Obstacles for Working Mothers

This report explores disincentives to career advancement.

By Cara Jacob, Research Coordinator, The Women’s Fund and The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio

The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation leads our community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region and ignites a shared desire to improve it. One of the most influential ways we advance this mission is through our research; we have released seven groundbreaking studies in the past as part of our PULSE research series. All of The Women’s Fund research is available on our website.

We are excited to share that we have released our eighth PULSE study, in partnership with the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center, titled “PULSE REPORT: Outlining the Disincentives and Opportunity Costs for Working Mothers.” This study began in response to findings on the Cliff Effect in Ohio, from our 2014 PULSE Briefing.

The Cliff Effect refers to a sudden drop off in public assistance due to an income raise that results in an overall loss of gross resources.

  • For example, a mother making $12 an hour might get a $0.50 raise, resulting in an overall annual income bump of a couple thousand dollars. But she becomes suddenly ineligible for her childcare assistance which costs her $8,000 a year. She is now $6,000 worse off because of her $0.50 advancement and unable to make ends meet.
  • We have a lot more information about the Cliff Effect and other factors affecting women’s economic self-sufficiency on our website at Self-Sufficiency 101.

In this new report, we wanted to dig into whether or not the Cliff Effect was preventing working mothers from taking raises or otherwise presenting barriers to women’s economic advancement. What we found was not exactly what we had expected.  As it turns out, the benefits cliffs in Hamilton County have largely been smoothed out. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the picture is still pretty dismal for working mothers in our area. Our topline findings were:

  • The average annual income for a working mother in Hamilton County is $19,700, which is just 20% above the Federal Poverty Level for a family of two and roughly 50% below self-sufficiency for a mother and one preschool-age child.
  • From $8,000 annually to $42,000 annually a working mother’s gross resources (calculated as earned income plus public benefits) is essentially unchanging, leading many to feel that they are working harder and harder but they can’t get ahead. The graph below shows the tapering of benefits as earned income increases. The line across the top is the self-sufficiency level for Hamilton County.


Working more hours does not necessarily mean you are financially better off. Consider the case below. Even at a wage as high as $20, a working mother going from part time to full time would be working an additional 1,000 hours for $900 a year.


After digesting the complex nature of the challenge now before us, The Women’s Fund has developed a number of recommendations for change in our community. A few examples include:

  • Strongly advocate that all community recommendations and actions regarding poverty are firmly rooted in the way race, gender, and the intersectionality of the two play a critical role in the experience of individuals and in developing effective interventions.
  • Close the gender wage gap which is present at all levels of work in all occupational groups.
  • Promote full spectrum of benefits eligibility to those who qualify and collect more accurate data about usage rates.
  • Recognizing that women are disproportionately represented in low-wage work, encourage career mobility by building bridges to better paying jobs through mentorships, education, and on-the-job training.

Our findings were presented to the Greater Cincinnati community at a research release on August 30. Attendees included representatives from social service organizations, nonprofits, and the community-at-large. We are already beginning to have conversations about the implications of the research findings with the Child Poverty Collaborative and Partners for a Competitive Workforce.

Cara Jacob

We hope you will share this with your friends and colleagues. Discuss it. Brainstorm interventions and ways you can help. We cannot eliminate the issue of poverty by ourselves- it can only be done by working together.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me, Cara Jacob, Research Coordinator, at jacobc@gcfdn.org, if you have any questions!

If you are interested in getting involved with the Women’s Fund please contact Barb Linder, Coordinator, at linderb@gcfdn.org.

Cara Jacob is the Research Coordinator for The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, a supporting organization of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation .


A Conversation About Leadership With Dianne Rosenberg

Dianne Rosenberg and her husband David at Smale Riverfront Park. They gifted family porch swings to the park.

By Julia Mace, Senior Communications Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Dianne Rosenberg is the Governing Board Chair of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). She took on her role during a time of transition for the Foundation when Kathy Merchant retired as President/CEO and Ellen M. Katz took the position. In this post, she addresses her experience with The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Why did you start volunteering at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation?

Rosenberg: I started volunteering as a board member. Following my professional retirement, I had been engaged in civic work in the arts and culture, social service and educational sectors. I wasn’t a GCF donor and nor did I serve on any of GCF’s committees before I was asked to join the Board. Ironically, it was at a time in my life when I thought I was going to retire from community volunteering. I was an empty nester, longing to reduce my golf handicap, and to garden, cook and satisfy my wanderlust. Frankly, I was surprised to be asked and very flattered. I knew by its reputation that GCF contributes enormously through the generosity of its donors and its collaborations with community organizations to improve the lives of our community. I realized it was an opportunity for me to learn, grow and engage with Cincinnati leadership around initiatives which I have had longstanding interest. My work on the board broadened my awareness of other opportunities for civic engagement and has been challenging yet gratifying. The complexity, the depth and breadth of GCF’s reach in the community is formidable. I still have so much more to learn!

