Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 Conversation About Leadership With Dianne Rosenberg

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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 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.