| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

For Good

643 Articles | Page: | Show All

SVP to host bigger, better Fast Pitch this year

Social Venture Partners Cincinnati will once again host its Fast Pitch competition, where local nonprofits will deliver their pitches in an attempt to attain grant money to put toward funding their missions.
 
Last year, three grantees were awarded prize money, which totaled $7,500; but this year, there is more support and, therefore, larger prizes—and more of them.
 
“You could win up to $16,000 if you do a sweep,” says Joan Kaup, executive director of SVP Cincinnati. “So, there’s $27,500 right now, but doesn’t $30,000 just sound better? I haven’t given up yet.”
 
Fast Pitch, which is modeled on a technique introduced in the venture capital and startup community, is an idea that prompts organizations to learn their story and figure out an effective way to share it.
 
“So the goal is to initially accept 20 [nonprofits] and invite them to training, and that’s all about, ‘What is your message? What is your key story?’” Kaup says. “And then those 20 will get a practice round with the Partners, who will narrow it down to eight; and those then get a training focused on, ‘Now that you know your story, how are you going to deliver it in a way that is creative, compelling and concise?”
 
SVP Cincinnati will match each organization with mentors and coaches who will work with one another for several weeks leading up to the February 11 event.
 
This year’s theme is Innovation that Matters, and the competition is open to all area nonprofits.
 
“What are the really wicked, sticky issues we’re dealing with in today’s society, and how are we going to bust that right open and take care of it?” Kaup says. “So we’re asking them to come forward with their innovative solutions that will make a difference to Greater Cincinnati. It could be children, animals, environment—I don’t want to put a fence around it—it’s wide open.”
 
Perhaps most exciting is that this year’s winner will also have the chance to compete on a national level in September 2015, as eight different SVP affiliates host this type of competition throughout the U.S.
 
“So we’re going to come together and have a national competition, which is just great for building capacity—it’s that much more exposure, that much more awareness,” Kaup says. “It will be about, ‘What is that nonprofit doing, what is the mission, the activity, how is the organization making an impact in the community, and can it be scaled to other communities? It’s exposure to what will be national funders and foundations, so the opportunity is pretty big for them.” 

Do Good:

•    If you're a nonprofit, apply for Fast Pitch prior to the November 1 deadline. 

•    Contact Joan Kaup if you're interested in sponsoring the event and helping the organization reach the $30,000 mark.

•    Save the date, and contact Joan to be put on the event's waiting list so you're first to know when tickets are available for purchase. 
 

HUC-JIR celebrates interfaith harmony, honors former prof

Lowell McCoy learned the importance of connecting with others through shared values at a young age.
 
McCoy, 95, began his career as a chaplain in the U.S. Army during World War II, then served several Methodist congregations prior to joining the University of Cincinnati and The Ohio State University’s speech departments.
 
In 1940, McCoy was tasked with helping Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion set up a speech program of its own; he then joined the faculty and taught rabbinical students the art of effective oration for 50 years.
 
According to Hebrew Union College representatives, there are no other known cases of Christian ministers training rabbis; and to honor his impact and to promote interfaith harmony, the institution has created an award in his honor.
 
The McCoy Prize in Interfaith Relations was awarded for the first time at this year’s graduation ceremonies, and it will be highlighted at the college’s 31st annual Cincinnati Associates Tribute Dinner Sunday.
 
“Throughout his career, Lowell endeavored always to build bridges of understanding and friendship between people of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds,” HUC-JIR said, when announcing the prize.
 
It's for that reason, says Rabbi David Whiman—who was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1979—that an award be named in Lowell’s honor. “Lowell’s gentle manner, kind and caring heart, and commitment to interfaith understanding and love for Reform Judaism make this prize an apt tribute.” 

Do Good:

•    Support HUC-JIR by donating.

•    Call 513-487-3047 if you're interested in attending Sunday's dinner. 

•    Connect with HUC-JIR on Facebook.
 

GiveCamp provides nearly 200K in website redesigns, apps for area nonprofits

Seventy-eight volunteer developers, database administrators and designers came together for Southwest Ohio GiveCamp this weekend, and as a result, 13 nonprofits came away with things like free website redesigns and cell phone applications.
 