How did you first come to know The Greater Cincinnati Foundation?

Dianne Rosenberg
Dianne Rosenberg

Rosenberg: The first time I learned of GCF was when I was in my late twenties. I was the board chair of a new venture, a parent learning center, affiliated with Jewish Family Service Cincinnati. This innovative program was the first of its kind in the region. It was a health-based model for teaching and supporting healthy, mothers, fathers, infants and toddlers. A team of highly qualified early childhood educators and healthcare professionals created rich program. But there was a lack of funding.

This is where GCF played an important role. At that time, a face-to-face interview was required as part of the GCF grantmaking process. We met with GCF Executive Director Carolyn McCoy, who was warm, engaging, and very intrigued by this innovative model for supporting and educating healthy thriving young families. Not only was our grant request funded, but GCF advised a number of their donors to invest in this new program which resulted in additional support as well.

Tell us about your time as board chair. What stands out to you?

Rosenberg: When I was asked to become board chair, it was with the knowledge that our executive leadership would be changing during the first half of my first year as chair. I have always been one who embraces change and views it as an opportunity for discovery and growth. Pete Strange, my predecessor, asked me to chair the executive search process before my term commenced. It was a great learning curve for me in becoming familiar with GCF’s strengths, needs, and growth opportunities. The proof of a successful search is the hire. Ellen Katz is the example of this credo. I have always held the belief that a balanced partnership with board and executive leadership is essential for the organization’s health. Ellen and I share a mutual respect for the importance and necessity of our collaborative efforts to advance GCF’s mission. It has been rewarding to learn from our board members that their work has been enriched because of this shared value. I had great confidence in Ellen when we hired her although at the time I had no idea the depth and breadth of her executive leadership skills. Ellen has packed a WHOLE LOT into her first 18 months, and she is just getting started. Honestly, I do not know when she sleeps. It is my honor and joy to serve as board chair.

Dianne Rosenberg is the Governing Board Chair of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

A Cincinnati Renaissance for All

Spirit of Construction Foundation's Summer Camp
Spirit of Construction Foundation’s Summer Camp

By Ellen M. Katz, President/CEO, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

The changes in the Greater Cincinnati region in recent years is astounding.

We have:

    • Revitalized neighborhoods
    • Sparkling new buildings growing out of the ground
    • Amazing restaurants
    • Celebrities hanging out waiting for the next movie scene
    • Street cars on the move from our now park-filled banks to our ultra-hip Over-the-Rhine

But as the leader of the 35th largest community foundation in the country, I have to point out our other reality—a reality we at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation are taking quite seriously because our mission demands it.

Our mission is to inspire generous people to invest in a more vibrant and prosperous Greater Cincinnati where everyone can thrive.

But everyone is NOT thriving in this wonderful renaissance we are experiencing.

And if those few items don’t resonate, PolicyLink, a highly regarded national research and advocacy institute, shared the economic benefit to our region would be up to $6.3 billion a year if we could close the gap on income disparity.

As our community’s leaders, we shouldn’t stand for this.

Based on facts, it makes no sense:

  • We have the 35th largest community foundation in the country
  • We have the largest community campaign for the arts in the country
  • And we gave $62 million to our United Way last year!
Ellen M. Katz
Ellen M. Katz

We are generous people, as the data clearly shows.

So what do we need? We need leadership.

Not “pass the torch” leadership, not “doing what it takes to get, renew, or keep our jobs” leadership, but bold leadership.

Our community deserves better than this, and it is up to us to change this reality. So let me put it to you in words shared with me by a great Cincinnati leader – Lee Carter. It’s quite simply “Let’s go!”

Additional Information and Resources:

Ellen M. Katz is the President/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Make the Most of Your Generosity with Endow Kentucky Tax Credit

Chuck Scheper and Julie Geisen Scheper used the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit to benefit Covington Partners.

By Suzanne Rohlfs, Director of Development and Professional Advisor Relations, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

In my work at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, I’m privileged to help generous people make the most of their giving. This is why I’m happy to share an upcoming opportunity in Northern Kentucky that benefits Kentucky taxpayers and makes the most of their generosity.

