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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.
CINCINNATI (June 2, 2016) —The Greater Cincinnati Foundation was one of eight organizations examined to get an understanding of how impact donor advised funds, an emerging social finance instrument in the philanthropic sector, work in North America in a joint paper released by Social Venture ConneXion (SVX) and Tides Canada.
“It is a well-documented fact amongst those in the social change and philanthropic sectors that, in order to tackle our most pressing social and environmental challenges, we must mobilize capital in both its investment and philanthropic forms," the authors write in the report, "Impact DAFs" A Scan" [PDF]. "This has lead to an explosion of foundations re-aligning their investment portfolios to meet their mission aims. Investment portfolios in this context largely consist of endowment funds, as many private foundations across Canada and the US have actively transformed their investments into mission-supporting vehicles.”
Learn more about Impact Investing at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.
This report was written by Marie Ang, Adam Spence, and Todd Jaques and published April 2016. The case study on The Greater Cincinnati Foundation begins on page 10.
Read the full report, “Impact Donor Advised Funds: A Scan” [PDF]
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 2015, GCF had net assets of $533 million.
When you set a table, the different elements — cutlery, plates, glasses, and, of course, the food — collectively create a welcoming experience. The same is true when you bring people together to make lasting change in our community.
GCF has created a table where we can help lead this change.
It’s called collective impact. Because of your generosity and commitment, Cincinnati has become a national leader, along with a special group of partners who are helping transform systems that will help change people’s lives for the better all across our region.
We have made multi-year investments in seven “backbone” organizations (see the list here), who serve as catalysts for change in various areas of civic life. These groups have agreed to work alongside and learn from each other, with shared goals and measures of success. We believe bringing all the elements of their experience together will nourish our community and help it grow.
Collective impact works because no single organization, program, or institution can bring about large-scale social change on its own. Individuals and groups work better when they work together, sharing visions and goals — at the same table you might say.
This commitment is a natural evolution of our other community investments to sustain important community change, for needs right now and long into the future. It builds on past efforts in our community that didn’t always have all the right ingredients to keep positive change going.
Change and community progress take a long time. GCF is proud that, thanks to generous donors past and present, we can commit to pulling our chair up to the table and staying there as long as it takes. And we’re thrilled that other communities are sitting up and taking note.
Agenda 360’s regional action plan aims to transform Greater Cincinnati into a leading metropolitan area for talent, jobs, and economic opportunity. Diverse by Design and other projects have grown through purposeful collaboration and aligning goals with other regional organizations.
Green Umbrella works to promote a more environmentally sustainable region, facilitating collaboration among more than 200 businesses and organizations. Communitywide projects like Paddlefest and Taking Root engage thousands, and coordination on planning and policies promotes sustainability for our region.
LISC Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky strengthens neighborhoods by mobilizing funding, providing technical and management help, and bringing awareness to public policy issues that affect neighborhoods. The “Place Matters” initiative has helped raise the level of housing, financial opportunity, and economic development in key Cincinnati neighborhoods.
Partners for a Competitive Workforce focuses on meeting employer demand by growing the skills of current and future workers. More than 150 partners have worked together to better align educational opportunities, improve work readiness, and connect qualified workers to employers.
The Strive Partnership is transforming education in Greater Cincinnati’s urban core. Shared priorities, data-driven continuous improvement, and aligned leadership and funding have helped create positive trends in kindergarten readiness, reading achievement, and college retention.
Success by Six® is the driving force that all children will be prepared to succeed in kindergarten. A focus on quality early learning, parent engagement, better support at school, and kindergarten readiness are key to continuing improvement that’s already been tracked for local kids.
Vision 2015 is a vision for the future and a plan to make Northern Kentucky the place of choice for families, businesses, and visitors. Vision 2015 now has close to 25 active projects involving 40+ partners.
This story appeared in GCF's 2013 Annual Report.
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.
By definition, a community foundation cannot be effective working alone or in isolation.
Together with donors, volunteers, professional advisors, nonprofit organizations, and civic leaders, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) contributes significantly to making our region a more thriving and vibrant place.
This year’s stories bring to life the power of partnership and the joy of working together.
