News & Event
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and several others in 2020 highlighted a long history of community and police tension across the nation.
The Greater Cincinnati region is not omitted from this notion of bias policing, police reform and misconduct. We have our past. However, we also have our present and the potential growth toward an equitable future for all.
For years, nonprofits and groups such as the Ohio Justice & Policy Center (OJPC) and Cincinnati Black United Front (CBUF), have lifted-up grassroots voices and their lived experiences, championed reform at multiple levels of government and trained new cohorts of leaders to sustain continued progress.
Iris Roley, a social activist and founder of CBUF, says, “We just want fair, equitable and transparent treatment. Cincinnati has a history of community and police tension. We haven’t left the table, because there is still work to be done. This is about the process to change the policy.”
Iris has tirelessly given 15 years of her life dedicated to the reform of police departments and the implementation of public policy. She is also the proud partner of RoSho Awards & Graphics, the only Black Owned engraving company in the region.
OJPC was one of the first grant recipients to receive funding from Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s (GCF) Racial Justice Fund. Over the course of five years, the grant will expand operations and deepen capacity.
Following the 2020 uprising, OJBC and CBUF released a list of eight recommendations detailing ways city, county and state agencies could build trust within the community and end discriminatory policing on June 4 .
The document states policing during the pandemic-related mandates resulted in high levels of racial disparity in arrests and improper arrests, according to OJPC. You can read the eight recommendations here.
The recommendations helped influence the new Fraternal of Police contracts in 2020, which increased pay for officers and holds them through a high standard of accountability through disciplinary reforms.
GCF understands racial inequity looks the same across multiple systems and that these same systems contribute to widened disparities. Investing in racial justice helps break these systemic cycles plaguing Black and brown communities.
CINCINNATI (September 24, 2020) — Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has awarded $1 million to six area non-profits from its new Racial Justice Fund.
Established June 2020 with a commitment of $5 million over five years, the goal of the Racial Justice Fund is to advance matters of fairness and justice with a critical focus on the systems that affect the Black community, specifically criminal, economic and social justice. More broadly, the fund seeks to address the root causes of systemic racism in our community through policy change.
GCF supplemented its own research and data compilation by speaking directly with social justice organizations and community members about the region’s greatest needs and the work underway that could be accelerated with additional support.
“We are inspired by these passionate organizations that are on the ground, rallying against injustices and moving our community forward,” said Ellen M. Katz, President/CEO of GCF. “Through the Racial Justice Fund, we are excited to amplify their work.”
The current Racial Justice Fund grant recipients are:
Ohio Justice and Policy Center
Leading criminal justice reform entity in our state working to protect the rights and dignity of incarcerated people; the Racial Justice Fund will support operations and capacity building.
Ohio Transformation Fund
A funder’s collaborative committed to equity in Ohio and working on policy to reduce the number of Ohioans incarcerated; the Racial Justice Fund will support traditional and rapid response grants.
National Development Council (Technical Assistance)
Ensures black-owned businesses recover from COVID-19; the Racial Justice Fund and co-investment funds will support women-owned businesses & solopreneurs.
Coaches economically marginalized individuals to launch, maintain and grow enterprises; the Racial Justice Fund will support small business grants to Mortar’s network of alumni entrepreneurs facing closure and income loss due to COVID-19.
The Heights Movement
Resident-led organization serving the first predominately Black self-governing community north of the Mason-Dixon line (est. 1947); the Racial Justice Fund will support operations, advocacy efforts and help move the shooting range out of Lincoln Heights.
Queen’s Village of Cradle Cincinnati
A supportive network of Black women and an initiative of Cradle Cincinnati, this community empowers the voice of Black women around decision making and racial healing. The Racial Justice Fund will support operations and growth in the network’s social capital.
“Our initial grants signal the beginning of what is a multi-year commitment by the GCF Governing Board to address the root cause of inequity within our community,” said Delores Hargrove-Young, GCF Governing Board Chair. “We hope to inspire other funders and donors to join us in this effort.”
