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High school musicians will work with the CSO and Pops to put on a concert in April


Local high school students are practicing for what's bound to be a memorable performance.

On April 11, a combined orchestra — made up of students from Indian Hill, Mariemont and Madeira high schools — will perform under the conductorship of Cincinnati Pops’ John Morris Russell.
 
Along the way, they’ll receive coaching from Russell, as well as from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Pops assistant conductors and musicians.
 
The concert is part of a longstanding and collaborative effort that is a key aspect of the CSO’s education and community engagement initiative.
 
“I’m thrilled we are continuing this collaboration for the fifth year in a row,” Russell says. “It’s a joy to see how this program has developed as well as the intense dedication of the student musicians and faculty members in rehearsing and performing together on this very special event.”

The opportunity to perform under the guidance of a top-notch and respected conductor fosters talent and discipline, says Ahmad Mayes, the CSO’s director of education and community engagement. “As the leading music organization in the region, the Orchestra embraces instrumental instruction as a tool for learning and change.”

And when students are highly engaged and inspired, they are capable of producing content that allows them to further recognize their creativity and strength.

“One of the most gratifying endeavors as Pops conductor  is working in the community with music educators, developing self-discipline, creativity, teamwork and love of beauty in our students," Russell says.

Do Good: 

•    Mark your calendars for April 11. Students will perform at 7 p.m. at Indian Hill High School. 

•    Explore ways you can create musical opportunities for students within the classroom.

•    Know a talented young musician? Check out the various opportunities for growth offered by the CSO and Pops.
 

Brackets For Good expands to Cincy, creates new opportunities for nonprofits


Cincinnati is participating in Brackets For Good’s annual fundraising tournament, which will provide 57 local nonprofits exposure, donations and the opportunity to collect a $10,000 grand prize grant.
 
BFG, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit, launched in 2012 and has since provided a means for other nonprofits to raise more than $2.75 million through its bracket contest, which coincides with March Madness and the hype surrounding the NCAA Tournament. BFG is held in 10 other cities, including Ann Arbor, Baltimore, Denver, Hartford, Indianapolis, Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville and St. Louis.
 
"Due to the collaborative spirit of the Cincinnati nonprofit community and the city's proximity to our home base in Indianapolis, Cincinnati has been on our short list for expansion cities," says Reid McDowell, BFG’s marketing and partnerships director. "We're really excited about the inaugural Cincinnati Brackets For Good tournament and for all the good that will come from raising awareness and funds for organizations that are serving the local community." 
 
Nonprofit participation ranges and a variety of causes are represented, and all — like Adore-A-Bull Rescue, for example — are excited to amp up and challenge their donor bases.
 
“Participating in Brackets For Good gives Adore-A-Bull Rescue the opportunity to reach a larger audience about our work with pit bulls — a very misunderstood breed of dogs — while fostering a fun and competitive spirit among local nonprofits,” says Britt Born, fundraising chair.
 
Bingham-Greenebaum Doll LLP — a longtime corporate partner of BFG — is Cincinnati’s presenting sponsor.
 
"Supporting Brackets For Good amplifies our impact on nonprofit organizations, allows us to empower numerous organizations with one investment and is a fun way to create social good,” says Robyn Radomski, the law firm's chief business development and marketing officer.
 
And it’s amplification that Matt McIntyre, co-founder and executive director of BFG, says is an added benefit for the nonprofits.
 
“Thousands of people will learn about and support charitable organizations for the first time, which has a profound and lasting impact on that individual, the organization receiving support and the community as a whole,” McIntyre says.

Do Good: 

•    Learn more about the local nonprofit participants and their respective missions. 

•    Support your favorite nonprofit via the BFG challenge, beginning Feb. 24. Each dollar is worth a point and will help your nonprofit advance to the next round. 

•    Like BFG on Facebook.
 

Annual Securing the Future Conference to challenge and inspire nonprofits


It’s time to end the “Nonprofit Hunger Games,” says Vu Le, author of the blog Nonprofit With Balls
 
Le will serve as keynote speaker at this year’s Securing the Future conference — an annual event aimed at helping nonprofits build their resources and skills — which will be held on Feb. 23 at Xavier University.
 
