Welcome to The Greater Cincinnati Foundation‘s blog, Leadership Matters. In this forum, GCF’s leaders will focus on timely and challenging community issues, and the role that GCF, its donors, and other partners play in creating a more thriving and vibrant community.
In our third post, GCF’s Kathy Merchant shares several items that speak to GCF’s strong commitment to racial equity, a thread that carries forward from 2001 to today.
When demonstrated by a community foundation, such as The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, leadership is not just about the number and size of grant checks. Leadership is how GCF uses the collective power of the people—both past and present—who contribute their time, expertise, and charitable dollars to this permanent community resource.
Nowhere is that more significant than in long-term, challenging community issues like ensuring quality education, revitalizing once-vibrant neighborhoods, and creating a more equitable community for all.
Last week, I outlined how GCF deployed “intentional influence” beginning in 2001 to help our community work together to tackle issues of race and equity in a blog post for the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Recent events in Ferguson, Mo., have resulted in the nation looking for examples of communities who have tackled the issue of police-community relations in particular, as they reflect on racial equity in communities. This brings the focus back to Cincinnati—both what we have accomplished and the work we still have to do.
St. Louis Public Radio visited Cincinnati to learn from many organizations, including GCF, whether our experience can help Ferguson bring its police and community together around reform and healing. A key takeaway is that this process is long and needs many partners to make it successful. We’re proud of what’s we’ve all done together in Cincinnati, but make no mistake – there is still work to be done.
Ben Hecht, CEO of Living Cities, and I co-authored a piece on education and the racial divide for Huffington Post. The case for disaggregating data by race to measure how our students are achieving is strong, but using the data effectively to improve student outcomes is challenging.
Ensuring a more equitable community for everyone who lives in Greater Cincinnati is a long-term endeavor. It’s always on GCF’s radar, and we hope it’s on yours.
For Additional Reading
The New York Times‘ writer Nicholas Kristof wrote a series on racial equity this fall:
- When Whites Just Don’t Get It: After Ferguson, Race Deserves More Attention, Not Less, The New York Times (Aug. 30, 2014)
- When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 2, The New York Times (Sept. 7, 2014)
- When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 3, The New York Times (Oct. 11, 2014)
Kathy Merchant is President/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. Learn more about her here.