Through the Racial Justice Fund, GCF empowers non-profit partners to rely on their expertise to apply multi-year investments to programs or initiatives that will provide the greatest impact to our community.
In addition to making its initial investments, GCF is committed to including the voice of the community and those most impacted in this work. GCF has identified Black-led research and consulting firm Praxis Matters as its lead partner. Between now and the end of the year, Praxis Matters will host community conversations with grassroots organizations and residents to better understand the challenges surrounding racial justice work. Based on these insights, Praxis Matters will work with GCF to identify focus areas, needs and investment priorities to maximize the impact of the Racial Justice Fund moving forward.
Individuals interested in contributing to the Racial Justice Fund can go to gcfdn.org/racialjusticefund.
About Greater Cincinnati Foundation
As the region’s leading community foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) 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.
CINCINNATI (January 31, 2018)—The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) has provided $25,000 in funding to support The Cincinnati Project, a community-engaged research initiative at the University of Cincinnati (UC). The funding will go to support projects that offer clear and direct benefit to women of color in Cincinnati.
“As GCF goes deeper on the complex issues of equity, we are intentionally investing in projects that support women of color in our community,” said Ellen M. Katz, president/CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “By partnering with The Cincinnati Project, we can support the many innovative projects they are tackling, and we are inspired by what they are doing.”
The Cincinnati Project was launched in 2013 by faculty researchers in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences. More than 12 University of Cincinnati faculty and students from their classes will be involved in these upcoming projects.
Funding will support:
“We are thrilled to partner with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation,” said Dr. Jennifer Malat, UC College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean of Social Sciences and co-founder of The Cincinnati Project. “With their support, and the continued support and collaboration of our other community partners, The Cincinnati Project will raise the voices of women of color and collaborate to recommend policies that will improve lives.”
“The support from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation is an important validation of the work that The Cincinnati Project has been doing for the last several years” said Dr. Ken Petren, Dean of the UC College of Arts and Sciences, “I’m confident that this partnership will not only help improve the lives of women in color in Cincinnati, but also provide hope and assistance to our other partners and organizations who are working for equity in Cincinnati.”
One of the nation’s leading community foundations, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation helps people make the most of their giving to build a better community. We believe in the power of philanthropy to change the lives of people and communities. As a community foundation, GCF creates a prosperous Greater Cincinnati by investing in thriving people and vibrant places. An effective steward of the community’s charitable resources since 1963, the Foundation inspires philanthropy in eight counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. At the end of 2016, GCF had net assets of $563 million.
CINCINNATI (August 14, 2017) —The Greenlight Fund, in partnership with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, announced today a multi-million-dollar initiative to fight family poverty in our region. Together, they are investing $2.4 million to bring the Family Independence Initiative—and its innovative model of trusting and investing in family solutions—to Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. This includes a $1.8 million grant from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and its donors, the single largest grant in the history of the Foundation.
“We know that thousands of families are struggling with poverty, and we need to rethink how we invest in families and their upward mobility,” said Tara Noland, Executive Director of GreenLight Cincinnati. “We are excited to have the Family Independence Initiative bring their model to our region and learn from their data on what Cincinnati families in our community need to escape poverty.”
“As our region’s community foundation, our role is to create a community where everyone can thrive,” said Ellen M. Katz, president and CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “Our region is literally bursting with new energy and progress, yet we still have many in need. GCF and its donors are seeking new and innovative programs to help families in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky who have yet to benefit from that progress. FII is one such program and we’re excited to ensure we can rapidly deploy FII in our community.”
Founded in 2001, The Family Independence Initiative brings a new approach to fighting poverty by trusting and investing directly in low-income families across the nation so they can work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity. Families that partner with FII set goals they want to achieve, such as purchasing a home or continuing their education, and work together to help each other meet those goals. FII provides them with the technology platform to track their progress and then gives them access to resources, including cash, to accelerate the solutions that they’ve discovered themselves.
