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Greater Cincinnati Foundation shares a mission with our donors to make Greater Cincinnati a region that provides greater opportunities for everyone. We leverage donors’ generosity to support organizations and projects through grantmaking and impact investing; increasingly, we are also committed to focusing on initiatives that enact sustainable, life-changing equity.
That’s where our Empowering Communities Annual Fund comes into play. Our “team” isn’t in it for just one quarter, one game or even one season. GCF, with 55 years of experience in connecting people with purpose, has a long view of what we can do together to creating brighter futures and stronger communities, and the Empowering Communities Annual Fund catalyzes that impact.
GCF’s leadership has accomplished meaningful community work in various ways, including the examples below. The Empowering Communities Annual Fund allows us to do even more.
As we look ahead to 2019, GCF will focus its strategy of game-changing equity on exploring and addressing issues of affordable housing. Greater Cincinnati has a critical need for 40,000 more such units, and we know that housing instability can be a pivotal factor for families striving to rise above poverty. Your contribution to GCF’s Empowering Communities Annual Fund will help to fuel that deep, policy-level work.
Imagine Marsha. A single mother working two jobs to afford the basics for her family. She has done everything she knew to do to set herself up for success—graduated from high school, attended community college, always held a job. But life took a turn. She lost her husband, they had no savings and she and her children were forced to leave their home. Affordable, quality housing options were few, and the neighborhood where they landed was not one she would have chosen, if she had a choice. Unable to afford a car, Marsha finds transportation to be a challenge, and she is always – every day – just one unexpected expense away from not being able to make ends meet. She knows that missing even a single rent payment could lead to their eviction. Marsha often must choose between food on the table and the roof over their heads.
Even someone as hardworking and dedicated to her family as Marsha is not immune from a system that is stacked against her. And Marsha is not alone. For many, the very real possibility of eviction means huge disruption—children transferring schools, parents scrambling to find new transportation to jobs, and the threat of lost income as the family struggles to put the pieces back together again. For families like Marsha’s, housing instability, inadequate public transportation and low paying jobs are trapping them in poverty … and crushing their spirits.
Sadly, our region can be unforgiving for people like Marsha. However, Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is working to change the future for many families like hers in our community, and this work is fueled by GCF’s Empowering Communities Annual Fund.
Marsha’s story in our community is equally as prevalent as the other story we can tell. The one in which Cincinnati is a vibrant, affordable place to live. That’s true—but only for half of us. We live with an unconscionable weight, that if lifted, will free us to rise to heights we will never reach otherwise.
You are someone who cares deeply, and you have heard stories like Marsha’s. Stories for which solutions cannot be achieved by any single organization. For Marsha and her children to live comfortably in our community, we need organizations and generous supporters to come together to create lasting change.
You give generously to many organizations, but your gift to the Empowering Communities Annual Fund will drive systemic change toward sustainable improvements for thousands of families.
Greater Cincinnati Foundation is on a mission to bring together organizations from every sector to remove the barriers restraining our individual and collective potential. We are providing the community leadership necessary to do what no single organization can do alone. The Empowering Communities Annual Fund is fueling this high-impact work, and we need your investment to sustain the momentum.
In 2019, with support from generous contributors like you, we made progress. We spearheaded and are funding a regional planning initiative that will result in a 10-year community strategy to dramatically improve housing stability and affordability in our region. City and county officials, nonprofit organizations, developers, residents and many others are at the table working together to make a long-term difference for families like Marsha’s.
Will you contribute to ensure that this work continues?
Affordable housing is but one focus of the community leadership work fueled by our Empowering Communities Annual Fund. With your support, we are also leading the community to realize the incredible growth potential stemming from equity and inclusion, advancing powerful new public-private partnerships to move individuals out of poverty, and so much more.
You can choose how to make your contribution. Mail the enclosed form with your gift, donate on our website, recommend a grant from your fund at GCF, or call us at 513-241-2880 to arrange another type of gift.
In this season of gratitude, we thank you for understanding what makes change happen—and for being part of it through your community foundation. We exist for you, because of you, and together we are building a more vibrant and equitable region for everyone who lives here.
Thank you for contributing. We wish you all the joys of the season ahead.
Ellen M. Katz
How do you plan for a year like 2020?
Imagine a typical family. Linda and Alan raised a glass to toast the New Year, excited for a new decade. Linda was secure in her job as a Home Health Aide and Alan had an exciting new job as Head Cook at a local restaurant. Their children were soon to begin the second half of first and third grades. They had a small savings account and felt secure in their future. As a family of color from humble beginnings, they were proud of the hurdles they had overcome.
