News & Event
An article several years ago in the Cincinnati Enquirer painted a bleak image of the Millvale/South Cumminsville neighborhood.
“There’s not much reason to come here,” a reporter wrote. The article describes a neighborhood without essentials – no bank, pharmacy, or grocery store. One thing Millvale/South Cumminsville does have is a high foreclosure rate and widespread poverty.
But it also has a beautiful new school, the Ethel M. Taylor Academy, where staff and community members are striving for change with the creation of a community learning center (CLC).
CLCs are more than just school buildings. They offer academic programs, enrichment activities and support for students, families and community members – before and after school, during the evening and on weekends. Partnerships with businesses, community organizations, public agencies, the arts community and faith-based organizations bring these services and resources to the school.
When The Greater Cincinnati Foundation staff member, Helen Mattheis, visited Ethel M. Taylor Academy, she experienced how this CLC is turning on the light of opportunity for its children and families.
“I learned that children were arriving at school hungry and many were going home on weekends to houses without enough food,” she shared. “As a result, local volunteers now send students home on Friday afternoons with two peanut butter sandwiches, two pieces of fruit and two granola bars.”
Helen witnessed this hunger first hand and saw that the problem isn’t limited to the neighborhood’s children.
“The afternoon I was there, a little girl, about six, came in with her mother to the resource coordinator if she could get her sandwiches. The mother humbly asked if she could have a bag of food too,” Helen said.
The Academy also provides a free breakfast and lunch to all students and has collaborated with the Freestore Foodbank’s Kids Café to provide children with dinner Monday through Thursday.
Helen also met a six-year-old boy who had acted out in class.
“After spending time with the school’s mental health professional, it was found that he had issues going on at home,” Helen said. “Instead of this being dealt with as a behavioral incident, it was dealt with appropriately and the little boy received the assistance he needed.”
Helen’s visit ended with a little girl who came skipping out of the library and came right over to her and Annie.
“She had just finished her guitar lesson and was so excited to play and sing it for us. She played and sang several verses of ‘This little light of mine.’ She had the sweetest voice and was so proud of herself. She just belted it out.
“When I read the negative story in the paper about the neighborhood, I thought of this little girl singing her song. I really felt that this beautiful facility was the light in the community for the children who go to school there.”
This school is just one example of the wide range of community support a CLC can provide to meet the needs of each community it serves. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation committed $1 million over four years to community learning centers in 2006.
Read more about Cincinnati Public Schools’ community learning centers.
All CPS students can have free broadband internet service from Cincinnati Bell through Connect Our Students program
CINCINNATI (August 25, 2020) — The Connect Our Students program has met its goal to provide free broadband internet access through Cincinnati Bell to every Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) student for the 2020-21 school year. The volunteer-led initiative primarily is funded by Accelerate Great Schools in partnership with GE Aviation; Fifth Third Foundation; Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, N.A., Trustee; Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF); and donors across the region.
One out of four CPS families don’t have broadband internet access at home. This equates to roughly 3,500 families and 8,500 children for whom school became inaccessible when education shifted online last spring at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This digital divide disproportionally affects Black and Latinx students.
“The Fifth Third Foundation is dedicated to supporting those who are in need, especially during times of distress,” said Heidi Jark, senior vice president and managing director of the Foundation Office. “We are closing the staggering digital divide by joining other organizations in providing broadband internet access – an educational necessity – to our local students.”
CPS recently announced that the district will have distance learning for at least the first five weeks of the upcoming school year and that all Pre-K through 12th-grade students will have devices. Students in grades pre-K through 1 will receive an iPad. Older students will receive laptops. Every CPS family can sign up for the Connect Our Students program. More than 1,700 CPS students have been provided internet service through the program so far.
“The digital divide is an especially challenging obstacle for urban school districts. We are grateful to all of the wonderful organizations and donors who have contributed to the Connect Our Students program, ensuring every child in our CPS family is able to effectively learn in a distance environment,” shared Laura Mitchell, superintendent of CPS. “We encourage all CPS families who don't have internet access in their homes today, to call and sign up immediately. If you've recently moved, please ensure your contact information is updated in our system by calling your school or our customer service line at 513-363-0123.”
Tens of thousands of public school students in Greater Cincinnati do not have reliable computers and broadband internet connections. After a successful pilot program this summer, Connect Our Students will improve digital equity through its partnership with Cincinnati Bell, which is providing low-cost internet connectivity to students across the region (less than $17/month or $200/year). Thanks to the generosity of the community, CPS families will get the service for free for one year, with no installation or equipment fees.