With sites in seven cities across the country, FII has partnered with more than 2,000 families investing in their solutions to escaping poverty. On average, during two years of engagement with FII, families report: a 23 percent increase in monthly income, 60 percent decrease in subsidies such as TANF and SNAP, a doubling of their annual income and assets, and increased education outcomes from their children.
Over the next four years, FII will work with community based organizations and other partners to reach 500 families in multiple neighborhoods across Cincinnati. They will be convening a launch team to help identify the neighborhoods they should focus on as well as families they should recruit.
“All families across America should have access to the resources and opportunities needed to achieve their dreams and we look forward to doing just that right here in the region,” said Jesús Gerena, Chief Executive Officer of The Family Independence Initiative. “While our initial goal is to reach 500 families, we hope to find more partners to double or triple that goal. Cincinnati benefits when all its families are economically thriving.”
In addition to the multi-year investment made by the Greenlight Fund and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, FII’s expansion to Cincinnati is also supported by contributions from The Mayerson Foundation and SC Ministry.
Learn more about GCF's investment in the Family Independence Initiative
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The GreenLight Fund transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to: identify critical needs; import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that have a significant, measurable impact; and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city. Working in Boston since 2003, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area since 2012, Cincinnati since 2015 and most recently Charlotte in 2017, GreenLight aims to grow a national network of GreenLight sites that learn and work collaboratively to find and spread proven nonprofit solutions that achieve meaningful and measurable impact in our communities on the issues that matter most. Founding investors in GreenLight Cincinnati include the Deaconess Associations Foundation, Bethesda Inc., the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, Interact for Health, Procter and Gamble, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s, Duke Energy Foundation, the Cincinnati Business Committee, Bank of America and a number of individual investors.
One of the nation’s leading community foundations, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation helps people make the most of their giving to build a better community. We believe in the power of philanthropy to change the lives of people and communities. As an accredited community foundation, GCF creates a prosperous Greater Cincinnati by investing in thriving people and vibrant places. An effective steward of the community’s charitable resources since 1963, the Foundation inspires philanthropy in eight counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. At the end of 2016, GCF had net assets of $563 million.
Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF), in partnership with the Cincinnati Enquirer, is pleased to announce the 2018 Women of the Year:
Judith Harmony is the first female faculty member of Indiana University’s chemistry department. She was instrumental in the development of The Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s first PULSE study in 2004. Harmony founded the Harmony Garden, an education center that strives to bring communities together to promote the health of young girls from underserved and disadvantaged communities.
Maria Ahmed Munir is the inaugural co-chair of the Festival of Faiths, a day of inclusion, education, understanding and building community. She established a scholarship fund at International Academy of Cincinnati for deserving students to get financial assistance. Munir was the first female PTO president at International Academy of Cincinnati and is a board member of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati.
Nancy Eigel-Miller has dedicated her life to erasing the stigma of mental illness by founding 1N5, an organization that increases awareness and education about mental health. Through 1N5, she created the Brain Health Network as a braintrust around the successes and challenges of mental health programs. Eigel-Miller also created the first Youth Mental Health Innovation Challenge at the University of Cincinnati, a two-day workshop fostering a unique learning experience and professional development opportunity for high school students.
Kelly Dolan founded Thrive Impact Sourcing with the sole intent of bringing Cincinnati out of un/underemployment and into IT careers. Thrive is a business incubator dedicated to creating opportunity for diverse individuals to enter the IT industry, notorious for its lack of diversity. Dolan also founded Ingage Partners, Cincinnati’s first Certified B Corporation. She is an involved volunteer with Freeset USA, which sells clothes and bags made by women in India who were formerly working in the sex trade industry.