Volunteers donated about 1,940 hours of their time to produce final products equating to about $194,000 in value.
 
“The nonprofits couldn’t do this on their own,” says Eric Schwartz, who has helped organize the event for the past five years. “It works out every year to be usually $14,000 of labor for each nonprofit if they were to pay to do it on their own, and we get it done in 2.5 days.”
 
According to one of the nonprofits, calculations indicate their project would have actually cost around $33,000, so $14,000 is conservative, Schwartz says.
 
This year, there was also a children's code camp, which took place Saturday afternoon.
 
“It’s good for us as parents—your kids are going to learn what you do for a job,” Schwartz says. “And you’re starting to teach the next generation of kids to do this.”
 
The best thing about the weekend, Schwartz says, was seeing nonprofit representatives hanging around with the team of volunteers working on their projects.
 
“Those are the most successful projects—where they work alongside each other, get to know how to work it and provide feedback,” Schwartz says. “And at the end, it’s just great to see their eyes light up when they see this brand new thing.” 

Do Good:

•    Connect with Southwest Ohio GiveCamp on Facebook.

•    Once you connect with the organization, learn about its volunteer-needs so you can help SWOGC help even more nonprofits next year.

•    Check out SWOGC's portfolio of work.
 

de Cavels host 11th annual brunch with hope to eradicate SIDS

The de Cavel Family SIDS Foundation hosted its 11th Friends and Family Brunch and silent auction Saturday in an effort to add to the more than $750,000 raised throughout the past 10 years.
 
Chef Jean-Robert and his wife Annette founded the organization in 2003 after losing their daughter Tatiana to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
 
Now, according to Annette, part of the goal is to keep her memory alive.
 
“The whole purpose is that she’s not forgotten,” Annette says. “And we keep giving back through her, and honoring her in her name.”
 
One way it honors her is through the Tatiana de Cavel Scholarship Fund at The Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State, which enables students to finish their studies, though the organization’s overall goal is to fund research and education in an attempt to eradicate SIDS.
 
Last year, the de Cavels were able to award $27,500 to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cradle Cincinnati and Cribs for Kids to enable research, support families and promote safe sleep; and organizers say this year's brunch was even better.
 
If it weren’t for the local community and members of the restaurant community—who have dedicated their time and talents to the annual brunch—Annette says none of this would be possible.
 
“It’s incredibly touching,” Annette says. “We both are not from Cincinnati, and it’s that friendship and support during tough times that has helped.” 

Do Good: 

•    Save the date for next year's brunch, which will take place Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

•    Like the organization's page on Facebook.

•    Support the foundation by giving.
 

Internationally renowned conductor returns to local, musical roots

Kazem Abdullah returned to his musical roots this weekend, as he made his conducting debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus.
 
Abdullah currently serves as generalmusikdirektor in Aachen, Germany, but he is a former member of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra.
 
“I was living in Dayton [during my time with the CSYO], but all my training basically happened in Cincinnati,” Abdullah says. “I’d always wanted to play in a youth orchestra year-round.”
 
So from 1993-94 and 1995-96, Abdullah developed his talents as a clarinetist and played alongside other talented students and then-members of the CSO.
 
According to Abdullah, his time with the CSYO was not only musically engaging, but also healing.
 
When he was 11 years old and at Interlochen’s music camp, he received news that his brother had been mugged, shot and killed.
 
“It was a difficult time for me and my family, so it was a good thing to give my life a little bit more structure,” Abdullah says.
 
It helped Abdullah keep his mind occupied and focused on his passion, and it was also a formative experience for him, he says, as it was an opportunity to further his knowledge and continue on a path that would enable him to pursue music as a career and become an international talent.
 
“I’ve always loved Cincinnati,” Abdullah says. “I rehearsed with the CSO when I was a kid in the youth orchestra and always loved them, so to be able to actually work with them, it’s a really great honor and really great pleasure as a woodwind player.” 

Do Good:

•    Support Cincinnati's orchestras, choruses and musical programs by donating.