After signing up, families can install the service themselves or request a technician to install it for them in a matter of days. Cincinnati Bell will not hold past balances against any family. The service includes measures to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act to limit access to harmful content and ensure the safety of children.
“The digital divide widens opportunity gaps between students across Cincinnati. Without internet access at home, students lose valuable learning time during this period of distance learning," explains Brian Neal, CEO of the Cincinnati-based non-profit Accelerate Great Schools. "This initiative will help ensure that all Cincinnati students have equal access to remote learning this school year.”
“When generous organizations and people come together, we are a force to be reckoned with,” said Ellen M. Katz, president/CEO of GCF. “Thank you to the Fifth Third Foundation; Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, N.A., Trustee; Accelerate Great Schools; and our donors for creating an equitable playing field for our children.”
To sign up, call Cincinnati Bell’s dedicated Connect Our Students line at 513-566-3895.
Connect Our Students also is funded by The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. U.S. Bank Foundation; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Interact for Health; Strive Partnership; American Sound and Electronics; Difference Maker Legacy Fund; United Way of Greater Cincinnati; Cincinnati Regional Business Committee; the Giovani Bernard Family Foundation; and Jenny and Tom Williams.
If you are interested in supporting this initiative, visit connectourstudents.org to donate to support parent outreach and technology support for CPS families.
About Accelerate Great Schools
Accelerate Great Schools (AGS) is a non-profit with the mission to ensure every student in Cincinnati – regardless of zip code – has access to great schools. Since 2015, AGS has invested in district, Archdiocesan, and high-quality, non-profit charter schools to ensure all families have great school options. GE Aviation provides funding to Accelerate Great Schools to support district investments.
About The Fifth Third Foundation
Established in 1948, the Fifth Third Foundation was one of the first philanthropic foundations established by a financial institution. The Fifth Third Foundation supports worthwhile organizations in the areas of education, health and human services, community development and the arts.
About Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee
Created in 1903, the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, N.A., Trustee, supports charitable or educational purposes; for relief in sickness, suffering and distress; for the care of young children, the aged or the helpless or afflicted; for the promotion of education, and to improve living conditions.
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.
CINCINNATI (October 18, 2016) — The Women’s Fund, is proud to join our partners at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation to show our support of Issue 44 for Cincinnati Public Schools and Preschool Promise.
We believe a successful educational career begins with quality preschool, taught by appropriately paid teachers. Issue 44 strengthens our K-12 public school system and expands access to high quality preschool.
The Women’s Fund works to improve women’s economic self-sufficiency in our community. We know several things affect a woman’s ability to be self-sufficient, but three of the critical factors are:
This levy addresses these factors and so much more. Issue 44 will provide access to high-quality preschool for children in Cincinnati and also increase the wages for preschool teachers to at least $15.00 an hour.
We know preschool is a fundamental building block in a child’s ability to enter kindergarten ready to learn. More than 40% of students in Cincinnati enter kindergarten already behind, and the gap is even greater among low-income children. Research shows quality preschool makes a major difference. It impacts readiness to learn, increases high school graduation rates and builds the behavioral and social skills necessary for success in life. Benefits extend to parents, neighborhoods, employers, and communities because increased achievement and employability reduces crime and adds to family stability, social cohesion, and economic prosperity.
Issue 44 will also increase wages for preschool teachers to at least $15.00 an hour. Currently, 95.6% of childcare workers are women, and 80% of single parent childcare workers with young children are on public benefits. These professionals are entrusted to teach our children at the most critical time of their brain development, yet we pay them the same wage as parking lot attendants. The time is now to address the low wages in this female-dominated space, and this levy does just that.
In our new PULSE Briefing, we outline the many reasons why increased wages for childcare workers improves educational qualifications, improves staff stability and ultimately increases program quality.
Check out our latest PULSE Briefing
CINCINNATI (April 14, 2017) — Princeton City School District won a $100,000 grant for its mobile book center through a local literacy grant competition supported by Scripps Howard Foundation, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation and WCPO 9 On Your Side.
Princeton City Schools received this grant during the Scripps Howard Awards, the prestigious annual journalism recognition program presented by Scripps Howard Foundation, on April 12. The remaining finalists, Dayton Independent Schools and The Children’s Home of Cincinnati, each received a $25,000 grant to support their literacy programs.
