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Transform Cincinnati announces six finalists, puts them in front of potential funders



Transform Cincinnati, an initiative that connects people with great ideas to those who have the money to make the ideas happen, held its first call for submissions in June. Each submission had to have a measurable, long-lasting impact on Cincinnati, be sustainable, be large enough in scale to be truly transformational and be supported by a group or organization that could see it through.

The program was developed by businessman and arts patron Richard Rosenthal, who realized that since the early 1800s Cincinnati has benefited from the engagement of community “investors,” or people who gave of themselves and their resources to elevate the region.

“While we are fortunate to continue to have many generous individuals, there is a need and an opportunity to enhance the ranks of these significant, individual funders of regional initiatives and to facilitate the development of ideas that inspire, engage and involve new generations of funders and investors,” Rosenthal says.
 
Six proposals were recently announced as Transform Cincinnati finalists from a pool of 150 entries, and those six groups now will pitch their ideas to investors. On Sept. 30, Transform Cincinnati hosts a Marketplace event that will be much like the TV show Shark Tank, where the six finalists will present to a group of investors who could make those ideas become reality.
 
The finalists are:

A Down Payment on the Preschool Promise
4C for Children wants to create a foundation for the educational future of children through Cincinnati Preschool Promise. The program, still in development, aims to ensure that every child in the area has access to two years of high-quality, affordable preschool regardless of income.
 
Activate Ziegler Park
3CDC plans to expand Ziegler Park on Sycamore Street in Over-the-Rhine. The existing park would be renovated into five acres of community space to include a neighborhood green space, a new deep-water swimming pool, a multi-use recreational field and a playground.
 
Cincinnati Neighborhood Equity Fund for Walnut Hills
The Cincinnati Development Fund plans to create a fund to accelerate jobs and redevelopment in urban communities beyond Over-the-Rhine, beginning in Walnut Hills. CDF would support the idea by advising on financing, investing its own money and leveraging other funding sources to complement the initial investment.
 
End Youth Homelessness in Cincinnati by 2020
Lighthouse Youth Services plans to develop a multipurpose center in Walnut Hills that would provide housing and services for youth, including an emergency homeless youth shelter and new units of permanent supportive housing as well as a range of services that are meant to get youth off the streets. The ultimate goal is to eradicate youth homelessness in Cincinnati.
 
Precision Cancer Care
UC Health and its cancer institute want to revolutionize cancer outcomes in Cincinnati by leveraging breakthrough discoveries in genomics, drug discovery and biological model systems. UC’s goal is to rank the city among national leaders in new and personalized cancer-care advances, then spread those discoveries across the world.
 
Venture Building Studio and OPA! Labs
Cintrifuse, in partnership with the Health Collaborative, plans to establish a consumer healthcare venture studio that will be dedicated to attracting the best health innovators and talent to the area in order to incubate, nurture and commercialize ideas.

“We hope that together we can think bigger and do more than we have before,” Rosenthal says. “Transform Cincinnati is working hard to identify and facilitate connections between organizations with big ideas and the investors and funders with between $1 million and $10 million who can help make them happen. We’ve heard from organizations that the process has already helped them to seek new collaborations and to become more focused on how to bring their ideas to life. We’ve heard from investors who never before thought of themselves as having the wherewithal to invest in bigger ideas and now recognize they can do so.

“It’s both gratifying and motivating to recognize that Transform Cincinnati has unlocked a new way to help the region become one of the best places in the country to live, learn, work and play.”

Transform Cincinnati has drawn on the experience and involvement of leading community organizations such as ArtsWave, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Interact for Health, the Jewish Federation and United Way.
 
If you’re interested in investing in one of these six ideas, register here before Sept. 28.
 

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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