Category Archives: Equity

Obstacles for Working Mothers

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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

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.

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.

Coffey:
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.

Cummings:
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.