Tag Archives: State of Black Cincinnati

A Cincinnati Renaissance for All

Spirit of Construction Foundation's Summer Camp
Spirit of Construction Foundation’s Summer Camp

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

The changes in the Greater Cincinnati region in recent years is astounding.

We have:

    • 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.

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!
Ellen M. Katz
Ellen M. Katz

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:

Ellen M. Katz is the President/CEO 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.