News & Event
As a nurse, Mary Ann worked 40 hours a week and overtime whenever she could. She always paid her bills on time and helped to take care of her extended family. Then she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
After months off work for surgeries and treatments, Mary Ann was overwhelmed with overdue bills, a mound of new medical bills and only a meager short-term disability income. She applied to several assistance programs, but was rejected due to her income.
A friend told Mary Ann about the St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy (SVDP), where she now gets her medications. Without the Charitable Pharmacy Mary Ann said, “I don’t know what I would do. My bills simply exceeded my pay.”
She was finally approved for Medicaid, but some of the generic medications covered by Medicaid do not react well with the other prescriptions so she came back to SVDP until that can be adjusted. “Hopefully, I won’t need SVDP much longer,” said Mary Ann.
The SVDP Charitable Pharmacy was a Weathering the Economic Storm grantee. When this story was written in 2010, $245,800 has been given in the area of prescription medication assistance.
*This story was originally published in GCF’s 2009 Annual Report to the Community.
When Jim Landers ventured into the boiler room of his parish, St. Antoninus Church, he was taken aback.
“I thought, ‘Holy smoly!’” Jim said. “It’s ancient. It’s 1957 equipment looking at you. It looked like one of those big iron stoves times ten.”
Jim’s original visit to the boiler room was due to concern by Rev. Christopher Armstrong about energy bills from the parish school. Jim, a retired civil engineer, joined forces with volunteers on the building and grounds committee and St. Antoninus Business Manager Steffany Reid.
Steffany was well versed in the problems lurking in the boiler room. She often crossed her fingers that the maintenance person could “bandage” frequent setbacks or that calling a repair company would not be costly.
St. Antoninus Church and Parish School, nestled on Cincinnati’s West Side, includes a school, daycare, rectory and chapel. It’s the church home to 1,400 families; the school has 470 students, kindergarten through eight. Its families and the church itself have been stung by the recession.
“We’ve always supplemented tuition,” Steffany said. “And we try to keep tuition low. But because of the economy, we’re struggling too. Donations are down. We need to save any way we can. This year an additional 25 families needed help.”
Keeping this in mind, a new boiler seemed out of the question. But Steffany had done her homework. She had read about the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA), a nonprofit that helps owners of homes and buildings invest in energy efficiency. GCEA also has a program for nonprofits (this includes houses of worship) that frees financial resources for organizational missions by reducing energy costs. Once a nonprofit completes an energy assessment, GCEA will pay 35 percent of the work that needs to be done if a selected contractor is used.
“I think it’s great what GCEA is doing,” said Ez Housh of Monroe Mechanical, who installed St. Antoninus’ boiler. “Especially in this economic time, it’s hard for people to do things even if it saves them money. Even if it makes economic sense, you have to spend money to get started. The GCEA grant gives you a boost and gets you started.”
Not only does GCEA help nonprofits put money back into programming, it’s reducing the carbon footprint and creating jobs in the contracting industry.
“The fact that you can create jobs is important,” said Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director and GCEA founder. “We also work with businesses on their needs.
For example, we created an equipment-leasing program (for contractors doing energy audits). Energy audit equipment is expensive and many can’t afford it. This allows the businesses to lease to own.”
Between December 2010 and March 2011, St. Antoninus’ savings for natural gas use were more than $8,000 compared to the same period the previous year.
Estimated payback for the project, with the GCEA incentive factored in, is 9.5 years. The church plans to continue to make energy-saving changes with the help of GCEA.
In other words, without crippling heating bills, more money can go back to educating students. And that makes a positive impact on our environment.
About the Greater Cincinnati Energy AllianceGCF is one of two initial funders of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. Since its inception, GCEA has received more than $425,000 in grants from GCF. GCEA’s offices are located in the Foundation’s office building, The Robert & Ruth Westheimer Center for Philanthropy. Learn more online at greatercea.org.
Printed in the 2010 Annual Report
Bill and Sue Friedlander get things done.
A peek at their resumés reveals an impressive list of professional and volunteer accomplishments and awards. This modest couple downplays their work and contributions.
Bill, Chairman Emeritus of Bartlett & Co., has been honored as a Great Living Cincinnatian and Sue as a Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year.
Last fall, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation presented them with the 2009 Jacob E. Davis Volunteer Leadership Award. The Award honors community-minded citizens who volunteer their time and leadership skills to make Greater Cincinnati a better place to live.
“I don’t like talking about myself,” Sue admitted. They do open up about teaching the importance of giving to their grandchildren and about their long relationship with GCF.
In 2008, the plunging economy inspired Sue to send their family an e-mail suggesting they forgo Christmas gifts and instead give to the charities of their choice.
“I had immediate responses from every grandchild and one granddaughter, who is about to graduate from high school, wrote back, ‘I can’t tell you how happy you made me feel.’ So it worked!” Sue said. “I was thrilled that they agreed with me. I think they genuinely agreed from their hearts.”
The following summer, the entire family participated in a two-day retreat to talk about giving away money and helping the community. One of the charitable tools discussed was Bill and Sue’s GCF donor advised fund which becomes an unrestricted fund at their deaths, adding to the resources GCF has to meet the future needs of this region.
Bill and Sue have been involved with GCF for more than 25 years; Bill served as a Board member and as Volunteer Director at a pivotal point in the Foundation’s development. Sue has served as a member of the Women’s Fund Advisory Board.
“Community foundations are key players in that they know more about the needs and specific problems in the community,” Bill said. He also noted that people could establish field of interest or unrestricted funds that will benefit the community far into the future, either with gifts during their lifetime or with a bequest in their will.
“We (GCF) have about $400 million dollars now, and give out millions a year — that’s a significant boon to the community. I don’t know any other organization that does that,” he added. “So, there are people that have the knowledge and the people that have the funds. It seems to me that’s a nice combination.”
GCF’s Jacob E. Davis Volunteer Leadership Award was named after GCF’s first Governing Board Chairman and Volunteer Director. Jake Davis could also be thanked for introducing Bill and Sue to GCF.
Bill became acquainted with Jake, then President of the Kroger Co., when he was raising money for the Fine Arts Fund. Jake was looking for young people to get involved with GCF and approached Bill.
The talented couple said that in all their years of volunteering they have only worked together once — on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s (CSO) Century 21 Fund.
“When we were approached, I got excited but I thought, ‘will the marriage survive this?’ Sue laughed. “But it was good! It worked.” Of course it worked — they exceeded their goal and raised $45 million for the CSO’s endowment, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows this couple — truly a nice combination.
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.
As we wrap up 2019, we look back at our very impactful year of moving forward on many fronts! As your community foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is grateful for the support of and partnerships with our donors, nonprofit partners and community stakeholders to bring about a more equitable future for everyone in our region.