Mary Burke Rivers has been the executive director of Over the Rhine Community Housing since 1993, where she has excelled in creating and advocating for equitable access to housing for the past 25 years. She is a board member of The Finance Fund, Community Development Association of Greater Cincinnati, Affordable Housing Advocates, Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio.
Alandes Powell is the chair of the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, where she has served as a board member and volunteer for eight years. She has been a board member of the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati since 2014 and was a YWCA Cincinnati Career Woman of Achievement recipient in 2013. Powell is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati Class 41 and Leadership Northern Kentucky. As Senior Vice President, Operations & Relationship Director of Citi Retail Services, she has also served as a mentor to colleagues and received the Citigroup Chairman’s Leadership Award in 2007. Powell is a board member of the Brighton Center and serves on the Elder Board of the Inspirational Baptist Church.
Mary Welsh Schlueter is the founr and CEO of Partnership for Innovation in Education, in partnership with Harvard University, which focuses on elevating student academic achievement, workforce readiness and experiential learning pathways in emerging careers. She is on the Harvard Business School Board of Directors (Ohio) and the Allegheny College, Alumni Board of Directors and teaching staff. Schlueter is an awardee of the Direct Energy Citizen of the Year, USA Chamber of Commerce WE Empowerment & New Business, Deloitte & Touche “100 Wise Women,” National Diversity Council Leadership Excellence, Venue Magazine Civic Leadership and STEM Difference Maker (Duke Energy).
Maureen France is a member of the West McMicken Improvement Association and was instrumental in re-opening the long-closed Warner Street steps leading to Fairview Park. She also has helped replace dilapidated playground equipment in the community. France was a key leader in the prevention of the destruction of part of her neighborhood during the reconstruction of I-75. She has used her photography, in collaboration with the Cincinnati Preservation Association and the Hillside Trust, to present ODOT and City Council with a book showing the vibrancy and closeness of her neighborhood.
Tillie Hidalgo Lima is a co-chair of the YMCA Academy of Career Women of Achievement. She was named Hispanic Woman of the Year in 2010 by the Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan in 2015 by the Ohio Commission on Hispanic-Latino Affairs and the Latino Empowerment Outreach Network. Her current board memberships include: United Way of Greater Cincinnati Board of Directors and Executive Committee, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Board of Trustees, Child Poverty Steering Committee and Cincinnati Women Executive Forum. Lima has been the CEO of Best Upon Request since 2003, where she co-created a groundbreaking new service, Maternity Concierge, to help new working mothers balance their quality of life.
Chandra Mathews-Smith is the chair of the Community Action Agency board. Dedicated to the improvement of the foster care system, she led the initiative to design the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services Emergency Therapeutic Foster Care Program, which served as the emergency shelter provider for some of the county’s most difficult-to-serve children and adolescents. Mathews-Smith worked with Cincinnati Public Schools to institute their Ujima program, which provided wraparound and day treatment services for CPS students with the special education designation of Severely Behaviorally Handicapped.
The Women of the Year award is given to 10 women in the community who have dedicated their lives to giving back. This award is among the oldest and most significant honors one can receive in Greater Cincinnati.
“These exceptional women are the embodiment of dedication, community service and compassion for their fellow citizens,” said Ellen M. Katz, GCF President/CEO. “We look forward to sharing their inspirational stories, but even more so, we look forward to watching our community prosper due to their passion and drive.”
The honorees will be recognized at the 50th annual Women of the Year Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Friday, October 26, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati. To purchase tickets to the luncheon or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.gcfdn.org/woy.
All CPS students can have free broadband internet service from Cincinnati Bell through Connect Our Students program
CINCINNATI (August 25, 2020) — The Connect Our Students program has met its goal to provide free broadband internet access through Cincinnati Bell to every Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) student for the 2020-21 school year. The volunteer-led initiative primarily is funded by Accelerate Great Schools in partnership with GE Aviation; Fifth Third Foundation; Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, N.A., Trustee; Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF); and donors across the region.