What is the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit?

The Endow Kentucky Tax Credit enables any Kentucky taxpayer (business or individual) to receive a state tax credit of up to 20% of a charitable gift to a permanent endowment fund at a local community foundation (up to $10,000 per taxpayer).

Unlike a tax deduction, a credit is taken off the tax bill dollar for dollar. So, if a donor has a Kentucky tax bill of $1,000, a donation of $5,000 through Endow Kentucky would eliminate that tax altogether (20% of $5,000 is $1,000). Federal and State charitable tax deductions are still available for these gifts.

In 2016, $1,000,000 in tax credits are available beginning July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017.

Limited time opportunity

Applications for fiscal year 2017, (which begins July 1, 2016) will be accepted through June 30, 2017, or until the credits run out, whichever comes first. Note that tax credits may be depleted in the first week of July, so I recommend applying on July 1, 2016.

What gifts qualify for the Endow Kentucky tax credit?

Gifts can be cash or appreciated stock, and must be made to a qualified community foundation, such as The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. Donors may also create a new endowment fund. Endowed funds are permanent funds which provide annual support to the named organization. The fund must benefit a Kentucky organization.

Jumpstart your nonprofit’s endowment

Are you part of a nonprofit looking for a way to grow or start your organization’s endowment? Endow Kentucky is a great way to build your endowment.

What our donors are saying

I asked Chuck Scheper why he and his wife, Julie Geisen Scheper, used Endow Kentucky in the past.

“My wife and I found setting up an Endow Kentucky fund to support one of our favorite charities, Covington Partners, was not only a very tax efficient way to go with both a tax deduction and the state tax credit, but it’s also comforting to know that we are setting up a legacy of giving to this organization for many years to come,”
-Chuck Scheper

Why a tax credit?

The Endow Kentucky Tax Credit is a response to a study that showed a substantial intergenerational transfer of wealth would occur in the next few decades and that many of these dollars would likely leave the state (often passed by parents to adult children who move away). Kentucky offers the tax credit as an incentive to keep charitable dollars in the state and to use them for the permanent support and long-term sustainability of Kentucky nonprofits.

Need help?

Suzanne RohlfsConsult your tax advisor for further information and additional tax advantages.

Contact Suzanne Rohlfs, Michele Carey, or Laura Menge at 513-241-2880 to discuss your plans for making a gift that may qualify for the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit.

Suzanne Rohlfs is the Director of Development and Professional Advisor Relations of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.



How to Get Your Nonprofit Message Out Using Video

By Julia Mace, Senior Communications Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Your organization is fantastic, and you want people to know about its work. Or maybe you have a new leader or program you want to highlight.

Like you, we wanted to share our messages using video.

Here’s how we did it at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Check out our latest videos

Our scenario

We were transitioning to a new CEO/President after 17 years. This was the perfect opportunity to remind or tell people what we do: The Greater Cincinnati Foundation is a charitable resource for a more vibrant and prosperous community so everyone can thrive.

Whether you use a professional production team or you own in-house tools, we hope our tips help you on your journey!

Where did we start?

First, we tapped in our fans:

  • We asked our donors to talk about why they partner with us to make a difference. It was more compelling to hear others talk about supporting our cause.
  • We contacted the nonprofits our donors support. We were able to show the wide range of our work by showing video of the many types of nonprofits our donors support.

We wrote a script:

  • Having key messages written will help you as you create your concept.
  • You can write a script yourself or hire a writer.
  • Scripts are helpful even when you want to capture your subjects in their own words, so you can guide your subject and give guidance if they are nervous.
  • When filming testimonials or taking b-roll video (supplemental video edited with the main shot), your script will keep you on track.

How did it come together?

Keep in mind things often go unplanned:

  • Like any project, there may be bumps. It may rain on a day you plan to shoot outside, or someone may not get back to you.
  • Don’t worry, it happens. And most likely, something better will work out.

Prep your subjects:

  • Communicate with your subjects. Make certain they know the script and like it. People are not going to want to say something they are not comfortable with or don’t agree on. Email them the script ahead of time, talk them through it, do whatever it takes to make them comfortable.
  • Ask your subjects to avoid wearing patterns on screen, they can be distracting. Watch out for jewelry, especially bracelets, to minimize clinking sounds.

How can we get people to see our video?

Reuse & Recycle

  • Repurpose your video. Our original video was 2:12 minutes. We also shortened it to use for a television spot.
  • We also used extra b-roll and interviews to create the additional video showcasing our donors.
  • Remember how we said to share it all over social media – we are doing the same for the new video.