This year’s topic — because nonprofits have a lot of balls to juggle — is Nonprofit Juggling: People, Perspectives & Priorities. 
 
“This is a one-of-a-kind event in our region, and it is something the nonprofit community looks forward to each year,” says Jenny Berg, executive director of the Leadership Council for Nonprofits, which provides programming for other nonprofits, enabling them to build capacity and gain a network of support. “It brings together nonprofit leaders, funders, board members and businesses to network, learn, challenge, inspire and support the nonprofit community.”
 
This will be the first year the Leadership Council has taken ownership of the annual conference, which began in 2002 as a project of Class XXIV of Leadership Cincinnati, and Berg is excited to take part in hosting it as the lineup of events is a “don’t miss” opportunity, she says.
 
In addition to a keynote address from Le, local leaders will host breakout sessions focused on effectively utilizing individuals connected to nonprofits, whether they be internally or externally involved, ensuring a variety of perspectives are heard and considered, and staying true to one’s mission in spite of pressures that may arise.
 
“It is important to the success of our region to invest in and build up a strong foundation of nonprofits, which in turn makes our community stronger, and more attractive to great talent, development and culture,” Berg says. “If you want to be challenged, encouraged, uplifted, uncomfortable, entertained and to grow, then this is the conference for you. You’ll walk away wondering, ‘What’s one thing that’s too important for me/my organization to juggle — that one thing I simply can’t afford to drop — and how will I ensure it doesn’t get juggled?’”

Do Good: 

•    View the schedule for Securing the Future to learn more.

•    Register by Feb. 17 if you would like to attend Securing the Future.

•    Follow the Leadership Council on Twitter.
 

Female philanthropists to award nonprofits with more than $400k in 2017


For the third straight year, Impact 100 has sustained its member base and will again be able to offer four local nonprofits grants of $101,000 each.
 
With more than 400 women ranging in age from their early 20s to their 80s, the all-female philanthropic group makes it a point to individually pledge $1,000 per year. This allows the organization to pool their money and provide nonprofits with the funds and capacity needed to transform lives. The group will recognize grant recipients at its annual awards celebration on Sept. 12.
 
A record number of applications were submitted this year from five focus areas: culture, education, environment, family and health and wellness.
 
Final applications from those receiving letters of intent are due March 24, at which point they will be further reviewed.
 
According to Impact 100 president Donna Broderick, it’s both exciting and encouraging to see women step up for the good of the community and empower themselves by voting on the nonprofit they feel most passionate about.
 
“It is a testament to the humanitarian spirit of the women of our region that Impact 100 has gone from offering one grant in 2002, to offering four $101,000 grants in just 15 years,” Broderick says. “More importantly, these dollars have improved, and in some cases, changed the lives of many of those served by the organizations that have received our grants.”

Do Good: 

•    Learn more about previous grantees to see how they're transforming lives and communities.

•    If you're a female interested in philanthropy, join Impact 100. New members are always welcome.

•    Connect with Impact 100 on Facebook.
 

La Soupe on a mission to double its reach in 2017


Looking for a special way to enjoy Valentine’s Day?
 
Whether it’s with that special someone, a family member or a friend, La Soupe is offering a way for you to celebrate by “paying with your heart.”
 
The nonprofit, which rescues nutritious ingredients from otherwise wasted food and then prepares dishes in an effort to combat food insecurity, will serve its soups at Union Hall on Feb. 14.
 
The goal: to immerse itself within the startup movement while aiming to double its expansion efforts.
 
“Cincinnati is ranked the no. 2 city in the U.S. for childhood poverty; at the same time, 40 percent of all food in the U.S. is wasted,” says Jessica Kerr, La Soupe’s director of development. “La Soupe’s mission is to bridge this gap.”
 
According to Kerr, the nonprofit has rescued more than 125,000 pounds of food and donated 95,000 servings of soup to people in need.
 
“That equates to saving 270 cubic yards of landfill,” Kerr says. “However, we are at our capacity with our 900-square-foot building. We are fundraising to expand our location so we can double the amount of food we rescue and soups we share.”
 