No amount of planning could have prepared any of us for what was to come.
Fast forward to April. Both Linda and Alan lose their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19. Alan finds a new job opportunity, however, the wage is significantly less than other people he knows in similar roles. But Alan stays in the position because his family’s situation is more urgent than seeking fair pay - perpetuating a vicious cycle. Racially inequitable systems disproportionally affect them every step of the way.
Then Linda tests positive for COVID-19, a disease that is ravaging communities of color at a disproportionate rate. Their small nest egg quickly disappears, and the needs of their children, the household and Linda’s medical bills leave them unable to make ends meet. They make their first of many visits to the food pantry and worry constantly about coming up with rent each month. It’s a reality they never imagined.
They had been making progress as a family and now have to face the reality that their race would hold them back from recovering. Systems – housing, health, employment – present the same hurdles they felt they had overcome.
Linda and Alan represent tens of thousands in our region who have found themselves in a precarious situation despite “doing everything right.” These families are why Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has made building a more equitable community the driving focus of its work. This is our mission, especially during unprecedented times.
Support of GCF’s Empowering Communities Annual Fund ensured we were prepared to take swift action for our neighbors, while also remaining committed to long-term change. Our community leadership positions us to bring our community together, when leadership is needed most. The Empowering Communities Annual Fund has been essential to our building partnerships and convening others to understand and address the immediate and systemic challenges our Greater Cincinnati region faces – so many compounded by the pandemic.
In the first three quarters of 2020 alone, we made the following happen:
Community foundations, like GCF, exist to support the community they serve as needs of the region change over time. GCF is able to take that commitment to the next level because of the support from donors – like you. Your gift to the Empowering Communities Annual Fund will ensure we can continue to step forward as leaders for our community. The challenges in our community are not going to be solved by our grants alone – investing in leadership that empowers the community itself is vital to the alignment needed to create lasting change.
This year has made it clear: now is the time to create a more equitable community where everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential. We must all put our shoulder to the wheel, together. But this work is not possible without our generous supporters. Will you join hundreds of others in our region by contributing to ensure this work continues?
Your generosity matters to our community. Make your gift today.
Thank you for fueling the work that will drive change in our community. Your gift makes a difference.
Ellen M. Katz
P.S. As we embark upon 2021, the Empowering Communities Annual Fund will continue to ensure our community is moving toward one that works for us all – especially people like Linda and Alan. Please give generously today.
CINCINNATI (January 13, 2017) - The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation has received $150,000 from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee. These funds will support numerous projects furthering the fund’s mission to ensure the economic self-sufficiency of women.
Funding will support research into domestic violence triggered by employment advancement. The Women’s Fund and its community partners have been collecting data on this phenomenon for the past six months. This grant has attracted the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to do a local qualitative study to better understand the situation and provide solutions.
Funding will also support a series of workshops for local foundations on gender lens grantmaking that will help drive more effective investments with non-profit partners.
“The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was created to honor Jacob Schmidlapp’s daughter, Charlotte and support women’s educational and economic advancement,” said Meghan Cummings, executive director. “We are honored to celebrate her legacy by putting these funds to work on projects that support women and encourage their advancement. This grant is a transformational investment in our work.”
Together, The Women’s Fund and the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund are making a powerful difference by driving top-level change and leadership on these important issues.
The David C. Herriman Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has granted its 2019 awards to two regional arts organizations, Know Theatre of Cincinnati and Revolution Dance Theatre.
The grants, the first for the fund, will be awarded annually to arts organizations in the eight-county GCF funding region — Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn County in Indiana.
They honor the legacy of the late Northern Kentucky philanthropist and arts patron David C. Herriman, who established the fund for the purpose of “making possible what would otherwise be impossible” for both large and small arts organizations. The awards will particularly focus on new works, the education of youth and performance enhancement through funding to bring in performance artists, directors, choreographers, authors, musicians and other creative artists.
“We are thrilled that David’s immeasurable passion for the advancement of the arts in his adopted hometown lives on in such impactful ways,” said Ellen M. Katz, GCF President/CEO. “We are honored to help ensure that his vision will be preserved for generations to come.”
Know Theatre of Cincinnati will receive $30,000 to fund its “Welcoming New Voices to the Know” guest residency program for artists of color during its 2019-2020 MainStage season. The Over-the-Rhine theater will conduct a search for up to four guest directors and/or designers of color from New York and Chicago to provide fresh perspectives to their audiences and shadowing/mentee opportunities to local artists. Know Theatre is recognized as a “theatrical playground where all are welcome,” amplifying under-represented voices and presenting inclusive productions.
