Tag Archives: Michael Coffey

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.