Want more tips? See “Ten Video Tips for Nonprofits” by Nonprofit Technology Network 

Check out these videos for more inspiration

Our Sincere Thanks

We thank our video producer, Pippin Rush, LLC. We thank the following for appearing in this video: Wijdan Jreisat, Herb Robinson and Barbara Sferra, L-A and Jeff Stopa and Dianne Rosenberg.

We thank the following organizations for their assistance in the making of this video: Phil Mastman, The Carnegie, Children, Inc., Cincinnati Area Senior Services, Inc., Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Parks, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati, Contemporary Arts Center, Freestore Foodbank Cincinnati Cooks!, Music Hall, Shelterhouse, Santa Maria Community Services, and Tender Mercies.

Do you have any helpful tips for nonprofit videos? Share them in the comments below.

Julia Mace is the Senior Communications Officer of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

A City Where Everyone Can Thrive

By Michael Coffey, Program Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Amanda M. Navarro, Director of PolicyLink.
Amanda M. Navarro, Director of PolicyLink.

At The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, we invest in a more vibrant and prosperous region where everyone can thrive.

Part of a prosperous Greater Cincinnati region includes equity as defined by PolicyLink, “An equitable society is one in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.” Symptoms of inequity include poverty, lack of education, and healthcare disparities.

We want to help all people achieve their greatest potential.

At the recent 2016 Securing the Future Conference, local nonprofit leaders came together to hear PolicyLink’s Director Amanda Maria Navarro speak about equity and its importance to thriving communities.

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and its partners embrace PolicyLink’s challenge to become an “All-In City.” In “All-In Cities: Building an Equitable Economy from the Ground Up,” it lays out equity-focused practices that cities can implement to ensure that all people have opportunity.

PolicyLink’s eight equity goals provide a great framework:

  1. Grow good, accessible jobs that provide pathways to the middle class.
  2. Increase the economic security and mobility of vulnerable families and workers.
  3. Cultivate homegrown talent through a strong cradle to career pipeline.
  4. Create healthy, opportunity-rich neighborhoods for all.
  5. Build resilient, connected infrastructure.
  6. Increase access to high-quality, affordable homes and prevent displacement.
  7. Expand democracy and the right to the city.
  8. Ensure just policing and court systems.

Hundreds of nonprofit professionals heard this message and the terrible local statistics surrounding poverty and equity. The next step is improving those outcomes and decide where our work fits in. The sooner we change the conversation to “when low-income people thrive, we all thrive,” the better.

Michael Coffey.

Navarro pointed out that our region would have a $6.35 billion gain if all things were equitable. All things equitable includes improved health, revitalized neighborhoods, and good quality jobs.

Our community is taking action.

The conference theme “Embracing Equity: An Economic and Social Imperative” was chosen after a delegation from Cincinnati attended PolicyLink’s 2015 Equity Summit in the fall. As one of the attendees, I was excited we asked PolicyLink to travel to Cincinnati to share what we learned with a broader audience.

Momentum is key and our community is building momentum. We have great talent and resources in this city, we just need to coordinate them. We need to be truthful about our challenges around equity and then work to achieve our greatest potential.

Get involved:

  1. Visit the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber to learn about the 2016 Securing the Future Conference.
  2. Read PolicyLink’s Equity Manifesto.
  3. Contact Michael Coffey, Program Officer, or Meghan Cummings, Executive Director of The Women’s Fund to learn more.

Michael Coffey is a Program Officer at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Image of Amanda Navarro via Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

A Meaningful Career in Philanthropy

Jim Huizenga, GCF staff, and friends volunteered at Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Cincinnati as a way to celebrate Jim's retirement.
Jim Huizenga (first row center), GCF staff, and friends volunteered at Ronald McDonald House Charities Greater Cincinnati as a way to celebrate Jim’s retirement.

Jim Huizenga, Senior Program Officer of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, retired recently after 12 years with the Foundation. Jim is a trusted and well-respected colleague throughout the service sector, particularly with those in the arts and culture community, as well as to GCF’s private foundation clients.

By Jim Huizenga, Senior Program Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Twelve years ago, a longstanding dream of mine came true – that was to work full-time for a large private foundation or the community foundation.

Every day since then, I have been grateful for the opportunities and privilege to support, encourage, and strengthen service providers in our community.

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation is on an important mission, and I have been profoundly honored to be a part of it.

