News & Event
CINCINNATI (January 31, 2018)—The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has provided $25,000 in funding to support The Cincinnati Project, a community-engaged research initiative at the University of Cincinnati (UC). The funding will go to support projects that offer clear and direct benefit to women of color in Cincinnati.
“As GCF goes deeper on the complex issues of equity, we are intentionally investing in projects that support women of color in our community,” said Ellen M. Katz, president/CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “By partnering with The Cincinnati Project, we can support the many innovative projects they are tackling, and we are inspired by what they are doing.”
The Cincinnati Project was launched in 2013 by faculty researchers in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences. More than 12 University of Cincinnati faculty and students from their classes will be involved in these upcoming projects.
Funding will support:
“We are thrilled to partner with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation,” said Dr. Jennifer Malat, UC College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean of Social Sciences and co-founder of The Cincinnati Project. “With their support, and the continued support and collaboration of our other community partners, The Cincinnati Project will raise the voices of women of color and collaborate to recommend policies that will improve lives.”
“The support from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation is an important validation of the work that The Cincinnati Project has been doing for the last several years” said Dr. Ken Petren, Dean of the UC College of Arts and Sciences, “I’m confident that this partnership will not only help improve the lives of women in color in Cincinnati, but also provide hope and assistance to our other partners and organizations who are working for equity in Cincinnati.”
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.
Ellen M. Katz – September 4, 2019
Class of 43 – Welcome to the club. You have arrived! It’s a privilege to be here but comes with the responsibility to be an agent in strengthening our region. And… our greatest potential may not be where you think.
In this program, you will meet amazing people while learning about every sector of our civic life. While you are soaking it in, keep in mind, an investment was made in you knowing that your organization’s success depends on this community – and the community’s success depends on your organization. The two are inextricably linked.
Some things are easy to see in our community: We’ve got festivals, parks, beer, bourbon, arts, urban development, vibrant neighborhoods – all so good.
Here is what is not so easily seen: We are a top ten city nationally for childhood poverty, segregation, and lack of upward mobility. This means that if you are born in poverty here, you’re not likely to get out. Other cities have better paths to economic prosperity. Unfortunately, our systems hold people back.
And sadly, these unwanted outcomes occur disproportionately here for African Americans. This is so wrong and presents a huge problem for the future of our region. Consider this: In six months, the majority of kids under the age of 18 will be kids of color. And in two decades, our entire region will be.
So what is holding back the incredible potential of the proud, united, soulful, inherently talented African Americans of our region? Poverty? No. That’s a symptom. The answer is systemic racism - a phenomenon of our nation’s history that deserves and requires our attention here at home.
We often point to individuals who have overcome the system’s grip to prove that it is possible. You’ve seen them on brochures. Or some profess that if people just make the right choices, they’ll have the same opportunity to succeed. But do they?
You’ve all played Monopoly. Pass go, collect $200, buy property, collect cash. Now imagine eight of your friends decide to get together for Monopoly night. Five arrive on time, three are running late. The five decide to get started, figuring the other three can join later. After all, Monopoly can go all night.
Now let’s think this through. What’s it like for those who join the game late? Start behind, and every turn presents a risk to fall further in a hole. Nothing about the game can help you catch up. Perhaps a Community Chest card will provide a minor leg up. But regardless, the friends who arrived late really have no chance in the game to enjoy the power and control held by the early players.
Sure, it happens – albeit rarely – that someone comes from behind and wins. But it’s the exception, not the rule. And this player just might end up on Monopoly’s brochure with a caption indicating, see…. it IS possible.
Class 43, we need a more equitable game. Where all people – regardless of race - have a fair and just opportunity to participate, prosper and reach their full potential. This is the definition of racial equity.
The morality of this issue alone should be enough to compel us to act, but I can also make the case for collective gain… that all boats will rise higher, including those riding high today.
Maybe you question how advancing people held back can provide a benefit to everyone. I shared an example with last year’s class. Think about the investment we’ve made to ensure that every sidewalk crossing in the nation has a curb cut, built expressly for disabled people with mobility issues. But does everyone benefit from curb cuts? Every skateboarding, scooter riding, baby strolling, suitcase-toting person is better off as a result.
Racial equity is a challenge, even daunting, but the possibilities are enormous. Through research conducted here, we know that our region’s GDP would be $9.9B greater PER YEAR if we could close the racial gap in income.
Throughout this program, will you please look for -- actually seek out -- this deeper view of our community through an equity lens? Ask your presenters how they are addressing the issue of race. When data is presented to you, ask that it be disaggregated by race. As you go through your day-to-day, look around. Take note of who you see. And who you do not see.
Let’s open our community’s eyes to everything that is true about who we are. Embrace what’s awesome – AND what is not. Finds ways to amplify the power of our regional assets while also tackling our liabilities.
And let me lay out this challenge to you too. When you are done with this program, some higher up at work is bound to ask you -- should ask you -- how did it go?