A donor’s passion for innovative philanthropy inspired his decision to co-invest in a loan to a nonprofit organization using GCF’s impact investment program.
A couple’s dedication to education drew them to volunteer with a nonprofit group that partners with public schools to help kids achieve better student outcomes.
In an amazing story of love for an adopted community, you’ll see how the aspirations of three transplants who joined forces with GCF are planning legacy gifts that will help the region forever.
These personal stories are echoed in other ways across GCF’s broad community canvas.
For example, the trustees of The Helen Steiner Rice Foundation tapped GCF a decade ago to partner with them in fulfilling the legacy of this prolific inspirational writer.
And to help reduce high infant mortality rates in our region, GCF has supported Cradle Cincinnati — a team of funders, researchers, service providers, hospitals, government agencies, and staff working collectively to tackle the problem.
We are pleased to welcome GCF’s new President/CEO, Ellen M. Katz, who will carry forward the Foundation’s important role as a community leader and the effective stewardship of assets entrusted to us.
Dianne M. Rosenberg
Kathryn E. Merchant
The first time she enrolled in college, she was 19 years old and excited to major in pre-med. But as the oldest of five children, she had to become the family breadwinner when her father lost his job. She quit school and went to work full-time.
“I cried when I told the professor I’d have to leave,” the mother of two said. “I pretty much knew what life was like without an education.”
Peg enrolled in school again in the early 90s but because of her second child’s severe health problems, she had to drop out again.
“There was always this desire to go back to school,” Peg said. “But my daughter would be in the emergency room all night and I’d have to go to class the next day.”
When Peg returned to work in 2002, she decided to take a class through the Urban Learning Center (ULC) in Northern Kentucky.
The ULC helps low-income individuals start taking college classes. A student can take up to 10 different courses at the ULC for only $10 a course. There are no book costs, free child care is offered and a small and supportive staff is available to help students manage their postsecondary experience.
Peg enjoyed the class so much she decided to give her dream – a degree – one last chance. Funding was still an issue and ULC staff encouraged her to apply to The Cincinnati Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship Fund (CBPW) of GCF.
Peg was reluctant. “I just didn’t think I’d be worthy – when you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to believe others will,” she said. “I just did it more or less to say, ‘See, I told you I wouldn’t get it!’”
The CBPW Scholarship Fund was created to support women just like Peg, fund advisor Amy McPike said. The fund history has its roots in women helping women.
As far back as the early 1900s, the CBPW organization existed to “give women a leg up” by training them in work force ethics and business etiquette.
By the late 1990s, CBPW’s membership was dwindling. Amy and others decided to use the organization’s endowment as a way to continue to honor its history of benefiting women.
“Our point in creating the scholarship was to really help women who needed to be educated to get a job and support their families,” Amy said. “We wanted it to be CBPW’s legacy. We wanted to educate women for the work force.”
“Many adults returning to school take it slow and go part-time while maintaining work and household responsibilities,” said Mallis Schneider Graves, ULC Outreach Specialist. “So, most of the time financial aid only covers a portion of their expenses.
The CBPW’s Scholarship Fund has helped many ULC adult students supplement their education expenses, so that they can continue striving to better their lives for themselves and their families.”
Peg did get the CBPW scholarship, not once, but twice. She said it not only gave her finances a boost, but her confidence as well.
“To me it was amazing,” she said. “I can remember meeting the ladies and thinking it’s so kind of you to look at me and see an investment. Because that’s what they are doing – they are investing in you. You don’t invest in a stock that’s worthless.”
Obviously, Peg is far from worthless. She not only received her diploma 27 years after she first started college, she became an employee at Procter & Gamble Co. and is working on her master’s degree at Xavier University. She also tutors female students at the ULC. “
I tell the women, I believe in you because someone believed in me,” she said. Peg shares that when she walked up to get her diploma at Northern Kentucky University, she heard someone yell, “Way to go Peg!”
“I looked and it was one of my professors from the second time I was at college, all those years ago.” she said. “He remembered me.”
Way to go Peg!
The Cincinnati Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship Fund of GCF was established in 1999. It is a part of The Women’s Fund Family of Funds.
Originally published in the 2006 Annual Report to the Community
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