Empowering Communities Annual Fund

November 9, 2021

If you haven’t already had the pleasure, let me introduce you to a partner in our work, Robert Killins, Jr. Robert is Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s (GCF) Director, Special Initiatives and a long-time community leader. He’s often humble about his impact, but as a close partner in our work, I think it’s important you have insight on what people like him make possible. Here’s a snapshot of how Robert spends his day:

7:47 am
Robert departs his home in the West End, walking to GCF’s new home at the Sawyer Point Building. He’s already on the phone with an Avondale nonprofit leader who wants his take – they want to be sure they have invited all the right organizations to the table as they begin development of a community-wide plan.

8:15 am
Next order of business: grant application review for a local private foundation. They’re focused on funding regional programs and institutions that improve the quality of life for all in our region.

10:30 am
Robert attends his weekly meeting with GCF program officers and leadership. The focus: areas where there is overlap in community change initiatives and how we might serve as connector.

11:43 am
A quick walk to lunch at Skyline Chili with a Middletown organization. They’re seeking insight into possible opportunities for financing for the development of additional low-income apartment units for families.

2:15 pm
On his walk back to the office, Robert catches up by phone with two NKY organizations. They want to follow up on an earlier conversation about strategy for a neighborhood revitalization project.

3:07 pm
Robert prepares for the following week’s conference presentation on findings of the Housing Our Future Report and how Cincinnati is addressing gaps in housing access.

4:00 pm
Final meeting of the day: a planning session with local, Black philanthropists spearheading a giving circle focused on organizations working to address racial inequities faced by emancipated youth, young children and single mothers in our region.

Have you ever wondered how change really happens in a community? At GCF, we know people are at the center.

Robert is just one of many on our team directly connecting with nonprofits, businesses and civic leaders from across our community to ensure a wholistic approach and access to resources, ideas and solutions. A commitment to community is at the core of GCF and its people.

Each day, GCF team members are closely working with our partners across sectors, from hunger to housing, to education and the environment. Doing so uniquely positions GCF with a bird’s eye view to solve problems most effectively. Greater Cincinnati Foundation is a place that churns ideas into action and assets into impact. It is work that is driven by people with passion.

In 2021 the GCF team, including Robert, made an incredible impact through efforts such as:

Connecting Our Students: At the start of the pandemic, thousands of students were at a standstill when the pandemic shut down schools. GCF spearheaded a partnership between Cincinnati Bell, Cincinnati Public Schools and other local funders, bringing over 7,000+ students online. This quick and responsive leadership provided vital access to students who would have otherwise fallen behind during the 2020-2021 school year.

Housing Investment: The need for affordable housing has continued to increase in our region. Through leadership like Robert’s, and innovative funding alongside our donors, we drove a strategy that helped create nearly 150 new housing units across seven neighborhoods, providing families with the housing stability critical to moving out of poverty.

Matters of Justice: For decades GCF has been committed to advancing matters of fairness and justice in our community. In 2021 we listened – to residents, nonprofits and stakeholders across sectors – to learn from everyday experts what is needed most and the role GCF must play. We are laser focused on the systems that uniquely support communities of color and deployed over $1 million to organizations focused on this work.

And More: To read more about additional initiatives championed by your community foundation, please
visit gcfdn.org/impactstories.

Community foundations, like GCF, exist to support the community they serve as the needs and opportunities of the region change over time. We are able to take that commitment to the next level because of the support from donors – like you. Your gift to the Empowering Communities Annual Fund will ensure we can continue to step forward as leaders for our community. Will you join hundreds of others in our region by contributing to ensure this work continues?

Your generosity matters to our community. See the enclosed form for ways to make your impact.

Thank you for fueling the work that will drive change in our community. Your gift makes a difference.

Gratefully Yours,

Ellen M. Katz
President/CEO

P.S. As we embark upon 2022, the Empowering Communities Annual Fund will continue to fuel the work of Robert and others at the foundation ensuring our region’s future is more vibrant and equitable for all. Please give generously today.