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“My dream is to find individuals who take financial resources and convert them into changing the world in the most positive ways.” — Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen
We all want to make constructive differences in our world, harnessing our passions to create significant opportunities for everyone to thrive and succeed. Impact investing is a purposeful way of leveraging the assets in your donor advised fund (DAF) to generate both meaningful social impact and monetary returns. Impact investing differs from your grantmaking tool in that it “recycles” your charitable capital forward for additional projects.
Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is committed to utilizing that power of impact investing to address the compelling lack of affordable housing in our region through our Affordable Housing Impact Investment Pool (AHIIP). Safe, affordable housing can be the linchpin for low-income families to move out of poverty, affecting their employment, education opportunities and health. High-quality, diverse housing options are the building blocks for stable neighborhoods, which provide region-wide benefits for all of us. According to LISC Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky’s 2017 Housing Affordability in Hamilton County report, in Greater Cincinnati, there is a critical need for 40,000 additional housing units that are affordable to extremely low-income households, defined as those making $14,678 or less. Of those households, 60 percent are paying more than 50 percent of their income on housing; the recommended housing cost burden is 30 percent.
Because we see AHIIP as an integral component of the equity call to action of the All-In Cincinnati report, we are committing $1 million of its targeted $5 million fund size. AHIIP will support a wide range of impact investments, from home ownership and rental options for low-income families to increasing the supply of high-quality rental units throughout our region. Together, we can strategically work to close the gap on affordable housing.
By partnering with GCF through your DAF, you can help to stimulate non-charitable financial support from other institutions and investors to substantially increase the collective power needed to fund these vital community projects.
GCF invites you to join us in this life-changing, community-building work. To find out more about AHIIP, please contact Robert Killins Jr., Director, Special Initiatives, at 513-768-6151 or email@example.com.
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.
Our region needs 40,000 more affordable housing units. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its devastating impact on the economy, resulting in job losses and evictions, the crisis will only accelerate. Further, the pandemic and staggering affordable housing gap disproportionately affect the Black community; which already faces the highest unemployment rates in Hamilton County and significant job and wage disparities. The need is urgent.
Our neighbors in poverty cannot work their way out when they are spending over 30% of their income on housing. Poverty is merely the symptom of much broader systemic issues that must be addressed – systems that determine housing placement, fair lending practices, renters’ rights, access to development subsidies and tax abatements.
To achieve equitable, accessible and affordable housing throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County, we must change the existing systems – many of them built on racist principles – that continue to leave too many residents behind, particularly Black women. Tackling the affordable housing crisis means we are addressing a key piece of her ecosystem.
We encourage you to think about how you can help drive this work forward. It’s critical for the growth of our region and for those, especially Black women, who call it home.
Ways to learn more and get involved:
In addition to being a partner and convener for the Housing Our Future strategy, GCF is addressing the housing crisis through the following investments:
Join us in this important work. Contact Robert Killins at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
As the holidays approach, more than 100 families in three inner-city Cincinnati neighborhoods have a stronger sense of housing stability in their lives, thanks in part to the 2017 expansion of a tenant advocacy program by Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) in three Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) elementary schools. Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF), in partnership with our donors, granted $40,000 to HOME’s Housing Stability Program for At Risk Students this past year and has been supporting it since 2014.
In those schools — Carson Elementary School, Oyler Community Learning Center and Roberts Paideia Academy — 125 families have received counseling on tenant rights and 76 were given financial assistance with housing bills to enable them to remain in their homes. We know that housing instability affects the health, work and education opportunities of families, and that half of the children in CPS schools change schools each year because of housing challenges.
Various studies have found that student mobility, especially multiple moves, can contribute to reduced engagement in school, poorer grades and a lower likelihood of graduating, and it is particularly hard on children in early grades. University of Chicago researcher David Kerbow found, in a study of 13,000 Chicago students, that those who had changed schools four or more times by sixth grade were nearly a year behind their classmates. As we reported in last month’s Amplify issue, higher eviction activity in our region over the past five years has increased the population of homeless families, which puts an even higher strain on their educational opportunities.