I am thankful for the interactions with broad range of service providers on topics that need funding and other topics that go beyond grants and funding.

Every conversation has been a privilege for me.


Thank you taking me into your confidences and allowing me to engage with you in addressing community needs.

I am thankful for the interactions with charitably-minded folks with resources looking to make a positive difference in our community.

I understand this activity is personal, close to the heart, sometimes sacred.

Thank you, as well, for folding me into your confidences and allowing me to engage with you in supporting many, many good works being delivered in our community.

Thank you to The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, those providing services, and those supporting the service providers.

All of you and all of it are woven into my mental and emotional fabric, and that shall remain precious to me.

I don’t have a firm plan for the future. But I expect I’ll be popping up here and there to participate in the interactions and re-engage in a few good works.

Thank you all.

Grantmaking at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation thanks our nonprofit partners for helping keep our community thriving and vibrant.

GCF administers grants to address a wide range of community needs and issues. We award grants to qualified nonprofit 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

More about Jim

Prior to coming to The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Jim was with PNC Bank in Cincinnati, where he managed the Bank’s Charitable & Endowment Services Group. Including his time with PNC, Jim has been active in the philanthropic sector for over 25 years.

Jim’s commitment to the community includes personally serving United Way of Greater Cincinnati, ArtsWave, Saint Joseph Home, Cincinnati Boychoir, Ensemble Theatre, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, YMCA Greater Cincinnati, Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church, and several other organizations.

In 2015, two of these organizations honored Jim for his dedication and commitment. The Cincinnati Boychoir gave him the 2015 Community Recognition Award. Jim is an active vocalist with both the Cincinnati Boychoir Men’s Glee Club and the Mount Washington Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir.

He was also honored by St. Joseph Home at the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council’s 2015 Voices of Giving Awards Ceremony. A former board member of Saint Joseph Home, Jim was recognized for his long-term guidance and service to the organization.

Angel Investing 101

GCF's work with impact investing parallels angel investing. In 2014, GCF made an impact investment of the Homeownership Center of Greater Cincinnati.
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s work with impact investing parallels angel investing. In 2014, GCF made an impact investment of the Homeownership Center of Greater Cincinnati.

By Julia Mace, Senior Communications Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation teamed up with Cintrifuse to explain angel investing  in February. Angel Investing 101 gave philanthropists the opportunity to learn and ask questions.

Robert Killins Jr., vibrant places director, and Michele Carey, senior giving strategies officer, talk about angel investing and what it means for GCF and its donors.


What is angel investing?

Robert: Angel investing is when you invest dollars in a very early stage of an entrepreneur’s business. You are really investing in an idea or a person. You help an entrepreneur catalyze an idea and put some structure around it.

Michele: Local examples of places fostering entrepreneurs include Queen City AngelsConnetic VenturesCintrifuse, UpTech, CincyTechThe Brandery, Bad Girl Ventures, OCEAN Accelerator, and MORTAR.

Does GCF participate in Angel investing?

Robert: We do something that parallels it called impact investing. It’s a different but similar investment tool. GCF and its donors use charitable assets to invest in projects that generate financial and social return. The dollars are recycled and used again.

In the last five years, GCF and donors have invested more than $10 million in projects that have created jobs, built homeless shelters and affordable housing, and prevented foreclosure.

With impact investing, we invest in a specific fund that finances a project. When you are an angel, you finance a company directly.

Michele: We value the social impact of our investments and we are approaching this as another way to make the community strong.

How does it benefit our community?

Robert: Angel investing creates jobs and companies in the region. Those businesses will start here, grow here, and stay here.

This work also creates so that entrepreneurs know they don’t need to go to a coast to be successful; they can do it here.

Michele: The way angel investors create a thriving entrepreneurial landscape, which brings in jobs, and boosts our economy, aligns with what we want to accomplish as a community foundation.

Why did GCF introduce this to its donors?

Michele: Angel investing is not for everyone—certainly not for anyone who is risk adverse—but we’re providing a service to our donors by educating them to learn and explore with no expectation. It’s also a chance for us to engage with a new audience —angel investors—who may wish to learn how GCF can help them leverage their charitable dollars in exciting and innovative ways.

Robert: We want donors to know that we’re supporting much of the same work through impact investing. Also, angel investing is creating recognition for Cincinnati and opportunities for talented individuals. Institutions that are innovative idea generators are involved, for instance, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati.

What’s next?

Robert: Given the positive feedback from our attendees, we will offer additional opportunities to learn about supporting our start up community through angel investing.

