Improving our Ecosystem Through Community Volunteer Input

We want to see us all win, together

April 22, 2021

When dollars circulate in Black and brown communities – endless possibilities emerge. That is the critical importance of our regional ecosystem.

Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) understands that investing in Black entrepreneurship and small businesses creates better school systems, employment opportunities and livable wages for neighborhoods to thrive.

Throughout the years, countless community volunteers have provided feedback on the importance of GCF shifting its focus from solely large businesses to small businesses as well.

We listened. As a continuous learning organization, community input is critical to our development. 

GCF will continue to support minority business ownership and wealth building by actively showing up in the community, being intentional about strategic grantmaking, collaborating with various organizations like Praxis Matters, and using research to determine regional needs.

“We, as a community, have to support small businesses,” said Michael Coffey, Director, Racial Justice Fund. “We want Black communities to have leadership and capital.”

In response to COVID-19, GCF was able to support small businesses through local partnerships and also doubled-down on its contribution to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator (MBA).

The accelerator, created in 2003, focuses on reducing disparity in the region’s business community by driving economic activity for Black and Hispanic-owned companies.

Since 2015, GCF has contributed $375,000 to MBA.

GCF also established the Racial Justice Fund in 2020, with an initial commitment of $5 million. The Fund acts as a catalyst to ensure justice and fairness across all systems so people of color have voice power access and opportunity.

One of the first grant recipients of the Fund was MORTAR, an organization working to create diverse communities by enabling historically marginalized entrepreneurs and start-up companies to access the resources needed to start and run successful businesses.

79% percent of MORTAR’s participants are Black women, who face extra challenges as they are considered a double minority.

Want to amplify our impact on driving system change? Consider donating to the Racial Justice Fund.