One out of four CPS families don’t have broadband internet access at home. This equates to roughly 3,500 families and 8,500 children for whom school became inaccessible when education shifted online last spring at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This digital divide disproportionally affects Black and Latinx students.
“The Fifth Third Foundation is dedicated to supporting those who are in need, especially during times of distress,” said Heidi Jark, senior vice president and managing director of the Foundation Office. “We are closing the staggering digital divide by joining other organizations in providing broadband internet access – an educational necessity – to our local students.”
CPS recently announced that the district will have distance learning for at least the first five weeks of the upcoming school year and that all Pre-K through 12th-grade students will have devices. Students in grades pre-K through 1 will receive an iPad. Older students will receive laptops. Every CPS family can sign up for the Connect Our Students program. More than 1,700 CPS students have been provided internet service through the program so far.
“The digital divide is an especially challenging obstacle for urban school districts. We are grateful to all of the wonderful organizations and donors who have contributed to the Connect Our Students program, ensuring every child in our CPS family is able to effectively learn in a distance environment,” shared Laura Mitchell, superintendent of CPS. “We encourage all CPS families who don't have internet access in their homes today, to call and sign up immediately. If you've recently moved, please ensure your contact information is updated in our system by calling your school or our customer service line at 513-363-0123.”
Tens of thousands of public school students in Greater Cincinnati do not have reliable computers and broadband internet connections. After a successful pilot program this summer, Connect Our Students will improve digital equity through its partnership with Cincinnati Bell, which is providing low-cost internet connectivity to students across the region (less than $17/month or $200/year). Thanks to the generosity of the community, CPS families will get the service for free for one year, with no installation or equipment fees.
After signing up, families can install the service themselves or request a technician to install it for them in a matter of days. Cincinnati Bell will not hold past balances against any family. The service includes measures to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act to limit access to harmful content and ensure the safety of children.
“The digital divide widens opportunity gaps between students across Cincinnati. Without internet access at home, students lose valuable learning time during this period of distance learning," explains Brian Neal, CEO of the Cincinnati-based non-profit Accelerate Great Schools. "This initiative will help ensure that all Cincinnati students have equal access to remote learning this school year.”
“When generous organizations and people come together, we are a force to be reckoned with,” said Ellen M. Katz, president/CEO of GCF. “Thank you to the Fifth Third Foundation; Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, N.A., Trustee; Accelerate Great Schools; and our donors for creating an equitable playing field for our children.”
To sign up, call Cincinnati Bell’s dedicated Connect Our Students line at 513-566-3895.
Connect Our Students also is funded by The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. U.S. Bank Foundation; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Interact for Health; Strive Partnership; American Sound and Electronics; Difference Maker Legacy Fund; United Way of Greater Cincinnati; Cincinnati Regional Business Committee; the Giovani Bernard Family Foundation; and Jenny and Tom Williams.
If you are interested in supporting this initiative, visit connectourstudents.org to donate to support parent outreach and technology support for CPS families.
About Accelerate Great Schools
Accelerate Great Schools (AGS) is a non-profit with the mission to ensure every student in Cincinnati – regardless of zip code – has access to great schools. Since 2015, AGS has invested in district, Archdiocesan, and high-quality, non-profit charter schools to ensure all families have great school options. GE Aviation provides funding to Accelerate Great Schools to support district investments.
About The Fifth Third Foundation
Established in 1948, the Fifth Third Foundation was one of the first philanthropic foundations established by a financial institution. The Fifth Third Foundation supports worthwhile organizations in the areas of education, health and human services, community development and the arts.
About Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee
Created in 1903, the Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, N.A., Trustee, supports charitable or educational purposes; for relief in sickness, suffering and distress; for the care of young children, the aged or the helpless or afflicted; for the promotion of education, and to improve living conditions.
About Greater Cincinnati Foundation