Interested? How can you get involved?

We suggest finding out more from Cintrifuse and checking out their blog post, Angel Investing 101.

If you’d like to get more involved, contact Robert Killins Jr. or Michele Carey.

Julia Mace is the Senior Communications Officer of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Is Cincinnati “All-In” for Equity?

Cincinnati Delegation to PolicyLink’s 2015 Equity Summit

By Julia Mace, Senior Communications Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s (GCF) commitment to equity and inclusion informs our grants and leadership, but much progress is still needed in our region.

Statistics support the need for equity. Here are just a couple of examples from the 2014 “State of Black Cincinnati 2015: Two Cities” report by the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio.

  • Of the 14,000 families living in poverty in Cincinnati, 76 percent were African American.
  • The infant mortality rate for African American babies is 18.4, compared to 5.5 for whites.
  • The homeownership rate in 15-county Greater Cincinnati is 74.5 percent for whites but 33.1 percent for African Americans.
State of Black Cincinnati, a report by the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio
State of Black Cincinnati, a report by the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio

Equity isn’t just black and white.

PolicyLink defines it as “just and fair inclusion into a society in which all, including all racial and ethnic groups, can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.”

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation organized a Cincinnati delegation to attend PolicyLink’s 2015 Equity Summit which included President/CEO Ellen Katz, our staff and representatives from Greater Cincinnati organizations.

Michael Coffey, program officer, and Meghan Cummings, executive director of The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, shared their thoughts about the experience.

Why was it important to lead a delegation to this conference?

Coffey: Bringing back the knowledge and wisdom as one person, or one organization doesn’t work. We looked at other cities and foundations that are being intentional about equity and making progress.

Cummings: According to Stanford University’s Professor of Economics Raj Chetty, the odds that a child born to parents in the bottom fifth income bracket will reach the top income bracket is 7.5 percent. In Cincinnati, that number is 5 percent.

How did the Equity Summit connect with the mission of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation?

Cummings: The Women’s Fund and GCF are focused on a more prosperous Greater Cincinnati region and you can’t do it unless all residents can live up to the highest potential. An equity lens will help this happen.

Because of our role as a convener and thought leader, we are well positioned to connect the dots and identify gaps that hold our community back from making progress around equity. We can take a complex issue and find some entryways to change.

What was your biggest take-away from the Equity Summit?

Coffey: We need to be able to speak clearly about equity and PolicyLink has provided the language for this work in The Equity Manifesto.

This was the most diverse and well-attended conference I’ve ever attended with 3,000 people. High school students to octogenarians attended. It held your attention.

PolicyLink has laid out equity-focused practices that cities can take to support equity in “All-In Cities: Building an Equitable Economy from the Ground Up.”

Coffey: I have a clear sense of who is on our team in shaping this work going forward, a sense of who is working with us. We have a team, a commitment and resources. I’m excited to be part of a large group that can make a change.

Can you tell us about progress going forward?

Cummings: The Cincinnati delegation has continued to meet and report to each other how we’re using this knowledge to transform our organizations and community.

Coffey: The African American Chamber has created Declare to Grow! Prosper2016, a 12-month regional action plan aimed at fostering economic inclusion and breaking down the barriers of growth that typically plague small businesses.

Want to get involved?

The following organizations were part of the delegation that attended Equity Summit 2015. These groups are still meeting and will continue to welcome additional organizations.

Contact Janine Keeton, Community Investment Coordinator, if you would like to join us in becoming an “All-In Cincinnati.”

Julia Mace is the Senior Communications Officer of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Culture of ideas, innovation growing in every corner of Greater Cincinnati

Winners from the 2013 Big Idea Challenge
Winners from the 2013 Big Idea Challenge

By Beth Benson, Vice President for Communications & Marketing, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Two years ago, we announced the winners of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s “Big Idea Challenge,” a project we dreamed up to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We thought it would be Big but we never dreamed how Big!

More than 200 people submitted ideas to make Greater Cincinnati greater! These big thinkers were all ages, from all over the region. 6,000 of you voted to pick 7 winners, who received grants to test out their ideas.

Download our report on how each of the 7 Big Idea projects have fared since 2013 [PDF]. 

It was exciting to be at the beginning of a wave of many contest, challenge, and individual grant programs – we’re thrilled to see how this culture of ideas and innovation is growing in every corner of our community.

Check out these local contest, challenge and individual grant programs:




We’re excited to connect you with these diverse initiatives! Please add any more you know of in the comments.