Next week’s Union Hall event will feature #StartUpCincy member companies, most of which are physical in nature. But for Kerr, the hope is this: “That people will stop by to taste some soups, see what Union Hall has to offer and shop around for any last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts.”
 
The event will feature soups from its Bucket Brigade chefs, including Orchids at Palm Court’s Todd Kelly, Salazar’s Andy Hiner and Maribelle’s Mike Florea. Soup will be free of charge, though donations will be accepted to help the nonprofit reach more individuals in the days to come.
 
“We are so excited to be welcomed into the #StartUpCincy community,” Kerr says. “Cincinnati’s startup scene revolves around innovation of all kinds (not just tech), and our goal is to show the city — and the country — that increasing collaboration among tech and social companies can solve major problems through innovation. We are dedicated to utilizing technology to bridge Cincinnati's food waste and food insecurity gap.”

Do Good: 

•    Check out La Soupe at its Feb. 14 event, or via its Soupe Mobile at Mariemont Square on Feb. 28. 

•    Interested in La Soupe and its Soupe Mobile? Follow the schedule on Facebook and Twitter at @SoupePassionne. 

•    Support La Soupe by donating today.
 

Calling nonprofits: Studio C incubator accepting apps now through Feb. 20


For nonprofits interested in better serving others via creative means — specifically for those aiming to address issues of poverty from a family-centered approach — Studio C is accepting applications now through Feb. 20.
 
Studio C is a 12-week project incubator for nonprofits and community organizations that are looking to “spend more time than usual getting acquainted with a problem, studying it and checking it with the community,” says Design Impact’s Sarah Corlett, who is a co-facilitator for the program.

Check out the takeaways of some of Studio C's past participants below:


 
For Mike Baker, United Way’s director of community impact, it’s a way for organizations to pair up with others who approach problems differently and ultimately find a way to move their ideas forward.
 
“The impact we are most proud of is when we see organizations shift their culture to be more human-centered,” Baker says. “They change from approaching opportunities with a mindset of ‘What do we know?’ to a mindset of ‘What can we learn?’”
 
United Way, which is funding the initiative, partnered with Design Impact — they're providing the curriculum for the 12 weeks of discussions, workshops, coaching and hands-on activities.
 
“We believe there are unproven — but potentially transformational ideas — and we have a responsibility for supporting the creation, development and implementation of these ideas,” Baker says. “We are particularly interested in the role that human-centered design can play in helping nonprofits and community organizations more intimately understand the aspirations, strengths and challenges of the people they are trying to help.”

Do Good: 

•    Are you a nonprofit interested in a family-centered approach to alleviating poverty? If so, apply for Studio C's spring session by Feb. 20. 

•    Curious about the Studio C curriculum? Learn more here.

•    Questions or comments? Don't hesitate to reach out to share your ideas or concerns. Contact those who are part of Studio C today. 
 

Local STEM Bicycle Clubs gain momentum in fourth year


Students at 12 local schools will receive 160 bicycles this week, which they will learn to disassemble and reengineer — eventually ending up with a finished product and a new mode of transportation.
 
The project — initially debuted at Woodward Career Technical High School — is now in its fourth year. It has grown significantly over the years, and is a huge success, says Mary Adams, project manager of the Greater Cincinnati STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Collaborative — the nonprofit organizer of GCSC Bicycle Clubs.
 
“Twelve clubs means that in year four, we are reaching more kids, getting them engaged, making learning fun and creating an impact,” Adams says. "That impact, repeated in data and heard last week during the professional development training for club leaders, is that STEM Bicycle Clubs give kids experiences that build confidence and get them to think about career possibilities they didn’t even know exist.”
According to Woodward’s Resource Coordinator Casey Fisher, students tend to have “tunnel vision,” thinking the only STEM careers out there are in the medical fields — doctors and nurses.
 
Through her three years of experience as a Bicycle Club project leader, Fisher has witnessed first-hand the direct impact mentors, including those from GE, have had on students’ lives.
 