At that moment, I hope you will have the courage and determination to talk about your experience with your equity lens on. Leverage that important moment into an opportunity to point out what your organization itself needs to see, to know, to be doing differently. They may be doing a lot now, but we have yet to marshal the full resources and commitment on this urgent issue, and we need every shoulder to the wheel.
Leadership Cincinnati Class of 43 – Blast out of here with conviction – Now is the Time.
Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF), in partnership with the Cincinnati Enquirer, is pleased to announce the 2018 Women of the Year:
Judith Harmony is the first female faculty member of Indiana University’s chemistry department. She was instrumental in the development of The Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s first PULSE study in 2004. Harmony founded the Harmony Garden, an education center that strives to bring communities together to promote the health of young girls from underserved and disadvantaged communities.
Maria Ahmed Munir is the inaugural co-chair of the Festival of Faiths, a day of inclusion, education, understanding and building community. She established a scholarship fund at International Academy of Cincinnati for deserving students to get financial assistance. Munir was the first female PTO president at International Academy of Cincinnati and is a board member of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati.
Nancy Eigel-Miller has dedicated her life to erasing the stigma of mental illness by founding 1N5, an organization that increases awareness and education about mental health. Through 1N5, she created the Brain Health Network as a braintrust around the successes and challenges of mental health programs. Eigel-Miller also created the first Youth Mental Health Innovation Challenge at the University of Cincinnati, a two-day workshop fostering a unique learning experience and professional development opportunity for high school students.
Kelly Dolan founded Thrive Impact Sourcing with the sole intent of bringing Cincinnati out of un/underemployment and into IT careers. Thrive is a business incubator dedicated to creating opportunity for diverse individuals to enter the IT industry, notorious for its lack of diversity. Dolan also founded Ingage Partners, Cincinnati’s first Certified B Corporation. She is an involved volunteer with Freeset USA, which sells clothes and bags made by women in India who were formerly working in the sex trade industry.
Mary Burke Rivers has been the executive director of Over the Rhine Community Housing since 1993, where she has excelled in creating and advocating for equitable access to housing for the past 25 years. She is a board member of The Finance Fund, Community Development Association of Greater Cincinnati, Affordable Housing Advocates, Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio.
Alandes Powell is the chair of the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, where she has served as a board member and volunteer for eight years. She has been a board member of the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati since 2014 and was a YWCA Cincinnati Career Woman of Achievement recipient in 2013. Powell is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati Class 41 and Leadership Northern Kentucky. As Senior Vice President, Operations & Relationship Director of Citi Retail Services, she has also served as a mentor to colleagues and received the Citigroup Chairman’s Leadership Award in 2007. Powell is a board member of the Brighton Center and serves on the Elder Board of the Inspirational Baptist Church.
Mary Welsh Schlueter is the founr and CEO of Partnership for Innovation in Education, in partnership with Harvard University, which focuses on elevating student academic achievement, workforce readiness and experiential learning pathways in emerging careers. She is on the Harvard Business School Board of Directors (Ohio) and the Allegheny College, Alumni Board of Directors and teaching staff. Schlueter is an awardee of the Direct Energy Citizen of the Year, USA Chamber of Commerce WE Empowerment & New Business, Deloitte & Touche “100 Wise Women,” National Diversity Council Leadership Excellence, Venue Magazine Civic Leadership and STEM Difference Maker (Duke Energy).
Maureen France is a member of the West McMicken Improvement Association and was instrumental in re-opening the long-closed Warner Street steps leading to Fairview Park. She also has helped replace dilapidated playground equipment in the community. France was a key leader in the prevention of the destruction of part of her neighborhood during the reconstruction of I-75. She has used her photography, in collaboration with the Cincinnati Preservation Association and the Hillside Trust, to present ODOT and City Council with a book showing the vibrancy and closeness of her neighborhood.
Tillie Hidalgo Lima is a co-chair of the YMCA Academy of Career Women of Achievement. She was named Hispanic Woman of the Year in 2010 by the Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan in 2015 by the Ohio Commission on Hispanic-Latino Affairs and the Latino Empowerment Outreach Network. Her current board memberships include: United Way of Greater Cincinnati Board of Directors and Executive Committee, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Board of Trustees, Child Poverty Steering Committee and Cincinnati Women Executive Forum. Lima has been the CEO of Best Upon Request since 2003, where she co-created a groundbreaking new service, Maternity Concierge, to help new working mothers balance their quality of life.
Chandra Mathews-Smith is the chair of the Community Action Agency board. Dedicated to the improvement of the foster care system, she led the initiative to design the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services Emergency Therapeutic Foster Care Program, which served as the emergency shelter provider for some of the county’s most difficult-to-serve children and adolescents. Mathews-Smith worked with Cincinnati Public Schools to institute their Ujima program, which provided wraparound and day treatment services for CPS students with the special education designation of Severely Behaviorally Handicapped.
