By Ellen M. Katz, President/CEO, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
The changes in the Greater Cincinnati region in recent years is astounding.
- 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.
- We have the second highest childhood poverty rate in the nation
- We have a heroin epidemic the resulted in more than 200 overdoses in a two-week span last month
- Last year’s report from Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio on the State of Black Cincinnati makes it clear that totally unacceptable disparities prevail between blacks and whites despite our efforts.
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!
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:
- The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s Commitment to Race, Equity and Inclusion
- PULSE Reports about the status of women’s economic self-sufficiency in our region by The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
- “State of Black and White 2015: A Tale of Two Cities,” a report by the Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio.
- Close isn’t necessarily community, Community Voices blog post by Professor Thomas Dutton of Miami University
- PolicyLink’s Equity Manifesto
- Is Cincinnati “All-In”or Equity?, a blog post by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
- A City Where Everyone Can Thrive, blog post by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation