News & Event
At the one-year mark, GCF’s unprecedented stake in FII is helping low-income families to chart their own paths toward greater prosperity.
With more than 179 families enrolled in the program, FII-Cincinnati is demonstrating measurable gains on multiple fronts.
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:
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
Having trouble? View on Facebook.
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.
(August 17, 2017)—The Greater Cincinnati Foundation recently made the largest grant in its 54-year history to the Family Independence Initiative (FII) for $1.8 million. GCF and its partner, the GreenLight Fund, held a press conference with FII to announce this investment.
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.
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
This time-honored concept — even more urgent today — is a vital component of the cultural heritage of our beloved community. To help, Greater Cincinnati Foundation is investing in Environmental Sustainability. Through strategic support of innovative collaborations, GCF is partnering with forward-thinking organizations generating ecological stewardship for generations to come.
These grant funds will be used to increase and restore natural and green spaces, reduce landfill waste, monitor and improve water quality, increase energy efficiencies in buildings and foster education opportunities. They will also inspire higher participation rates in outdoor recreation and environmental volunteer efforts.
The funds dedicated to improving Environmental Sustainability came from endowments created by donors. We are honored to help these generous individuals continue their legacy to our region's environment. To amplify their impact, GCF inspired current donors to join this mission and collectively we increased the total contribution to these outstanding organizations by $96,620, for a total impact of $403,011 towards building a more vibrant community.
2018 Ensuring Environmental Sustainability Grantees
$25,000 for the St. Aloysius Bond Hill Urban Farm
Cincinnati Nature Center*
$25,000 for Beyond Removal: Collaboration to Restore Native Habitats
Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati
$25,000 for Environmental Education for Everyone
Easter Seals TriState*
$25,000 for Building Value Lumber Processing project
Enright Urban Ecovillage
$21,000 for the Beautify Land and Expand Opportunities for Increased Local Organic Produce project
Great Parks Forever
$25,000 for Preparing to Restore Sharon Lake at Sharon Woods
$24,421 for Partnering with the Avondale Community to Increase Opportunities for Outdoor Activity and Education project
Groundwork Cincinnati/Mill Creek*
$25,000 for the Sustainable Pathways project
$19,600 for the Branching Out Expansion project
Joy Outdoor Education Center Foundation Inc.*
$12,500 for the Zero In Ten: Camp Joy Goes Big on Sustainability project
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful
$25,000 for Cincinnati is Beautiful
Life Learning Center, Inc.
$18,573 for the Environmental project
New Life Furniture*
$10,000 for Diverting and reducing solid waste while furnishing empty houses
New Prospect Baptist Church
$25,000 for the Compost to Produce project
Northside Community Council/Northsider LLC
$25,000 for the Northside Composting Pilot
Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, Inc.
$25,000 for Ecological Education through Wilderness Exposure
$25,000 for The Zero Waste Way: Transforming Our Public Events project
$25,000 for GROW Cincinnati
*Fully funded by anonymous foundation partner
As a trusted and connected partner, we inspire generous people to invest in a more equitable and vibrant region, now and for generations to come.
CINCINNATI (March 5, 2016)—The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has developed this family philanthropy toolkit for you and your family to cultivate your own giving legacy.
We invite you to explore these tools with your family. If you are interested in working with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation to develop your family's philanthropy, contact a member of the Giving Strategies Team or call 513-241-2880.
Let's Get Started!
720 E. Pete Rose Way,
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Privacy | Site Map