Revolution Dance Theatre (RDT) will receive $10,000 to fund its Ballet on the BLOC collaboration with BLOC Ministries to bring high-quality arts experiences and classical dance access to the Lower Price Hill community. The funds will be used to cover professional fees for residencies at Oyler Elementary School and the neighborhood Q-Kidz Dance Team, as well as an extended residency with instructor KaRon Brown-Lehman, monthly events for intermediate and advance level dancers and a performance at Aronoff Center for the Arts. RDT is dedicated to “breaking barriers between the ballet art form and people of color” by bringing dance classes and resources to under-represented communities and producing works that celebrate diversity.
The anonymous committee that considered the funding requests includes a member of the arts community, a faculty member of a local university or college and a person representing a county of GCF’s funding region, a position which will rotate each year between the eight counties.
“Our committee was pleased and proud to review many excellent applications,” said a committee member. “The process underscored the depth and strength of the arts community in which we live and work. David’s goal of ‘making possible the impossible’ most clearly resonated in the grants to Know Theatre and Revolution Dance Theatre. We encourage all to attend their grant-winning performances to enjoy the impact of a most cherished friend and philanthropist, David Herriman.”
The David C. Herriman Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation will award up to three grants — one large, and one or two smaller — totaling $220,000 in 2019. GCF will publish a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the next funding cycle in April. Proposals will be due on October 1.
CINCINNATI (January 6, 2021) — The David C. Herriman Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has granted its third annual arts funding awards, totaling $226,000, to three regional arts organizations: Cincinnati Opera, Q-Kidz and ish Festival.
This is the third year for the Herriman grants, which will be awarded annually to arts organizations in the eight-county GCF funding region — Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn County in Indiana.
They honor the legacy of the late Northern Kentucky philanthropist and arts patron David C. Herriman, who established the fund for the purpose of “making possible what would otherwise be impossible” for both large and small arts organizations. The awards particularly focus on new works, the education of youth and performance enhancement through funding to bring in performance artists, directors, choreographers, authors, musicians and other creative artists.
“Supporting the arts is so incredibly important for our region as we continue to see the effects of the pandemic in our neighborhoods,” said Ellen M. Katz, GCF President/CEO. “David’s vision for this fund is highlighted by these three organizations as they pave the way for a more equitable and inclusive arts community.”
The Cincinnati Opera received funding for the world premier of Castor and Patience, which is a part of the 2021 summer season. With music by Gregory Spears and a libretto by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, Castor and Patience focuses on two members of an African American family who find themselves at odds over the fate of a historic parcel of family land in the American South. The performers will take the stage July 9, 13, 15, 17 and 18, 2021.
“David loved Greg Spears’s music, and I fondly recall telling him that we were going to commission Greg to write a second opera for Cincinnati,” said Evans Mirageas, The Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director at Cincinnati Opera. “He said to me memorably at the time: ‘Count me in’. While David did not live to see the genesis of Castor and Patience, how fitting it is that the Foundation has now awarded Cincinnati Opera this major gift that will allow David’s wish to come true. We are profoundly grateful.”
The Q-Kidz Dance Team received a grant for at-risk girls in Cincinnati's West End. They’ll work in-person and virtually with a noted New York City multi-disciplinary artist, award winning playwright, activist, and Black educator. The project will be to write, produce and publicly perform a New Work titled “Love Revolution: Stop the Violence” in the summer of 2021. The Q-Kidz will respond to the events of 2020, both national and personal experiences through dance, songs and dialogue with the goal of creating empathy and positive action.
ish (organizers of ish Festival) received funding for the premiere of the new Jewish musical, “Rising in Love,” in 2021. The production is a modern day coming-of-age story about an engaged interracial Millennial Jewish couple who confronts their anxieties surrounding their upcoming marriage and turn to friends and family who help them learn what it takes to rise in love. The audience of diverse cultural backgrounds and viewpoints will be engaged and encouraged to explore differences, while finding new meaning and understanding through shared experiences.
The anonymous committee that considered the Herriman funding requests includes a member of the arts community, a faculty member of a local university or college and a person representing a county of GCF’s funding region, a position which will rotate each year between the eight counties.
The David C. Herriman Fund Committee will award up to three grants — one large, and one or two smaller — in 2021. GCF will publish a Request for Proposals for the next funding cycle in the spring, with proposals due in the fall.
For further information, visit the GCF website at www.gcfdn.org/herriman.
About Greater Cincinnati Foundation
As the region’s leading community foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) 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.
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