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Meet Meghan Cummings

Meghan Cummings, Executive Director of The Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation, is a Cincinnati native and graduate of Miami University. She lives in Maineville with her husband, Nate, and son Cameron.

April 2019

Meghan Cummings, Executive Director of The Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation, is a Cincinnati native and graduate of Miami University. She lives in Maineville with her husband, Nate, and son Cameron.


 Share a few details of your personal and professional background that helped to guide your path to Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF).

 My background is in non-profit fundraising and that shaped my desire to continue helping people connect to the causes they care about.

 I started my career at the Alzheimer’s Association, working as a development assistant and then coordinating their charity walk. I got to experience so many different facets of fundraising there which was a great training ground for future development and leadership positions.

 After that I was the development director at the Center for Addiction Treatment in the West End. I was there at the start of the opiate epidemic and I saw firsthand how complex addiction is. I also saw how treatment helped restore people and families to their healthy selves. Then, I headed to the corporate charity at Luxottica Retail called OneSight. I’ve been really fortunate to work in direct delivery environments, in corporate and now at a community foundation. I love exploring how these different sectors can work together to create new solutions to complex community problems.

 Another piece that has shaped my path to GCF was two study-abroad experiences I had while at Miami. As a political science and journalism major I studied European Union politics. My studies in Europe one summer taught me how policies made at the top levels ended up affecting individuals. That was really interesting from a political point of view and it translates into my work with the Women’s Fund. When we work on policy change, how will that end up affecting individuals? Will there be unintended consequences? We have to be really thoughtful and intentional.

 The next summer I studied primary education in Kenya. One of the things I learned there is that wealth is relative. People may not have a lot of material things but they may possess something so much deeper. And I think that’s a really important lesson. We tend to look at poverty from the lens of what people are lacking. How can we first appreciate their unique value and assets?

 

What are your professional and community affiliations, and how do they inform your role at GCF?

 I’m the board president for a non-profit called Beyond Civility. We bridge political difference through effective dialogue and train community leaders to communicate with civility and thoughtfulness. The premise of Beyond Civility is not for everyone to be “politically correct” or to agree politically — because we are wired to be different political beings. Its purpose is to have a toolbox of ways we can communicate effectively and value what each person brings to the table. When we get down to the human level there’s a lot we all have in common and it’s about having that process to be able to talk to people you don’t agree with.

 That’s so germane to our work at the Women’s Fund — we’re a bipartisan group and we’re always trying to find common ground. On any issue we want to bring as many people to the table as possible. We meet people where they are and we hope to be a bridge builder in everything we’re doing for the Women’s Fund, so that training has been really important.

 

Who or what is your inspiration, and in what ways has that driven your passion for GCF’s mission?

 I have a lot of people that inspire me — for different reasons. I think that what they all have in common, though, is that they are courageous and stand up for the right thing even when it’s not easy.  For example, I love the Sisters of Charity. As a group they really roll up their sleeves, authentically dive in and serve the most vulnerable people in our community. Even when it’s not popular.

 

What are three things about you that most people don’t know?

 I lived in Australia for a while after college.

 I play the violin. It’s always been a big part of my life. Currently I play with a community group called the Seven Hills Sinfonietta.

 I love, love, love to travel. Growing up, my mom worked for Delta and we were fortunate to travel a lot. I have an insatiable wanderlust to explore places where everything is different — the language, the food, the religion, the climate. It’s even more fun now seeing new places through the eyes of our six-year-old, Cam.   

 

What do you like most about working at GCF?

 I love being on the GCF team. I really care about equity and social justice issues, so it is a gift that I get to work on these issues everyday as a career. It feels core to who I am as a person.

 I also love working with my team and developing people. Watching people grow and learn new skills as they develop into their own authentic selves is very rewarding.  



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