Tag Archives: Ellen Katz

A Conversation About Leadership With Dianne Rosenberg

dianne_david
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.

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.

Building Meaningful Connections

Our 2014 Annual Report cover features Union Terminal. Learn more about our work with the Cultural Facilities Task Force.
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s 2014 Annual Report cover features Union Terminal.

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

As the new face here at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, I’ve been busy learning all about the meaningful connections GCF makes in the community.

The spirit of giving in the Tristate is legendary, and we are proud of the part we play. By partnering with many in our community, GCF granted more than $77 million to nonprofits in 2014.

You may be surprised at the many things GCF has had a hand in, thanks to our generous donors.

A few of the projects in which GCF has invested:

In taking this job, I’m excited by GCF being the region’s leading convener.

By partnering with many organizations and community leaders, GCF has helped to develop a shared vision of community change, save two local icons,  support big ideas, inspire the next generation of philanthropists, improve racial equity, and connect many interested donors to causes they care about.

GCF is often there, providing support behind-the-scenes.

Another important role for us is building the nonprofit capacity in our region. We do this in many ways – through grantmaking, impact investing, and support to nonprofits. Our nonprofits are top-notch in Greater Cincinnati, providing for the good of our community in countless ways.

I personally subscribe to the values of servant leadership, where the needs of others are put first.

That’s why I love the story of the women leaders of the Fresh Air Society, who realized their mission to provide tenement families a respite in the country was obsolete. They went on to partner with the local banking community to start The Greater Cincinnati Foundation in 1963.

I look forward to partnering with you, as I begin my journey here at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

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