Collective giving makes us stronger, together

Now more than ever, GCF is helping donors leverage and strengthen their giving and build support in our community with many different approaches. When harnessing the power of collective giving – connecting individuals to learn about community needs and unite by pooling resources for impactful solutions – GCF lends its local expertise, connectivity and funding to engage our partners in active philanthropy. We know that when we give together, we are working towards a common goal and creating a sense of solidarity and community that is essential to building a more just and equitable society. Here are a few opportunities.

A Special Gift

“What should we give to this year?” is a question GCF staff are commonly asked. In response, GCF offers a request for funding opportunity to local nonprofits and selects ten organizations to be featured in the A Special Gift, a booklet published annually and distributed to all GCF donors. This donor-funded effort, combined with a GCF $25,000 match, introduces diverse local nonprofits, sparks conversations and brings awareness to unique projects serving community needs. In 2022, A Special Gift had a record-breaking year, with a total of 32 families contributing to fulfill the wishes.

Matching Gift Campaigns

When natural disasters strike or humanitarian crises arise, GCF works to serve as a directional resource. As the crisis in Ukraine began in 2022, three donors approached GCF about inspiring our community to support our international neighbors. Together with these donors, GCF facilitated a $100,000 matching opportunity and identified nonprofits that were providing excellent relief work. Our community responded immediately and generously to support the people of Ukraine, doubling the impact with more than $200,000 of support.

Impact Investing

Want to make a gift that will have a significant social return as well as principal and financial returns? GCF was the nation’s first community foundation to invite donors to join in impact investing—loans or equity investments that address a critical community issue and have the potential to return the dollars back to donor funds after a period of time and with a bit of interest. Offering more than a dozen different impact investments over the last 15 years, GCF and donors are now focused on a charitable loan that is creating more affordable housing in our region. GCF and donors have pooled more than $3 million, which so far have provided 760 affordable housing units for local families.  

Cincinnati Black and LGBTQ+ Giving Circles

Identity groups can create strong philanthropic coalitions. One example of this collective giving strategy is the Cincinnati Black Giving Circle. A group of Black Americans collectively raise funds to support Black-led or Black-serving local nonprofits that are routinely neglected by traditional philanthropy. In the past three years, the group has raised $370,000, including $75,000 from GCF, and awarded the pool to 11 nonprofits. Similarly, GCF launched the LGBTQ+ Giving Circle in 2022 to fund local organizations addressing needs in the LGBTQ community. Choosing to focus on safe shelter and affordable housing access for vulnerable LGBTQ+ residents, the members of this Giving Circle and GCF together granted $40,000 to three organizations addressing this need. 

Summertime Kids and Learning Links

Sometimes a “small but mighty” grant is all that is needed to make a difference in school classrooms or for youth programs during the summer months. For many years, GCF, in partnership with the Charles H. Dater Foundation and donors, has offered $1,000 grants to local organizations and schools to help them provide creative activities and educational projects. With more than 400 grant applications received every year, GCF enlists donors and other community partners to assess and make funding recommendations. As they review, volunteers learn about the creative approaches so many educators pursue to give kids enriching experiences, while playing a role in making those projects happen.

GCF continues to explore new ways to meaningfully engage donors and connect them with the community. To learn how you can join other like-minded individuals, contact your GCF Philanthropic Advisor or call GCF directly at 513-241-2880.