•    Support our performers by attending an upcoming performance

•    Learn about audition requirements for the CSYO.
 

Mannequin hosts Beer, BBQ & Bach fundraiser

Beer, BBQ & Bach, Mannequin’s second-annual yearly fundraiser to raise rent money for the charity boutique, will take place October 22.
 
“The thought behind it is, if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes my friends to raise my rent,” says Moe Rouse, the boutique’s founder. “Last year, it raised a lot more—it paid for the utilities—and I pay for the one paid position in the shop, so we can say really truly that every penny of sales goes to our seven charities.”
 
Since the boutique’s opening in 2011, Rouse says the store has generated about $50,000 per year, so UCan, Lighthouse Youth Services, the Freestore Foodbank, First Step Home, Caracole, Tender Mercies and Wesley Chapel Mission Center each come away with about $7,000 annually.
 
Though Beer, BBQ & Bach is a fundraiser for rent, Rouse says it’s ultimately a way to support the charities.
 
“Are they in fact paying my rent, or in fact giving money to the charities?” Rouse says. “It’s an idea that allows more money to go to the charities.”
 
And it’s through “a juxtaposition of things you wouldn’t expect,” she says. “It will take place at Rhinegeist—a factory that goes back to the 1800s—with this quartet playing Bach, and then people stuffing their faces with Eli’s Barbeque and Rhinegeist beer.” 

Do Good:

•    Stop by Mannequin, and ask for an invitation to attend Beer, BBQ & Bach.

•    Call 513-378-2620 if you're interested in volunteering at Mannequin. 

•    Donate your gently used items to the boutique, or stop by to shop. 
 

CYC honors Outstanding Students, raises $105K at Dream Makers Celebration

Cincinnati Youth Collaborative hosted its 11th annual Dream Makers Celebration earlier this month, raising about $105,000 for programs that “empower vulnerable students to succeed.”
 
This year’s two Outstanding Student awardees—both exemplifying that success—spoke at the event and were presented $1,000 scholarships for post-secondary endeavors.
 
Alexius Golden, who now attends Berea College on a full scholarship, and Robert McMurray, who attends Northern Kentucky University, recounted their personal stories—determination to succeed, despite barriers like homelessness—and finding a father-figure through CYC’s one-to-one mentoring.
 
“They endure conditions most of us have never faced—homelessness, incarceration in the family, violence in neighborhood, lack of family support, drugs, teen pregnancy—the list can go on,” says Jane Keller, CYC’s president and CEO.  
 
But despite these struggles, CYC seniors have attained a five-year graduation rate of 96 percent because of their work with positive adult role models and through college readiness and career preparation.
 
“Graduation from high school is so important at this stage of their lives,” Keller says.
 
“Our partner United Way may say it best when they say, ‘We reach out a hand to one, it influences the condition of all.’ And our partner Strive will say, ‘It’s through collaboration we can obtain community collective impact.’ We can’t do it alone. We have to do it together.”

Do Good:

•    Support CYC students by volunteering as a mentor or tutor.

•    Support CYC by investing in a student's future.

•    Connect with CYC on Facebook.
 

Local nonprofit focuses efforts on underfunded pediatric cancer research

Cincinnati Bengals’ Defensive Tackle Devon Still helped raise the national consciousness about pediatric cancer, but now it’s time to keep talking about it, says Ellen Flannery, co-founder of CancerFree KIDS.
 
“We’re so grateful to him for being so open about it, but we’d like to continue the conversation,” Flannery says.
 
CancerFree KIDS is a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that funds grants and forms alliances with researchers “to identify projects that need funding and make them happen.”
 
In the organization’s 12 years of existence, it’s raised about $2 million in research funding—most of which has directly benefited researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
 
“With all the money government puts into cancer research, less than four percent goes to childhood cancer research,” Flannery says. “There’s all these brilliant people trying to do research to save our kids’ lives and they can’t get funding to do it, so all these potentially life saving treatments aren’t even tried.”
 
CancerFree KIDS is working to help fill that void, but according to Flannery, it’s scary that a lack of funding is the primary barrier to curing cancer.
 