The Women of the Year award is given to 10 women in the community who have dedicated their lives to giving back. This award is among the oldest and most significant honors one can receive in Greater Cincinnati.
“These exceptional women are the embodiment of dedication, community service and compassion for their fellow citizens,” said Ellen M. Katz, GCF President/CEO. “We look forward to sharing their inspirational stories, but even more so, we look forward to watching our community prosper due to their passion and drive.”
The honorees will be recognized at the 50th annual Women of the Year Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Friday, October 26, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati. To purchase tickets to the luncheon or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.gcfdn.org/woy.
CINCINNATI (August 14, 2017) —The Greenlight Fund, in partnership with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, announced today a multi-million-dollar initiative to fight family poverty in our region. Together, they are investing $2.4 million to bring the Family Independence Initiative—and its innovative model of trusting and investing in family solutions—to Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. This includes a $1.8 million grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and its donors, the single largest grant in the history of the Foundation.
“We know that thousands of families are struggling with poverty, and we need to rethink how we invest in families and their upward mobility,” said Tara Noland, Executive Director of GreenLight Cincinnati. “We are excited to have the Family Independence Initiative bring their model to our region and learn from their data on what Cincinnati families in our community need to escape poverty.”
“As our region’s community foundation, our role is to create a community where everyone can thrive,” said Ellen M. Katz, president and CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “Our region is literally bursting with new energy and progress, yet we still have many in need. GCF and its donors are seeking new and innovative programs to help families in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky who have yet to benefit from that progress. FII is one such program and we’re excited to ensure we can rapidly deploy FII in our community.”
Founded in 2001, The Family Independence Initiative brings a new approach to fighting poverty by trusting and investing directly in low-income families across the nation so they can work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity. Families that partner with FII set goals they want to achieve, such as purchasing a home or continuing their education, and work together to help each other meet those goals. FII provides them with the technology platform to track their progress and then gives them access to resources, including cash, to accelerate the solutions that they’ve discovered themselves.
With sites in seven cities across the country, FII has partnered with more than 2,000 families investing in their solutions to escaping poverty. On average, during two years of engagement with FII, families report: a 23 percent increase in monthly income, 60 percent decrease in subsidies such as TANF and SNAP, a doubling of their annual income and assets, and increased education outcomes from their children.
Over the next four years, FII will work with community based organizations and other partners to reach 500 families in multiple neighborhoods across Cincinnati. They will be convening a launch team to help identify the neighborhoods they should focus on as well as families they should recruit.
“All families across America should have access to the resources and opportunities needed to achieve their dreams and we look forward to doing just that right here in the region,” said Jesús Gerena, Chief Executive Officer of The Family Independence Initiative. “While our initial goal is to reach 500 families, we hope to find more partners to double or triple that goal. Cincinnati benefits when all its families are economically thriving.”
In addition to the multi-year investment made by the Greenlight Fund and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, FII’s expansion to Cincinnati is also supported by contributions from The Mayerson Foundation and SC Ministry.
Learn more about GCF's investment in the Family Independence Initiative
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The GreenLight Fund transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to: identify critical needs; import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that have a significant, measurable impact; and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city. Working in Boston since 2003, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area since 2012, Cincinnati since 2015 and most recently Charlotte in 2017, GreenLight aims to grow a national network of GreenLight sites that learn and work collaboratively to find and spread proven nonprofit solutions that achieve meaningful and measurable impact in our communities on the issues that matter most. Founding investors in GreenLight Cincinnati include the Deaconess Associations Foundation, Bethesda Inc., the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, Interact for Health, Procter and Gamble, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s, Duke Energy Foundation, the Cincinnati Business Committee, Bank of America and a number of individual investors.
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 an accredited 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.
Cincinnati Public Schools is aiming to increase third grade reading proficiency of students’ district-wide from 45 percent to 90 percent by 2020.
The Northern Kentucky Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary with Impact Grants totaling $125,000 for workforce development efforts in Northern Kentucky.
“These Impact Grants reflect our continued commitment to invest significantly in Northern Kentucky,” said Ellen M. Katz, President & CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). “These grants, which represent a key targeted investment, align with GCF’s grantmaking strategy. By concentrating our investments in supporting Economic Mobility and Housing Stability across our region, GCF is deeply committed to ensuring that everyone in our community can thrive. Workforce development is an integral part of that mission.”
The grants have been awarded to:
In partnership with the Charles H. Dater Foundation and donors, GCF also recently issued a record 39 “Learning Links” grants, totaling $35,642, to schools in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and its donors have granted $40 million to Northern Kentucky organizations since the Northern Kentucky Fund’s launch in 1998.
About the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
As the region’s leading community foundation, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation connects people with purpose in an eight-county region in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. GCF is leading the charge toward a more vibrant Greater Cincinnati for everyone – now, and for generations to come. As of 2017, GCF is the 35th largest U.S. community foundation with net assets of $649 million.