News & Event
Many people in our region are struggling to make ends meet. Finding an affordable place to live is a challenge for many in our community. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, along with many community organizations are dedicated to building a region where everyone can thrive. On Thursday, May 25, 2017, we gathered several important community leaders in this area for a deep dive into the current situation in our city and how to change our story.
CINCINNATI (May 25, 2017)—Affordable housing is an important topic for the Greater Cincinnati region. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) holds the unique privilege to be at the forefront of working on solutions to pressing issues such as this and partnering with community organizations that are on the ground making an impact in their community. GCF hosted a lunch and learn event where our donors and community partners could hear about new research focusing on the impact of affordable housing and learn what initiatives are being taken to solve the issue.
The expert panel included Liz Blume, Executive Director of Xavier University’s Community Building Institute, Mary Burke Rivers, Executive Director of Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, Kathy Schwab, Executive Director of Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), and Noam Gross-Prinz, Assistant Program Officer at LISC. Each shared key insights and findings that support an overwhelming need to create a more balanced housing situation for Cincinnati and the surrounding region.
View the Facebook video of the panel discussion above.
Download the Affordable Housing presentation [PDF]
Thank you to all of the community experts who spent their time and energy sharing this critical information. Thank you to all those who attended the event and gave their thoughts and insights. GCF is proud to be a part of such a bold community, filled with passion to make where we live a place everyone can thrive.
About The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
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 2016, GCF had net assets of $563 million.
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.
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation invests in a more vibrant and prosperous Greater Cincinnati where everyone can thrive. While GCF hasn’t traditionally been part of the election process, we felt it was necessary to show our support for both Issue 44 for the Cincinnati Public Schools and Preschool Promise and Issue 53 renewal of the Hamilton County Children’s Services Levy, as this election will affect the future of the children in our community.
Whether it is universal, quality preschool for the city or safety nets for children in the county, both these issues strengthen the systems that surround our community’s next generation to ensure their futures are strong.
Our community has revitalized neighborhoods, sparkling modern buildings, new storefronts, amazing restaurants, and a streetcar that moves from our now park-filled riverfront to our ultra-hip urban core.
But we have to embrace our other reality that everyone is not thriving in this wonderful renaissance our community is experiencing.
Our region has the second highest childhood poverty rate in the nation. Unacceptable disparities continue to exist between blacks and whites
(Urban League). An August 2016 research report cites Cincinnati as “one of the least economically mobile cities in the nation,” meaning children born into poverty will likely stay in poverty (Human Impact Partners full report pdf).
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation believes a successful educational career for each child, beginning with quality preschool, can help level the playing field in the long term. We are proud to support collaborative efforts like Success by Six®, Partners for a Competitive Workforce, StrivePartnership and The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation which address these issues.
As the community’s philanthropic partner and the nation’s 35th largest community foundation, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has been investing in quality educational and social services, but we cannot do it alone.
PolicyLink, a highly regarded national research and advocacy institute, shared the economic benefit to our region would be up to $6.3 billion a year if we could close the gap on income disparity.
Both Issue 44 and Issue 53 will create a strong future for our community’s children. With these levies, our community will blossom a true renaissance that benefits all in our community. We encourage you to vote on November 8 and to vote “yes” for both Issue 44 and Issue 53.
Find out more about why The Greater Cincinnati Foundation supports these issues:
Read The Women's Fund's PULSE Briefing on why teachers' wages are critical to quality preschool, as it outlines the many reasons why increased wages for childcare workers improves educational qualifications, improves staff stability and ultimately increases program quality.
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.
Nearly 40 GCF donors and community partners joined us for a recent walking tour through Over-the-Rhine devoted to showcasing affordable housing strategies in action. The tour was conducted by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH), which has been driving empowerment for OTR residents through affordable housing for four decades, in part through support by Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) grants. In 2018, OTRCH provided affordable housing for 850 residents — 36 percent of which are children — in more than 410 OTR apartments.
GCF’s work with affordable housing initiatives isn’t new, but this year we are intensifying our focus on this critical component of economic stability. Throughout our region there is a critical need — particularly for those earning $15,000 or less a year — of 40,000 additional affordable housing units (with “affordable” defined as costing no more than 30 percent of income). Adding to the challenge: low-income wages have not kept up with housing cost increases.
GCF is determined to open more doors to such units through our Affordable Housing Impact Investment Pool (AHIIP), details of which will be announced in September.
“In our efforts toward a more equitable community for all, we know that where people work and where they live are fundamental. Through our investments, leadership, convenings, advocacy, education and awareness building, GCF is committed to advancing equity in housing as a critical step to insuring that everyone has an opportunity to thrive in our community.” — Harold Brown, GCF Vice President, Community Strategies
As we enter our 56th year as a trusted and connected community partner, Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) continues to make strides along the pathways of racial and economic equity. The most recent result of that purposeful and strategic focus is a series of community leadership grants to five organizations engaged in impactful equity work.
GCF launched a redesigned community impact strategy in 2017 to spotlight equity issues. In response to a preponderance of challenging data — provided, in part, by extensive research by GCF’s Women’s Fund — we know that in our region, three out of four children living in poverty are being raised in single, female-headed and disproportionately women of color households. Cincinnati has the third highest child poverty rate in the nation, with 180,000 children growing up in families living below the self-sufficiency line. As a region, 72 percent of jobs pay less than self-sufficient wages, which lands us in the lowest bracket of upward mobility. Furthermore, there is a 40,000-unit gap in affordable housing, the result of which is that 60 percent of low-income households spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing (much more than the recommended 30 percent or less).
That is why GCF is committed to prioritizing a deep, concentrated focus on housing stability and economic mobility for people of color, and particularly low-income women. We revised our organizational community investment strategy, adopting explicit equity approaches that are also reflected in our grantmaking and directed funding opportunities.
Aligned with that mission, GCF made the single largest investment in our history — $1.8 million, together with our generous donors — to partner with the Greenlight Fund in 2017 to the Family Independence Initiative (FII) to Greater Cincinnati. The innovative, data-driven program empowers families to determine their own goals to move out of poverty. To date, more than 200 families have enrolled in the program.
GCF’s recent, concentrated community leadership grants also exemplify that vital equity strategy. They include:
Through these and future grants, GCF is determined to move the needle on housing stability and economic mobility in life-changing ways that benefit all of us with a more vibrant, inclusive community.
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.