News & Event
“Can I get into college even though I have a felony on my record?” Brandon is 17 years old and began taking classes at CATC last fall after he was released from juvenile prison.
He is one of 300-plus Cincinnati Public School juniors and seniors at risk of not graduating. CATC teachers use fine arts to encourage students like Brandon, who have often experienced a lot of failure and think of themselves as nonachievers.
Brandon and Laura Greene-White, CATC Director of Education, recently reflected on his first week at CATC.
“Do you realize how brave it was of you to get up and ask that question?” Laura asked the teen. “You probably asked the question others were afraid to ask.”
Brandon smiled at this praise and said that when he was in juvenile prison, he was told that it was quite likely he would turn into a statistic and return.
“How did that make you feel?” Laura asked.
“It put me low. I felt like I couldn’t do anything but get through high school,” he replied.
This interaction with Brandon is typical of Laura’s day. As she walks through the bright CATC classrooms in Longworth Hall, she knows all the students’ names and asks them specific questions about paperwork and plans.
For instance, a female student is considering transferring to another high school program. Laura asks her if she is aware that if she does this, she will no longer be eligible for some college scholarships and sends the student to visit the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative representative on staff who is there to help students with college access.
A student beams when Laura compliments his pottery. She reminds another boy to take off his hat. He obviously doesn’t want to but does it with a respectful smile and “yes ma’am.”
Laura explains that the CATC staff work on building up confidence as well as teaching students that in order to succeed in the real world, they need to understand the value of working hard.
“They don’t understand what the world requires of them – no one has taught them,” she said. “We look at their strengths first. To put effort into the work, you need to feel your efforts are positive. We tell them what’s right and then give them the tools to grow. Kids know when you’re trying to help elevate them and for these kids, art is the perfect vehicle.”
CATC was modeled after the successful Manchester Bidwell Training Center in Pittsburgh founded by Bill Strickland.
“Strickland’s concept is that if you provide children with high expectations, they will rise to meet them,” CATC Board Chairman Lee Carter said. “It’s CEO Linda Tresvant, Laura and all the other teachers that make this work. They are dedicated to these children.”
As for Brandon, he learned that he can go to college.
“I was hopeless, but now my goals in life can be accomplished,” he said. “It’s like art is my new life.”
Brandon still faces obstacles. The teen said there is a lot of gang activity where he lives with an aunt and cousin. He tries to keep his schedule packed by working two jobs and going to CATC.
Laura reinforced his choices. “Do you know how brilliant you are?” she asked him. “You are creating a schedule and a place to be so you’re not available for trouble.”
Brandon plans to go to college and study criminal justice. He and Laura discuss the possibility of him someday using art to help children in juvenile prison.
“I saw a lot of people with talent in jail,” he says. “I can help people who were in my shoes. You can’t reach everyone. If you reach one person – it’s all right.”
It’s hard to believe Brandon won’t reach more than one person.
CATC received $275,000 for start-up funding in 2003 from Better Together Cincinnati (BTC), a funders collaborative managed by GCF.
Educational attainment is one of three goals that BTC focuses on to develop lasting solutions to racial equity. In 2005, CATC received a $100,000 grant from GCF. It has also received support from donor advised funds and one of GCF’s Private Foundation Grantmaking Services clients.
CINCINNATI (April 25, 2018) — The Greater Cincinnati Foundation recently awarded $255,000 in grants to 17 local nonprofits to drive greater belonging, independence and authorship with and for people with disabilities. All grants awarded were made in partnership with GCF donors past and present.
GCF is hosting these organizations for a year-long learning journey and challenging them to seek collaborative solutions to maximize impact. In partnership with the nonprofit social innovation firm, Design Impact, organizations are participating in 1,334 hours of training and dialogue to change their approaches and learn from one another.
“The idea of a person with a disability fully belonging to their community, we have big barriers to that,” said Dan Connors, CEO, St. Joseph Home. “We need to think differently about how we’re going to solve this problem.”
The priorities for this funding cycle include strengthening partnerships, building a community of belonging and redefining the way things have always been done. The priorities were created in conjunction with the participating organizations. Each nonprofit received a $15,000 in support to test their innovative concepts as well as a series of trainings throughout the year.
“We’re always asked to show the efficacy of what we’re doing when we need funding,” said Rob Seideman, CTRH’s executive director. “So we rely on those things that we do well. But if we’re going to work with people in new ways, we need to change what we’re doing. And that’s what’s so great about this opportunity.”
More than $25,000 awarded in this grant cycle represent donor co-investments.
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“It is an honor to work side by side with these experts in their field who are so passionate about figuring out new ways to create even more meaningful lives for those they exist to serve,” said Molly Robertshaw, GCF program officer.
“This funding effort represents GCF’s interest in being a nimble and innovative partner for nonprofits,” said Ellen M. Katz, president/CEO. “We want to help our community to build a region where everyone can thrive.”
As the region’s leading community foundation, the 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. As of 2017, GCF is the 35th largest U.S. community foundation with net assets of $636 million.
View full list of nonprofits receiving grants [PDF]
CINCINNATI (October 17, 2017) — NASA Astronaut, American Engineer, physician and STEM advocate Dr. Mae Jemison will be the next speaker for The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s A Conversation With event on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at the Cintas Center.
General admission tickets are $50 each and will go on sale in late January 2018. Host and hostess tickets are $250 each, include a private reception with Dr. Jemison, and are on sale now at www.cincinnatiwomensfund.org. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available.
Following her time in NASA, Dr. Jemison founded both The Jemison Group and BioSentient Corporation. A technology consulting firm, The Jemison Group explores and develops stand-alone science and technology programs, integrating the critical impact of socio-cultural issues with revolutionary technologies. Among The Jemison Group's groundbreaking work is a project to use satellite technology for health care delivery in West Africa and another to use solar dish Stirling engines for electricity generation in developing countries.
In addition to all her work, Dr. Jemison is a highly sought-after speaker on issues of health care, social responsibility, technology and motivation. She has appeared on BBC, The McNeil Lehrer Report, ABC Nightline, NPR and CNN.
The Women's Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation leads our community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region. Through leadership, research, and policy advocacy, The Women’s Fund works to identify and address the barriers affecting working women and their families. Learn more and get involved at www.cincinnatiwomensfund.org.