“[Students were] shy, not as social, reserved and intimidated at first,” Fisher says. “By midway, these kids were engaged, asking questions without prompts, learning how to be a family and relating to science, technology, engineering and math.” 

Do Good: 

•    Learn more about the GCSC by connecting with the nonprofit on Facebook.

•    With more support, the GCSC can continue to expand its Bicycle Clubs, reaching even more students. Support the GCSC today.

•    The GCSC is accepting applications for its Summer of STEM 2017 mini-grants through Feb. 17. Learn more, and apply today.
 

DePaul Cristo Rey's work study program allows students to excel at school and work


This year is already off to a great start for DePaul Cristo Rey High School, as its students are showing continued academic success while building connections within the local community.

For the third year, DePaul Cristo Rey seniors have achieved a 100 percent college acceptance rate. Meanwhile, the school’s Corporate Work Study Program, which allows students to not only gain soft skills, experience and knowledge via a workplace setting and save their families money by earning funds that are applied to tuition — making private school affordable and accessible — is expanding.

Eight additional companies, including well recognized corporate entities and a minority-owned firm, recently joined the CWSP.

“Adding new partners to the CWSP allows DPCR to provide a private, college-prep, quality education to even more students in our community whose families can’t afford other private schools,” says Margee Garbsch, the school’s director of communications and marketing. “Because the CWSP is a fundamental part of a Cristo Rey education, we must have a job for every student, and since our enrollment continues to increase each year, we must add partners as we add students.”

According to Garbsch, adding more partners also adds a larger knowledge base for students with varying interests.

“New sectors like manufacturing, for example, as well as growth in sectors such as healthcare and banking continue to expand our students’ vision of what their future opportunities, careers and goals can be,” Garbsch says. “It also exposes them to professional role models, mentors and opportunities.”

It’s initiatives like the CWSP that play a role in DePaul Cristo Rey's students’ success and drive to continue education post-high school, evidenced by the placement of the school’s alumni from previous years.

“Most graduates of the classes of 2015 and 2016 are enrolled in colleges — some as close as the University of Cincinnati — some further away,” Garbsch says. “The list includes The Ohio State University, Loyola in Chicago and Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania.”

Do Good: 

•    Is your company interested in supporting DePaul Cristo Rey students? Become a corporate partner.

•    Give to DePaul Cristo Rey.

•    Support DePaul Cristo Rey students by volunteering.
 

LNGC aims to surpass last year's nearly $50k at 6th annual Handbags for Hope


On Feb. 23, the community is invited to celebrate literacy in Cincinnati as the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati hosts its sixth annual Handbags for Hope event.
 
Cocktails, dinner, raffles and a silent auction will enable not only an enjoyable “Girl’s Night Out” but an avenue for fundraising as well. Nearly $50,000 was raised at last year’s event, and LNGC is hoping to exceed that goal this year.
 
“Handbags for Hope is a wonderful example of the good things that happen when people come together to enrich our community,” says Michelle Otten Guenther, LNGC president.
 
Money raised enables LNGC to continue to offer and expand its programming and services. Currently, the Literacy Network operates a hotline that connects adults and their children with the appropriate resources, in addition to an array of programs, including the Adult Basic Reading Program and Winners Walk Tall — a program aimed at building character among youth.
 
New at this year’s event: a Louis Vuitton raffle where the prize is a handbag valued at $990, as well as a Golden Ticket raffle where an individual will have the opportunity to choose any handbag up for auction. The new raffle prizes are intended to help LNGC raise even more funds to assist the community.
 
“We could not accomplish all that we do without the incredibly generous support of our volunteers, board members, donors and community partners,” Otten Guenther says. “We can't wait to celebrate and honor the accomplishments of those who have made the past year so successful.”

Do Good: 

•    Purchase your ticket to Handbags for Hope before they sell out. 

•    Can't attend next month's event? Support the LNGC today.

•    Volunteer with the LNGC. The next training date takes place in early March.
 

Matilda Reading Challenge builds anticipation for upcoming Broadway production


Fans of Roald Dahl remember his beloved character Matilda Wormwood’s determined spirit. Perhaps, too, they recall her love of books.
 