“A lot of people think the roadblocks to curing cancer are that the researchers are stumped—they don’t know what to do,” Flannery says. “But literally, it’s a lack of funding—they don’t have enough money to do the great research they want to do—so when you have a loved one who has cancer, it’s a ridiculous thing to think about. It’s just funding? We’re losing people everyday.”
 
More money needs to be put into saving lives, Flannery says, because there’s promise in the research being conducted.
 
The first grantee who was ever funded by CancerFree KIDS, for example, is about to see his research begin clinical trials.
 
“We thought it showed promise, and now he’s gone to get millions more in funding,” Flannery says. “Every animal they’ve tried it on, every type of cancer they’ve tried this drug on, it’s cured it—and that’s unheard of. It just goes to show—what if we hadn’t given that grant and he had never tried?”

Do Good:

•    Learn about the various football-related events and partnerships you can engage in to support CancerFree KIDS through its fourth-annual Tackle Childhood Cancer initiative. 

•    Text the word "tackle" to 80100 to donate $10 toward funding pediatric cancer research.

•    Support CancerFree KIDS by giving or attending upcoming events.
 

Cincinnati mom's inventiveness leads to small biz, charity partnership

When Cincinnati native and mom Shelby Mckee wanted to be comfortable and wear flats to a Bengals game on a cool October day, she wasn’t willing to sacrifice her warmth by wearing no-show socks or “footies,” so she got creative.
 
“I grabbed my husband’s dress socks and cut a hole in the top of them, and that’s where the journey began,” Mckee says.
 
Three years later, in August 2012, she and her two sisters, Christy and Stefanie, launched Keysocks—the first-ever no-show knee high socks to reach the market.
 
“Coming together with my sisters and having a business together has been amazing,” says Christy Parry.
 
But perhaps more amazing, Perry says, is that the company, after just two years of existence, is now able to partner with a charitable organization.
 
“My sister Stefanie is a cancer survivor, so last year, we had donated Keysocks to Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research’s gala,” Mckee says. “They reached out to us again because they loved the socks so much that they wanted to partner with us, so we ended up putting their angel logo on the back of the socks, and 100 percent net proceeds go to their foundation.”
 
The partnership kicked off last month and will continue through Sept. 1, 2015. The goal is to sell at least 15,000 pairs to directly fund blood cancer research.
 
“To have a foundation we could partner with and be able to give back to means so much,” Parry says. “And Keysocks—we just couldn’t have a better connection with it being to cancer, with my sister”—(Gabrielle was also one of three sisters)—“and being able to give back in the early stages of such a small startup.”

Do Good:

•    Support cancer research by purchasing a special edition pair of Keysocks.

•    Support Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research by donating.

•    Connect with Keysocks and Gabrielle's Angel Foundation on Facebook.

Cincinnati Community ToolBank continues to facilitate nonprofit volunteerism

In the 26 months Cincinnati Community ToolBank has been open, the nonprofit has been able to save its member agencies more than $800,000 dollars by lending tools so they don’t have to be purchased, says Kat Pepmeyer, executive director.
 
“These tools have equipped over 48,000 volunteers on projects that span 10 counties in three states,” Pepmeyer says.
 
To continue its impact and further its reach in the community, Cincinnati Community ToolBank hopes to implement Tools To You. The program would extend the Tool Lending Program, already in place, so member organizations could not only borrow tools for pennies on the dollar, but also receive them via delivery and have the option to purchase small necessity items like paint covers, for example, at a more affordable rate.
 
According to Pepmeyer, the idea for Tools To You stems directly from frequently asked questions by member agencies.
 
To illustrate, one of the organization’s frequent visitors would repeatedly show up to the ToolBank in a new car each week, Pepmeyer says.
 
“So finally I ask her, ‘Did you get a new car?’ And she’s like, ‘No, but if I want to get the wheelbarrows I have to ask my neighbor or brother to use their car so I can pick them up,” Pepmeyer says.
 
The unfortunate part is that if she can’t get the car, she can’t get the wheelbarrows, making the workload harder on volunteers who are already giving so generously of their time.
 