Parents who have participated in HOME’s school-based tenant advocacy program reported that they feel more empowered with the increased knowledge of their rights as tenants, and that they can now focus more of their energy on their children’s education. Since 2014, Carson Elementary School — the first school to participate in the program — has seen a 10 percent reduction in the student mobility rate, which helps to further educational success.
HOME, along with Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio, worked with The Cincinnati Project to identify and quantify patterns in our community to understand the components of eviction: who, how, by whom and the communities from which they are evicted. Eviction disproportionately impacts women of color and areas of high poverty in our region, which was mapped by The Cincinnati Project and received coverage in a WCPO-TV news story.
To support these types of equitable projects, please contact your GCF philanthropic advisor, who will reach out to you with specific funding opportunities when they are determined.
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.
Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s NEXT Fund is engaging, empowering and mobilizing future generations of generosity. Young people who are passionate about our community can build a relationship with GCF in fun, informative ways through the NEXT Up signature series of events held throughout the year.
This month, GCF NEXT explored the Cradle-to-Career Pipeline at Revel OTR Urban Winery. The evening included a panel discussion, led by Lauren Jones of GCF’s Women’s Fund highlighting four regional organizations— Adventure Crew, Breakthrough Cincinnati and Lincoln Grant Scholar House — that are working to strengthen the cradle-to-career pipeline in creative ways.
If you’re inspired by the work of such organizations as these, the GCF NEXT Giving Circle is an effective way to amplify your support, with a minimum contribution of just $50. GCF will match each $50 contribution made through GCF NEXT; all GCF NEXT Giving Circle members will have the opportunity to choose the nonprofit receiving the 2019 grant at an event on Oct. 15. Learn more at www.gcfdn.org/nextgivingcircle.
Mark your calendar to join us on Tuesday, Sept. 17, to hear from organizations focused on Healthy Neighborhoods and Affordable Housing.
CINCINNATI (April 15, 2019) – Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is on the move — literally. As Greater Cincinnati’s leading community foundation, GCF recognizes its role as a community convener, and has found it increasingly challenging to carry out that mission in its current location at 200 W. Fourth St.
As a result, GCF sold that building and will move Aug. 1 into a dynamic new venue in the Sawyer Point Building at 720 E. Pete Rose Way. The Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation and The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio will also move with GCF into the new space.
By consciously harnessing the power of place in a creatively designed space, GCF’s new location will provide energizing opportunities:
“As GCF has grown more integrated, focused and impactful, it has become clear that owning a building is not central to our mission,” said Ellen M. Katz, GCF President/CEO. “What is paramount to us is providing accessibility, flexibility and efficiency of service to all our stakeholders, which our new location will enable in exciting ways. We also believe that bringing people together in this thoughtfully connective space will inspire and accelerate our commitment to racial equity and economic opportunity for everyone in our region.”
GCF’s equity focus is also reflected in its choices of key partners to design and create the new space — all are minority or female-owned businesses. They include: DNK Architects, Inc.; Kolar Design; TriVersity Construction; and RCF Group.
“In this digital era of remote, often impersonal communication, it’s imperative to offer a place for people to connect face-to-face and interact in ways that promote awareness, understanding and insights,” said Christopher L. Fister, Chair of GCF’s Governing Board. “Our new facility will provide this crucial gathering place, where our entire Community as a community can take on the complicated yet immensely gratifying work of solving problems and identifying opportunities together.”
GCF’s welcoming front door, adjacent to the riverfront at the heart of its tri-state, eight-county community of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, will open onto a gathering space that is comfortable and inviting to everyone. The new location will be the embodiment of GCF’s mission of connecting people to realize Greater Cincinnati’s strongest, most equitable shared future.
About Greater Cincinnati Foundation
As the region’s leading community foundation, 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.
720 E. Pete Rose Way,
Cincinnati, OH 45202
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