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Connecting People and Places

We sat down with Dr. Monica Mitchell, Thriving People Advisory Committee co-chair, to talk about our new Community Investment framework rolled out in 2012. GCF’s volunteers and Community Investment staff worked closely on its development. Dr. Mitchell works on community engagement and research, program evaluation, and health and wellness promotion at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Monica MitchellWe sat down with Dr. Monica Mitchell, Thriving People Advisory Committee co-chair, to talk about our new Community Investment framework rolled out in 2012. GCF’s volunteers and Community Investment staff worked closely on its development. Dr. Mitchell works on community engagement and research, program evaluation, and health and wellness promotion at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

What do you find exciting about the new framework?

I think it gives us priorities to guide our work and allows us to communicate to the broader community – “here’s what GCF sees as community priorities and here’s an opportunity for you to align with our work.” GCF is also aligning with other funders that have the same priorities. (For example, United Way, The Strive Partnership, Agenda 360, Vision 2015.) It’s a very smart way to leverage the funds GCF has. GCF can invest its money along with other partners and have a greater impact beyond the Foundation’s resources.



What do you think will be the biggest change as a result?

I think in terms of outcomes, you have a chance to make a greater impact. It allows those applying for grants to be more clear. “While we may have three or four priorities, we’re coming to GCF with our health and wellness priority because that’s the one place where we most clearly align with what you’re doing.” Everyone can focus on win-wins and common agendas.

What comes to mind when you hear the words Thriving People and Vibrant Places?

It makes me think of communities and neighborhoods that are moving forward. In spite of economic conditions, or limitations, wherever that community is, it’s moving in the right direction.

When you think of a prosperous Greater Cincinnati region, what do you imagine?

I think it’s one that holds a bright future in terms of economics, especially for those who are up and coming, college graduates, those just finishing high school. Prosperous sounds futuristic, something that is hopeful for the future. It’s also a very hopeful term, something you are planning to happen as a next step. I think all these things are true in Cincinnati. You know when I first moved here, I was hesitant to call it home because I was thinking I would move back to the South. But now, there is nowhere else I’d rather live. When I moved here I saw Cincinnati as being very conservative but I think Cincinnati is one of the most progressive cities there is in terms of how we think about making change and impact. I think that GCF and its partners have a lot to do with that.

What are we looking to achieve through our community investment?

Our two top things are that we want people and places to thrive. I think the grantmaking framework speaks for itself. If we do all this, Cincinnati will thrive and we will have a better region.

How do you see this as a way to mobilize our donors?

I think it helps donors direct their funds more strategically according to their own interests and philosophies.

Is there anything you want to add?

I think the framework will be refined over time as we learn and I think the community will also evolve to better align to the priorities. GCF really invested in this process and we had great facilitators and good templates to work from. It’s clear this is a high priority for the Foundation, not just to do it but to get it right and ultimately result in better grantmaking and positive impact for the community.

Printed in the 2011 Annual Report



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