Princeton City Schools Wins $100,000 Literacy Grant
Watch Princeton City School District receive the $100,000 literacy grant from Scripps Howard Foundation, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation and WCPO - 9 On Your Side. Find out more: http://bit.ly/2paQYoz
Posted by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation on Thursday, April 13, 2017
Watch Princeton City School District receive the $100,000 literacy grant from Scripps Howard Foundation, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation and WCPO - 9 On Your Side. Find out more: http://bit.ly/2paQYoz
Having trouble? Watch on Facebook.
The $100,000 grant will fund Princeton City School District's year-round book mobile center. This volunteer-driven project brings books and tutoring into the community, enabling families to borrow and access materials and technology. Teachers and volunteers will engage parents and young children in forms of play to introduce pre-reading skills, vocabulary and skills to express ideas with clarity and grammar.
The $25,000 grant to Dayton Independent Schools will support its “Readers are Leaders” program. The school district wants to put books in the hands of the Northern Kentucky town’s 560 children from newborns through first-graders.
The $25,000 grant to The Children’s Home of Cincinnati will support SPARK: Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids, a program that promotes early literacy in the home by supporting kindergarten readiness for children ages 3-5.
By empowering children to read, the grant recipients help them to escape the cycle of poverty that can plague generations of families.
Scripps Howard Foundation, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation and WCPO 9 On Your Side selected the top three finalists, out of a field of 14 nonprofit applicants, for $150,000 in grants to support childhood literacy initiatives in impoverished neighborhoods in the Tristate. Interested nonprofits submitted their letters of intent in February. The funders reviewed those forms and narrowed the field to 14.
Dedicated to excellence in journalism, the Scripps Howard Foundation educates, empowers and honors extraordinary journalists who illuminate community issues, and partners with impactful organizations to drive change and improve lives. As the philanthropic arm of The E.W. Scripps Company, the Foundation is a leader in industry efforts in journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development, literacy and First Amendment causes. With a special commitment to the regions where Scripps does business, the Foundation helps build thriving communities.
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 2016, GCF had net assets of $563 million.
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of the communities where its customers live and work. The foundation provides more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts. The foundation’s education focus spans kindergarten to career, particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), early childhood literacy and workforce development. It also supports the environment and community impact initiatives, including arts and culture. Duke Energy employees and retirees actively contribute to their communities as volunteers and leaders at a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. Duke Energy is committed to building on its legacy of community service.
CINCINNATI (May 3, 2016) — Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced today that the company has delivered its 10 billionth liter of clean drinking water through the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program.
To mark the occasion, P&G is offering a 10-1 donation match. For every U.S. $1 donated to the program by consumers from May 3, 2016 – May 31, 2016, the company will donate U.S. $10, up to a total P&G contribution of $1 million, to the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Fund, which is a charitable fund managed by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. Read more about this initiative from P&G.
Children's Safe Drinking Water started in 2004, works with more than 150 partners and organizations to provide clean drinking water to those who lack access to clean water.
The 10 billionth liter was shared with Margarita, Gabriel and their children Alejandro and Lorena who are part of a World Vision community project near Oaxaca, Mexico.
It only takes $7.50 to provide a year’s worth of clean water to a child and $30 to share a year’s worth of clean water with a family of five. You can donate now and have P&G multiply your donation by ten.
For more information, visit csdw.org.
P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Always®, Ambi Pur®, Ariel®, Bounty®, Charmin®, Crest®, Dawn®, Downy®, Fairy®, Febreze®, Gain®, Gillette®, Head & Shoulders®, Lenor®, Olay®, Oral-B®, Pampers®, Pantene®, SK-II®, Tide®, Vicks®, and Whisper®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Please visit www.pg.com for the latest news and information about P&G and its brands.
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.
Stephanie Sears said she visited the Kentucky Career Center to find out if there was any way she could support her family and herself.
She was doubtful.
“My exact words were, ‘I know you can’t help me. I know I’m a lost cause, I’ll leave now,’” Stephanie said.
Stephanie is far from alone. According to research by The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, 90 percent of all female-held jobs in the region pay insufficient wages for a single parent with three children. Two out of three children in poverty live in female-headed households.
As a mother of three children, one with a chronic medical condition requiring nursing care, Stephanie said the career counselor gave her “a little air of hope.” She handed her a Raise the Floor brochure.
Raise the Floor is a program that provides training and certification in manufacturing skills for women. Currently, there are more than 600 unfilled manufacturing jobs in Boone County. Raise the Floor meets the needs of employers while raising women and children out of poverty. The program is based out of Gateway Community and Technical College and is a collaboration of the school, Partners for a Competitive Workforce, 4C for Children, The Women’s Fund, and local manufacturers.
