Greater Cincinnati Foundation invests to create a more inclusive community with innovation grants to 17 nonprofits

April 2, 2018

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.

Examples include:

  • Stepping Stones and Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship (CTRH) have agreed to pursue a shared project where Stepping Stones young adult members provide caretaking for CTRH horses, which will allow Stepping Stones participants to build relationships and meaning through caregiving.
  • Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired intends to expand a pilot program with Uber to allow people living with blindness and visual impairments greater independence in their daily lives.
  • Living Arrangements for the Delovepmentally Disabled (LADD) and Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati will partner closely to take a new approach to achieve employment with their members.
  • Milestones intends to partner with Northern Kentucky school districts to reduce bullying by having typical and disabled students take part in horse therapy together.
  • Envision and St. Joseph Home will train direct service staff on how to drive community inclusion. A portion of the training will be conducted by another cohort organization, Starfire.
  • Easter Seals Tristate plans to use social media to build initial connections between people with disabilities and other community members that they can then help translate into in-person interactions.

“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.

Learn more about the Creating Inclusive Communities Cohort

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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.”

About the Greater Cincinnati Foundation
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.