted it to be CBPW’s legacy. We wanted to educate women for the work force.”
“Many adults returning to school take it slow and go part-time while maintaining work and household responsibilities,” said Mallis Schneider Graves, ULC Outreach Specialist. “So, most of the time financial aid only covers a portion of their expenses.
The CBPW’s Scholarship Fund has helped many ULC adult students supplement their education expenses, so that they can continue striving to better their lives for themselves and their families.”
Peg did get the CBPW scholarship, not once, but twice. She said it not only gave her finances a boost, but her confidence as well.
“To me it was amazing,” she said. “I can remember meeting the ladies and thinking it’s so kind of you to look at me and see an investment. Because that’s what they are doing – they are investing in you. You don’t invest in a stock that’s worthless.”
Obviously, Peg is far from worthless. She not only received her diploma 27 years after she first started college, she became an employee at Procter & Gamble Co. and is working on her master’s degree at Xavier University. She also tutors female students at the ULC. “
I tell the women, I believe in you because someone believed in me,” she said. Peg shares that when she walked up to get her diploma at Northern Kentucky University, she heard someone yell, “Way to go Peg!”
“I looked and it was one of my professors from the second time I was at college, all those years ago.” she said. “He remembered me.”
Way to go Peg!
The Cincinnati Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship Fund of GCF was established in 1999. It is a part of The Women’s Fund Family of Funds.
Originally published in the 2006 Annual Report to the Community
A place to call home. It’s a simple dream, but one that for all too many of our neighbors is a financial hardship. Affordable housing is a critical issue in our region, and Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is committed to addressing it as we move into 2019 and beyond.
“Affordable” is defined as not paying more than 30 percent of one’s income for housing.
While median gross rent has increased 46 percent from 2000 to 2014, income has only increased 19 percent during that period. The result is that 30 percent of Hamilton County residents spend 50 to 60 percent of their income on housing, or nearly double the “affordable” range. There is a critical need for 40,000 affordable rental units for households making $14,678 or less, which is 30 percent of Hamilton County’s median income. Read Xavier University’s Community Building Institute report for further information about housing affordability issues in Cincinnati.
GCF is launching a new Affordable Housing Impact Investment Pool (AHIIP) early in 2019 to help bridge that daunting housing gap. We are contributing $1 million to our $5 million goal for this pool, and invite you to invest along with us to amplify its impact.
Details of the investment opportunity:
AHIIP projects will focus on the development of a range of affordable housing options throughout GCF’s eight-county region, encompassing Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Anticipated investments will include affordable rental units, home ownership units and such equity-building initiatives as Dividend Housing and Renter Equity.
GCF is offering you this opportunity to join us in this new venture to expand the imprint of various projects addressing this compelling community issue. We will likely determine the initial investments in the first quarter of 2019.
GCF has been a trusted community partner for 55 years, and we know that access to affordable housing is key to lifting people out of poverty. Housing instability impacts the health, work and education of families, and we believe that addressing this need will help to build a better community for all of us.
To become a partner in this transformative work, please contact your GCF philanthropic advisor.
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