“Women and children living in poverty in our area have reached critical levels,” said Meghan Cummings, executive director of The Women’s Fund. “We can help these families by getting the moms on stable footing. These manufacturing careers achieve just that.”
Raise the Floor has a holistic approach and develops support systems such as transportation, child care, job placement, and career services. The 16-week certified production technician certification course has flexible hours. Scholarships for tuition are available.
During Stephanie’s time as a student, she faced more than the usual obstacles. Her children were out of school for 26 inclement weather days; she had a minor surgery; her kitchen caught on fire.
“If it wasn’t for the support I got here, I don’t know what I would have done,” she said. “When I finished and they said I had a 4.0, I told them to check again.”
Now that Stephanie has earned her certification, she can go directly into the workforce or continue to earn an associate’s degree. The career pathways offered through the certification and degree include computer-aided drafting and design, computerized manufacturing and machining, electrical technology, industrial maintenance, manufacturing engineering technology, supply chain management, and welding technology.
Stephanie has chosen to continue on with her associate’s degree, working her way toward self-sufficiency. In its two-year history, the program has served 75 women: 32 are employed in manufacturing jobs, 18 are employed in non-manufacturing jobs, and eight are seeking additional education.
Stephanie, who describes her former life as “a circle of defeat,” urges others to advance through Raise the Floor.
“Dive into it,” she said. “Dedicate those weeks in your life and after that, not only will you be able to get a higher paying job, you can go on and get your degree.”
The Women’s Fund is a partner of Raise the Floor. Thanks to the generosity of donors, The Women's Fund has granted money for participant child care expenses and supported a workshop for area employers.
Partners for a Competitive Workforce, a Raise the Floor partner, was founded by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation in 2008 and housed by GCF through 2011. It is now managed by United Way of Greater Cincinnati. It has received $902,000 in support from GCF.
In 2014, The Women’s Fund released PULSE: 2020 Jobs and Gender Outlook (prepared by the UC Economics Center). The report shines a light on the fact that, based on current trends, job growth in our region is not likely to result in uniform prosperity for both genders.
Published in the 2015 Annual Report to the Community.
Serving a role in his family's foundation was a natural progression for Andrew MacAoidh Jergens. His late father, Andrew Nicholas Jergens, established The Andrew Jergens Foundation in 1962 and he become involved soon after.
In contrast, Andrew's wife, Linda Busken Jergens married into the foundation. A former clinical social worker in New York City, she said becoming a trustee provided her an additional means of making a difference in the lives of children.
"There are great needs in this city that have to do with children and here I was being invited to address them from another angle, helping envision and support possibilities,” Linda said.
The Andrew Jergens Foundation focuses on organizations that benefit the health, education, social welfare and cultural experiences of children. It is Andrew and Linda's belief that it is more effective to encourage the development of a child rather than rehabilitate an adult.
"I have a particular interest in supporting the arts for children because so much has been taken away from the public schools," Linda said. "Enhancing creativity helps children realize who they are."
Linda was eager for several reasons to become a trustee in the late 1970s, particularly because there were not many women involved in Cincinnati's nonprofit boards.
"Boards need a balance of males and females," she said. "I noticed the near absence of women's voices on these boards and this angered me."
"It is a privilege and a responsibility to have a voice and make decisions with the other trustees that we hope make a difference in the lives of our community's children," she added.
Several years ago, Andrew began to think about the future of The Andrew Jergens Foundation.
"Provisions for the future had to be made,” he said. "The average age of four of our family trustees is 68 (there are 11 trustees)."
Linda agreed, saying she is committed to the survival of small foundations.
"I feel strongly that in a city like Cincinnati when small foundations go out of business, dissolve, the community loses: a piece of its energy is gone, a part of its life-giving breath is extinguished," she said.
"When the foundation makes possible a roof for a school or a play-safe playground, puppet theatre performances or excursions to a museum, I have to believe a child's life is enhanced."
Beginning in 2004, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation began offering its expertise to family and private foundations.
Private foundations can take advantage of GCF's extensive community knowledge and its grantmaking services. GCF's staff help identify grantmaking priorities, process grant requests and conduct reviews, monitor and evaluate grant recipients and administer all grantmaking activity, including board meeting management.
With GCF's help, The Andrew Jergens Foundation will continue its good work for Cincinnati's children.
"I find it a great relief to have GCF involved," Andrew said. "As the chair of this foundation, I take great comfort in knowing that the good work and the important legacy of The Andrew Jergens Foundation will continue in some manner into the future."
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