In honor of Matilda's favorite hobby, there are currently some incentives offered to children who read three or more of Dahl’s books by March 17.
 
To participate in the Matilda Reading Challenge — a collaboration between Broadway in Cincinnati and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County — pick up a reading passport from the Aronoff Center ticket office or your local library, and stamp it after each book is completed.
 
The prizes?

One reader will win a family four-pack of tickets to Matilda the Musical during its April run, in addition to a copy of the book and gift cards, while 10 readers will receive a copy of the book signed by the musical’s lead actress.
 
“This musical is a tribute to those who love books,” says Genevieve Holt, general manager of Broadway in Cincinnati. “We are proud to work with the Library to create a fun reading challenge.”
 
Matilda the Musical runs April 4-16, and will close out Broadway in Cincinnati’s 2016-17 season. 

Do Good: 

•    Pick up your Matilda Reading Challenge passport today. 

•    Find ways to foster a love for reading among your children. 

•    Connect with Broadway in Cincinnati and the PLCHC on Facebook. 
 

Streetside Brewery serves as gathering spot for community to give back


Bartender, social media guru, events planner, daughter, sibling and professional equestrian — this is Erin Hickey.
 
Hickey’s parents and brother own Streetside Brewery in Columbia-Tusculum, and on Saturday, they’ll partner up with Save the Animals Foundation to raise money for the nonprofit via its Channel Your Flannel fundraiser.
 
“Our family is from Columbia-Tusculum, and we have great pride in our neighborhood and Cincinnati as a city,” Hickey says. “We think that giving back to the community is a necessity to help our neighborhood and city grow and develop.”
 
And STAF was a fitting choice for Streetside — given Hickey’s love of animals — in addition to the fact that her family owns a rescue dog. Streetside's staff is also composed of animal lovers and pet owners, and the nonprofit is a local establishment.
 
“We thought supporting our furry friends would be a great way to start 2017,” Hickey says.
 
At Saturday’s event, attendees can compete for “Best Flannel Outfit” and “Best Beard,” purchase raffle tickets for a variety of gift baskets and sample the brewery’s newest release — its French Toast Brown Ale.
 
“A portion of all beer sales from the event will go toward STAF, as well as the proceeds from the raffle,” Hickey says. “And of course, you are welcome to donate until your heart’s content!”

Do Good: 

•    Wear your flannel, and plan to attend Channel Your Flannel from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Streetside, 4003 Eastern Ave., 45226. 

•    Can't attend? Support STAF by donating now.

•    Connect with Streetside Brewery and STAF on Facebook.
 

The PLCHC invites you to share your neighborhood memories through "Our Cincinnati"


The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is inviting patrons to share their personal stories as part of its “Our Cincinnati” project, which is a digital celebration of Hamilton County’s neighborhoods.

Patrons can scan their paper-based memorabilia — photos, letters, maps — at one of eight library locations from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoons, now through March.

“What we ultimately wanted out of the project was a collection that was built by the community,” says Chad Lewis, sorting and materials retrieval manager for the PLCHC.

The library is also encouraging patrons to educate themselves on how to preserve photos, documents, mementos and memorabilia. Representatives from the University of Cincinnati's Preservation Lab will be visiting the library locations to help with this portion of the project.

The next phase of “Our Cincinnati” includes oral and video recordings, and a third phase will include a printed book as well as a digital archive.

“The role of our library is changing in a lot of ways,” says Kelly Hartmann, library branch manager at the Mt. Healthy location. “It used to be that the traditional library service was one waychecking out items to patrons. Now, we have customers creating the content that will become part of the library, and the library will make that content available to the community. It’s a community curated collection.”

Do Good: 

•    Gather your photos, momentos and memorabilia that tell the story of your neighborhood. 

•    See a list of dates and library locations, and plan a visit to scan your memorabilia for "Our Cincinnati."

•    For more information about "Our Cincinnati," call 513-369-6900 or visit cincinnatilibrary.org.
 

Reforest Northern Kentucky celebrates 10 years of planting trees, educating community


It’s been 10 years since the Northern Kentucky Urban & Community Forestry Council started its annual tree planting event, Reforest NKY, and it doesn’t look like there are plans to stop anytime soon.

In the last decade, the volunteer-based project has planted more than 36 acres of trees all across Northern Kentucky. On March 25, Reforest NKY will head just north of Big Bone Lick State Park in Boone County to the Piner property to continue to restore Kentucky's landscape.  

“Reforest NKY has become a stepping stone to restoring trees, and ultimately forests, into the landscape,” says Tara Sturgill, Reforest NKY secretary and public relations subcommittee chair. “Reforest NKY is increasing public awareness of the importance of trees, which will ultimately improve the quality of life for everyone in the community.”

The area where volunteers will be planting is on a stream restoration project site, which is being completed by Northern Kentucky University's Center for Environmental Restoration.

“At the source, this event is about the trees, but we are also hoping to create an atmosphere of awareness and education around reforestation and what it means to our communities, and to us as individuals," Sturgill says. "Cultivating a spirit of stewardship for our native forests amongst those that we influence through this event is paramount to our program.”
 
Do Good: 

•    Look out for Reforest NKY's 2017 volunteer registration, which will open in February.

•    Want to help in the planning process? Visit the website for committee meeting dates and times. 

•    For more information on Reforest NKY and how you can help, contact Sturgill at 859-409-0791 or reforestnky@gmail.com.
 

Pops to host NYC jazz band for NYE speakeasy-themed concert


If you’ve yet to formulate plans for New Year's Eve, have no fear; the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra has you covered.  
 
New York City-based jazz band, The Hot Sardines, will join the Pops at its Dec. 31 speakeasy-themed concert, which will feature old-time favorites from the likes of George Gershwin and Duke Ellington, in addition to some of The Hot Sardines’ originals.
 
“Sometimes life requires a party,” said Evan Palazzo, The Hot Sardines’ bandleader. “But one that conveys a rich emotional experience which people today sometimes need permission to feel, otherwise known as fun.”
 
And that’s what the two musical groups plan to bring to the Taft Theatre — perhaps the perfect setting for a speakeasy-themed event where patrons are encouraged to come dressed with their beads and boas.
 
“We love high-energy music from the first half of the 20th century,” Palazzo said. “Our mission is to show its relevance and power as we usher in 2017.”
 
Tickets are still available for the special New Year’s Eve performance, which begins at 8 p.m. 

Do Good: 

•    Purchase your concert tickets before they sell out. 

•    Check out a couple of The Hot Sardines' latest hits here and here

•    Connect with the Pops on Facebook.
 

More work to be done to ensure warmth, safety for local homeless population


December has ushered in colder weather than normal, and alongside the frigid temperatures comes the need to provide warmth and safety to the city's homeless population.
 
The Winter Shelter, which can house up to 200 individuals per night, opened its doors Dec. 8 and will remain open through February — a much-needed addition to the 675 beds available year-round that are already at or above capacity.
 
“We have been working to ensure that everyone who needs to come in off the streets has a warm place to sleep,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.  
 
The 2016-17 season marks the second year that the Winter Shelter will operate out of a permanent location — within the David and Rebecca Baron Center for Men.
 
Despite its name, the Winter Shelter houses both men and women and helps ensure no one is out on the street in the cold.
 
While the City of Cincinnati, Shelterhouse (formerly the Drop Inn Center) and Strategies to End Homelessness have all collaborated to make sure adequate funding is in place to operate the Winter Shelter, they are trying to do more, as the month of March is not currently funded.
 
“We’ve secured 90 percent of the funding needed to staff and operate the Winter Shelter through February,” Finn said. “Of course, it can still be very cold in March, and if the weather calls for the Winter Shelter to stay open longer, that requires even more resources.”

Do Good: 

•    Support the Winter Shelter by donating today.

•    If you encounter an individual cold and on the street, tell them about the Winter Shelter. 

•    Looking for a last-minute holiday gift? Purchase a $10 ornament now through Dec. 23, and feed 10 homeless individuals in the process. 
 
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