“When you’re talking about a community cleanup project like this one where you have volunteers taking garbage bags full of broken glass, picking up needles and things we probably shouldn’t talk about here, it’s frankly unsafe,” Pepmeyer says.
 
“Our members have already told us they’d be able to do more if we provided this service to them, and our market research indicates there are at least 1,300 nonprofits who aren’t members. There’s so much more room for us to grow—this is just going to increase our members—which will increase the number of tools, hours and projects that are able to be created.”

Do Good: 

•    If you're a nonprofit, become a member so your organization can begin borrowing tools. Membership is free.

•    Support the Cincinnati Community ToolBank by donating funds or tools.

•    Volunteer with the ToolBank.

Welcome House of NKY aims to ease transportation, financial burden for working clients

Welcome House of Northern Kentucky’s vision is to “be a leader in guiding clients from housing uncertainty to stability.”
 
One way it plans to do that is through a program called Ride-n-Seek.
 
“Lack of reliable and successful transportation is a huge barrier,” says Linda Young, executive director.
 
What the nonprofit hopes to do through its Ride-n-Seek program is purchase a 15-passenger van so the organization can begin providing clients with reliable transportation to and from things like job readiness training, which is required of all individuals at the shelter, interviews, networking opportunities, job fairs, childcare providers and more.
 
“Transportation is sometimes unreliable from a timing standpoint,” says Brian Sergent, director of employment and benefits. “And routes don’t adequately serve the large, industrial employment areas like Hebron and Florence.”
 
According to Sergent, trips can exceed 1.5 hours without walking time factored in, and depending on one’s need to transfer, costs can add up to as much as $9 round-trip, causing stress and financial strain for an individual trying to secure and maintain employment.
 
“There are already conversations taking place in Boone County with employers and how a partnership can provide access to a reliable workforce,” Sergent says. “It could have a lasting impact in providing income security.” 

Do Good:

•    Support Welcome House by contributing.

•    Get involved by volunteering.

•    Connect with the nonprofit on Facebook.

EXCEL grad displays leadership through Camp Joy scholarship creation

Gunner Blackmore, Camp Joy development manager, recently completed The Executive Curriculum for Emerging Leaders (EXCEL)—a program offered jointly by Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati and the Talbert House— and its impact on his ability to make a difference in the community was immediate.
 
He initiated a class-wide effort to raise money for a $500 scholarship that will allow a child to attend Camp Joy’s summer program for one week.
 
The organization partners with various nonprofits to bring children who are living with serious medical conditions, who are experiencing grief, who are living in poverty or who are in foster care, together for traditional camp activities that bring engagement and recreation into their lives.
 
“For example, we’ll partner with the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and they’ll come out all as a group,” Blackmore says. “So when a child is at school or just in a neighborhood, they might feel like an outsider, but when they come out to Camp Joy, they’re surrounded by hundreds of other kids with a chronic heart condition, and they’ll talk about what it’s like living with the illness. It provides them a tremendous amount of support.”
 
Since there’s typically no room in the budget for partnering agencies to afford a child the opportunity to go to summer camp, this is a way, Blackmore says, to allow an individual to realize the benefit of the experience, without economic crisis presenting yet another barrier.
 
“And a lot of them end up coming back year after year, because it’s that reinforcement experience that’s an added benefit,” Blackmore says.
 
“Oftentimes our counselors can really notice them growing and becoming leaders. Sometimes they’ll be shy the first couple days and they’ll get a lot of self esteem as the year goes on. Then the second year, they’ll really take charge and become a leader for the new campers. It’s really neat to see.” 

Do Good: 

•    Support other campers by giving to Camp Joy.

•    Support Talbert House by giving.

•    Support ESCC by giving.

Citizenship, opportunity through music at MYCincinnati

The ten hours a week MYCincinnati orchestra members spend together enables students to not only become talented musicians, but also increase self-confidence, build social skills, engage in citizenship, and express their creativity and passion.
 
Through participation in the orchestra, which is offered through Price Hill Will and modeled on El Sistema—a program that utilizes music as a vehicle for social change—residents of the area are provided with an instrument, high-quality instruction and an opportunity.
 
“Every family faces their own unique set of challenges, but they all want a better road to the future for their children,” says Laura Jekel, program director. “I believe MYCincinnati is that road.”
 
Since the program’s inception, one student has gone from having never touched a violin to being an accomplished instrumentalist who has worked her way into the School for Creative & Performing Arts’ top orchestra.

Another student turned down a free opportunity to go to Kings Island, because she didn’t want to miss a single day of camp this summer.
 
For Jekel, the program opens up “a world of potential” as soon as a student gets an instrument in his or her hand.
 
“We’re giving them the skills to transform their neighborhood,” Jekel says. “To forge relationships across barriers of race and language, and to lead their communities.” 

Do Good:

•    Support MYCincinnati.

•    Volunteer with MYCincinnati.

•    Enroll your child.

LNGC classes empower adults through free literacy classes

Sharon Johnson initially became involved with the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati when she made the decision to support her fiancé who had enrolled in classes through the nonprofit’s Adult Basic Literacy Program.
 
What she found, however, was that the content he was learning picked up where she had left off in her own studies.
 
“My story starts when I was little. I couldn’t pronounce words at all. I stuttered. My pronunciation was really bad,” Johnson says. “But my mom made it her business to find ways to teach me and to get me to programs like this one when I was a little girl.”
 
But at age 16, Johnson had to quit school to help raise her sisters and to care for her mother, who had become ill.
 
“I never went back. I tried two programs when I was about 19, and they didn’t help—they made me feel uncomfortable,” Johnson says. “At 35, my mom was getting sicker, my kids were growing up—I wanted her to be proud of me—I wanted them to be proud of me, and I wanted to be proud of myself.”
 
So Johnson worked to attain her GED, and she continues to further her knowledge through the LNGC’s classes.
 
“What mama don’t know, mama can’t teach,” Johnson says. “I wanted my children to know that no matter what life throws at you, you can always go back and get your education. I’m very happy to have this program in my life.” 

Do Good:

•    Support the LNGC's programs by donating.

•    Volunteer for the LNGC.

•    Spread the word about the LNGC's services so more individuals like Johnson can become empowered.
 

Community Matters moves forward with Washing Well

The average middle class family spends less than one percent of its income on laundry, while residents of Lower Price Hill spend, on average, one-ninth of their income on laundry, according to Jen Walters, Community Matters’ president and founder.
 
“There’s about 600 families—over 90 percent of our neighbors are renters—and the vast majority rely on public transportation,” Walters says. “There’s a high percentage of female-headed households, and $9,600 is the average annual salary. Our community is full of strong hardworking people, but they don’t have access to things others sometimes take for granted.”
 
Currently there’s a lack of access to a local laundry facility, but that’s about to change, as the nonprofit gears up to implement plans for what will eventually become a worker-operated cooperative—the Washing Well project—which will “create a community laundromat to meet the severe need for access to safe, affordable and local laundry in the Lower Price Hill neighborhood.”
 
Now, rather than having to take two bus trips—potentially accompanied by children—and spend about five hours at a laundromat, residents will be able to access laundry facilities without having to leave the neighborhood.
 
After taking care of the barrier regarding access, Walters says the organization needed to address affordability.
 
“It will be priced below the market but [will] still [generate] enough to be sustainable,” Walters says. “We’ll sell detergent by the cup, because buying that detergent from the beginning was often a barrier, and they were trying to stretch it out as long as they could, which took away from the hygienic aspect for doing laundry in the first place.”
 
If the price point is still an issue, there will be nonmonetary options, like volunteering, which residents can engage in, so they can earn washes and dries; and the space itself will become more than just a laundromat.
 
Instead of sitting around waiting for clothes, residents will be able to work with an Americorps member, who will provide assistance in connecting them to jobs and resources—an added benefit, in addition to access to clean clothes.
 
“It may be the difference that stops people from thinking they can’t go for a job,” Walters says. “It can provide that confidence for kids at school and [instill a sense of] self-worth.” 

Do Good:

•    Volunteer with Community Matters.

•    Support Community Matters by donating.

•    Connect with Community Matters on Facebook.
 
643 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts