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CityLink's MashUp fundraiser to feature unique blend of art forms

CityLink is hosting its annual MashUp fundraising event Oct. 2 to highlight the challenges of poverty in Cincinnati. But this MashUp of various art forms isn’t your typical walk through an art gallery — there will be live music, art and dance performances, including a grunge ballerina, Irish dance, rap and vocal artists.

“This is one of the most fun and unique fundraising events that Cincinnati has to offer,” says CityLink Director of Development and Communications Marissa Abernathy. “We’re bringing together similar art forms and combining them into a new beautiful combination.”

At its core, CityLink supports Cincinnatians who are below the poverty line and working to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The center focuses on goals around education, employment, financial literacy and health and wellness.

Since its doors opened in October 2012, CityLink has been able to provide social services to those in need all under one roof. 

“These performances help us to share our story,” Abernathy says. “They create a narrative around what it’s like to live in Cincinnati when you’re struggling with issues like not having a job or not having a handle on your finances or struggling with barriers that keep you from reaching your full potential.”

The event will also feature an interactive project where guests can create a lasting piece of art for the center. Last year, attendees used paint ball art with slingshots to create a mural.

In addition to various art performances, attendees can sample food and drinks from local eateries and breweries.

MashUp will take place Friday, Oct. 2 from 6-9 p.m. at the CityLink Center, 800 Bank St., West End/Brighton.

Do Good:

• Register to attend MashUp; tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. 

• “Like” CityLink on Facebook.

• Support CityLink with your time by volunteering

ReSource to host fall fundraiser at the newly renovated Transept in OTR

The newly renovated Transept event venue across from Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine will host ReSource’s annual fall fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 3. The historic 1868 structure is one of a number of abandoned local churches that have found new life in recent years.

“We are excited to be one of the first organizations to host an event in this remarkable space,” say ReSource event co-chairs, Gwen Barker and Stephanie McCall. “Not only will this event celebrate ReSource’s donors, volunteers and community partners, but it will give our guests a chance to experience a truly transformed part of Cincinnati’s history.”
ReSource supports the nonprofit community by distributing excess corporate donations such as office furniture, personal care items and other supplies.
At the Oct. 3 event, ReSource will present the Corporate Community Partner Award to RCF Group and the Non-Profit Community Partner Award to Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services.
“This is a nice networking party where sponsors can meet each other and be encouraged by each other … even though some of them are competitors,” says ReSource Development Director Martha Steier.
ReSource, which is privately supported, depends on funding from the community, Steier says, and has a goal of raising more than $125,000 at the fall event, which will feature a raffle, giveaways and a photo booth.
Do Good:

• "Like" ReSource on Facebook to learn more about how the organization serves the local nonprofit community.

• Volunteer your time at the Oct. 3 event; contact Martha Steier for more information.

• ReSource is always looking for gently used donations to redistribute to nonprofits in need. 

Athletes, outdoor enthusiasts excited for annual Great Ohio River Swim (moved to Oct. 10)

UPDATE: The event, originally scheduled for Sept. 27, has been moved back to Oct. 10 at the same time and locations. A statement on the event website says: The algae is not clearing from the Ohio River as fast as expected. With no rain forecast and algae as far upriver as Huntington, it is hard to predict if it will clear by September 27. Rather than make a last minute call, the Great Ohio River Swim has elected to proactively postpone the swim to Saturday, October 10.

Over the past seven years more than 850 people — as young as 10 and as experienced as 85 — have completed the Great Ohio River Swim. Oct. 10 marks the eighth annual year for the event, and it’s expected to be a record-breaking year for the timed 900-meter venture across the Ohio and back.
"We are anticipating record participation this year by area high school, college and club swim teams," says Jonathan Grinder, President and CEO of Tuscon Racing Inc., which manages the event. "It’s a great way to highlight Greater Cincinnati's national reputation as a center of excellence for competitive swimming."
While the River Swim does draw participation from triathletes and conditioned swimmers, it’s also open to anyone who can swim and wants to engage in a unique and fun opportunity to take advantage of the last remaining weeks of warm weather.
Proceeds benefit Green Umbrella, a nonprofit alliance that promotes environmental sustainability in our region. Specifically, the Great Ohio River Swim will benefit the nonprofit’s Meet Me Outdoors website, which highlights recreational outings around town.

Event organizers are monitoring the recent "algae bloom" reports about the Ohio River that would make conditions unsafe to swim but say on the event website that "the weather has changed dramatically with cooler temperatures and recent rain, making the likelihood of a health threatening algae bloom increasingly remote. Nevertheless, the Great Ohio River Swim is committed to swimmer safety. We are working closely with ORSANCO and the Cincinnati Health Department to monitor all conditions that might affect swimmer safety."

"This is a fun and safe opportunity for people of all ages to swim across the Ohio," says Brewster Rhoads, Swim Chair and volunteer with Green Umbrella. "Swimmers are invariably impressed with the cleanliness and beauty of the Ohio, and they become more committed to protecting it." 

Do Good: 

Register for the Great Ohio River Swim, which takes place Sunday, Oct. 10 at 8:15 a.m., beginning and ending at the Serpentine Wall/Public Landing in downtown Cincinnati.

• Check out Meet Me Outdoors and find an event to attend with your friends or families. 

• If you're interested in supporting Green Umbrella, find out how you can get involved.

Rank & select area healthcare providers through new searchable databases at Your Health Matters

Area residents can make better choices about their healthcare, specifically when it comes to choosing a primary care physician or hospital, thanks to YourHealthMatters.org. The online rating tool was developed locally by the Health Collaborative based on patient experience data.
Results are calculated from a survey mailed to patients who have recently visited their doctor. To eliminate bias, patient responses are randomly sampled and compiled by an independent research company, which are then submitted to Your Health Matters. 
Practices are measured in four core areas: getting care when needed, how well doctors communicate, courteous and helpful office staff and overall rating of the doctor.
“Everyone needs a provider,” says Health Collaborative Director of Communications Shannan Schmitt. “Everyone wants to know who is doing well and who’s listening. This is exactly what we want Your Health Matters to be — a one-stop shop for finding the right doctor.” 
Your Health Matters also rates practices on diabetes care, cardiovascular health and colon cancer screenings.
Since its launch in 2010, YourHealthMatters.org has seen an overall improvement in doctor and hospital ratings, with Cincinnati ranking higher than the national average.  
"Your Health Matters has become a model of our region,” Schmitt says. “Not everyone has this platform. This is a model that can be replicated in other cities and is definitely something our community should be proud of.”
New ratings are set to be released later this month or in early October.
Do Good:

• See for yourself and compare ratings of area medical providers.

• Stay connected with Your Health Matters on Facebook.

• To learn more about YourHealthMatters.org, visit the website.

Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative receives national support to further learning

The Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative (GCSC) is one of just 27 organizations nationwide chosen to pilot the STEM Ecosystems Initiative, a project more than 10 years in the making that’s funded by the STEM Funders Network. The project seeks to “nurture and scale effective science, technology, engineering and math learning opportunities for all young people.”
The GCSC has made it its mission to facilitate partnerships that afford students increased learning opportunities such as the STEM Bicycle Club, a cross-sector collaboration that models the innovative approach the STEM Ecosystems Initiative hopes to foster.
“Through innovative programs like the STEM Bicycle Club, we’re bringing together partners from across the region for the good of students and their futures,” says Mary Adams, program manager for the GCSC. “Support of the STEM Funders Network and collaboration with colleagues across the United States will accelerate progress against our mission to create a robust STEM pipeline of talent to meet the accelerating demand for STEM jobs in our region.”
The 27 groups piloting the STEM Ecosystems Initiative will convene at the White House in November to share ideas with one another and to receive support and coaching from leaders in education, science and industry. The overall goal is to find a way to move beyond gender, racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and linguistic barriers that sometimes stand in the way of young people, preventing them access to rigorous learning opportunities that extend beyond the classroom.
For STEM Funders Network Co-Chairs Gerald Solomon, Executive Director of the Samueli Foundation, and Ron Ottinger, Executive Director of the Noyce Foundation, the design of STEM Ecosystems Initiative will allow for a more immersive educational experience for all.
“It is an initiative to design the kind of infrastructure that ensures that STEM learning is truly ‘everywhere’ and is a top priority for communities supporting youth to develop the skills and knowledge they need for success in a global workforce,” Solomon and Ottinger said in a joint statement.

Do Good:

Support the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative.

• If you're an educator, learn how you can do your part in facilitating STEM learning opportunities.

• Like the GCSC on Facebook.

Local salon owner wants to do Kim Davis' hair, address differences

For local salon owner Jim Brofft, compassion and open lines of communication are key when it comes to addressing differences. That’s why he’s made an offer to Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis, who has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses and is now serving time in jail for contempt of court.
Brofft, who owns Salon Central in Over-the-Rhine, wants to meet Davis to cut, color and style her hair free of charge.
"Maybe after a hour with me in her jail cell, she will see that homosexuals are just like everyone else," Brofft says.

It’s an approach that Brofft says is non-confrontational and fosters shared experiences and openness toward those who are different.

Brofft, an openly gay Cincinnati native, has successfully owned and operated his salon since 2009 and has trained at seminars across the world — Vienna, Prague, London, Montreal, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. He is experienced when it comes to hair, but he’s also experienced when it comes to providing clients with a relaxing experience that leaves them feeling refreshed and confident with a look that suits their features and lifestyle, he says.

"I believe in the transformative power of great style," Brofft says. "Kim will look in the mirror after a hair makeover and see not only a more beautiful woman but perhaps one who can open her heart and accept that gay people deserve to love and marry.”

Do Good: 

• Visit the Gay & Lesbian Community Care Center to learn about and access local resources. 

• Support the GLBTQ Center by purchasing your ticket to Pride Night 2015 Sept. 11 at Kings Island.

• Make an effort to talk to someone unlike yourself. 

Pets in Need provides low-cost care for pet owners living in poverty

Whether clients visit Pets in Need of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. for affordable vaccinations and quality care or to grab food from the pantry for a furry friend, they are consistently grateful for the services they receive.
Take Antonio, for example. He and his mother worked together to create colorful bandanas for dogs, then donated them to Pets In Need (PIN) so the organization could sell the product in their storefront shop in Lockland, which offers discounted items like collars and leashes to its clients.
“They have limited means but wanted to give back,” says Julie Berthoud-Jury, director of development at PIN. “It’s just really heartwarming.”
Clients like Antonio and his mother are afforded access to PIN, which makes a world of difference in their lives as pet owners.
High-quality veterinary care is expensive, so for a pet owner living in poverty it’s empowering to be proactive and take one’s animal to a licensed veterinarian and pay a $10 copay for needed vaccines, flea/heartworm prevention and treatments as well as other minor skin, ear and eye issues.
Just days ago, the nonprofit served its 4,000th client, but there is a need to serve more.
“A lot of our clients have adopted these pets or rescued them,” Berthoud-Jury says.
One client found a cat during the winter months after discovering it had fallen out of a neighbor’s van, where it was hiding to try to stay warm. After the engine started, the cat was burned and presumed dead.
“But he had taken it to the vet and it was actually still alive, so they were able to nurse it back to health,” Berthoud-Jury says. “He’s been bringing it here ever since. He just loves that cat dearly.”

Do Good: 

• Support Pets in Need of Greater Cincinnati by attending its annual fundraising art show and sale, Petcasso. Purchase your ticket for the preview party Saturday, Oct. 17. Proceeds will enable PIN to work toward its goal of expanding clinic hours to its growing base of clients. 

• Like PIN on Facebook and share the Petcasso invite with your friends.

• Tell someone about PIN, because many pet owners who qualify for care don’t know PIN exists. The nonprofit provides vouchers for low-cost spay/neuter and provides care that could otherwise be disregarded for an inability to pay. 

Coalition Academy unites community members together against substance abuse

Community members and public health professionals are joining forces to battle substance abuse at the 2015 Coalition Academy on Sept. 30. 
The annual all-day conference, hosted by PreventionFIRST! at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, will feature Ann Barnum, Vice President of Community Strategies at Interact for Health, as its keynote speaker. She will speak on opioid prevention and its impact on coalitions and local communities in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

The academy is an opportunity for people in the community and coalition leaders to learn more about substance abuse prevention and public health. There will also be a heavy emphasis on coalition development and what those coalitions can do within their communities, such as changing policies and norms.

There will be three different presentation tracks for attendees: media and promotion of prevention, coalition development and the public impact of substance abuse prevention. Local speakers and leaders will share the effective strategies they're using in their communities.

“Effective prevention is always what we are trying to strive for,” says PreventionFIRST! Executive Director Mary Haag. “Substance abuse has been around for a long time, but it has to hit home before someone will want to take action. We want to make sure we make this applicable so people can go back and use these strategies in their communities.”
The 2015 Coalition Academy will take place 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30. A continental breakfast and lunch are included in the registration fee.
Do Good:

• There is still time to register for the 2015 Coalition Academy. Tickets are $50 for the general public.

• Join a coalition in your own community and help prevent substance abuse.

• Support PreventionFIRST! by making a donation

Rain Pryor's "That Daughter's Crazy" to open 2015 Cincinnati Film Festival

The Cincinnati Film Festival begins Sept. 10 with That Daughter’s Crazy as its opener. The documentary, directed by Elzbieta Szoka, explores the life of actress and comedienne Rain Pryor, daughter of Richard Pryor, through footage, photos, press clipping and various interviews.

“This year we have another amazing line up of over 100 films from all over the world, and many from our own backyard,” says Kat Steele, director of the Cincinnati Film Festival. “We’re honored to be able to bring Rain and Daryl (Sledge, the film’s producer) here to Cincinnati for this special opening night premiere event.”

A stand-up comedy show featuring a few Queen City natives will precede the film screening. Ally Bruener, Kelly Collette, Teri Foltz, Kristen Lundberg and Ky Platt will take the stage with Pryor headlining the show.

Bruener, who hails from Alexandria, Ky., was born with muscular dystrophy and uses dark humor in her cynical bit, “I Laughed at the Crippled Girl.”

"I'm amazed by the amount of diversity, with regard to both personal backgrounds and comedic stylings, that this lineup has to offer,” Bruener says.

That Daughter's Crazy will be screened at The Carnegie in Covington at 9 p.m. Sept. 10, preceded by the comedy show at 7:30. Tickets to both the comedy show and film are $20. The VIP meet-and-greet package, which includes cocktails prior to the show and film, is $40.

The Cincinnati Film Festival recently received a micro-grant from Fuel Cincinnati to support the 2015 schedule running Sept. 10-20 at various venues.

Do Good:

Purchase your tickets to the comedy show and film screening online.

• For more information about That Daughter’s Crazy, visit the film's website.

• Check out the full schedule of film screenings on Cincinnati Film Festival’s Facebook page.  

The Nutrition Council relocates to Children's Home of Cincinnati, expands healthy eating programs

The Nutrition Council recently became a program of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati, changing its address from downtown to Madisonville while its name, community programs, services and partnerships remain the same.
“Our goal is to focus on integrating nutrition services to the families served by the Children’s Home and continuing and strengthening nutrition education in the community,” says Lauren Niemes, director of nutrition services at the Children’s Home.
The new partnership between the two organizations will allow each to have a bigger impact on the needs of local children and their families who are at risk. 

“We have been providing programs at the Children’s Home for the last year,” Niemes says. “The children and their families have many needs, and healthy eating often does not rise to the top of the list. This partnership will enable us to take a more comprehensive approach to health and nutrition.”

Do Good:

• Volunteer in a group with some friends at the Children's Home.

Donate to help support the Nutrition Council's mission. 

• For more information about the Children's Home, call 513-272-2800.

Cincinnati Zoo promotes Go Bananas! Challenge to recycle old cell phones

Cell phone users can recycle their old phones and save endangered gorilla habitats thanks to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

The zoo’s recycling program, Project Saving Species, is part of a national competition, the Go Bananas! Challenge. Coltan, a metallic ore used in cell phones, is mined in endangered habitats in Africa, which causes gorillas to be displaced or poached due to the destruction of their homes.

In an effort to reduce the need for coltan, the zoo is collaborating with The Gorilla Glue Company and Eco-Cell for the fourth year in a row to ask organizations, schools and community youth groups to create to collect and recycle cell phones to help save gorillas.

Cincinnati Zoo Project Manager Molly Szabo says the previous campaign recycled 8,096 devices and raised $5,848.60 between Aug. 1, 2014 and April 14, 2015.

The Go Bananas! Challenge is pretty simple: Collect old phones and turn them into the zoo. The school, business or scout group that collects the most phones wins $4,000. Once a group is registered, it will be provided cell phone collection bins and postage labels or pick-up service.

All phones must be received by April 3, 2016. The winner will be announced April 24, 2016, Szabo says.

Do Good:

• Join the Go Bananas! Challenge and register your group online. 

• Don’t want to participate but have an old phone to recycle? Take it to the Cincinnati Zoo or one of the specified partner drop-off locations.

• For more information on how you can help, contact Molly Szabo.

Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic returns with another star-studded collection of chefs

Washington Park becomes one big kitchen for the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic throughout the weekend of Sept. 11-13, the event's second year of hosting the best food and beverage flavors in the Midwest. Locals can enjoy culinary demonstrations, chef competitions and wine, beer and spirit tastings right on the park's event lawn across from Music Hall.

Not only will you be able to sample incredible food and drink, but CF+WC is partnering with Findlay Market and Freestore FoodBank to provide more than 14,000 meals to locals in need.

Cincinnati was recently called out as the next big food city in the U.S. by Keith Pandolfi, a Cincinnati native and freelance writer for Saveur magazine. Pandolfi — who served as a judge last year for CF+WC's Pork Chopped competition — shined a light on the restaurant scene in Cincinnati and the Midwest with good reason.

“This is the kind of thing we want to stand for,” says Courtney Tsitouris, CF+WC co-founder. “Never again and never before have you seen this particular collection of talent together. We've pulled people from the Midwest and all over the country.”

Do Good:

Register for tickets to the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic Sept. 11-13 at Washington Park. Ticket packages are available for each day as well as for the full weekend.

• Lend a hand and volunteer your time for the weekend.

• Check out the full list of this year’s participating culinary talent.

Party like a rock star at Music Resource Center fundraiser

The Music Resource Center (MRC) in Walnut Hills is hosting its annual Party Like a Rockstar fundraiser Aug. 29 to raise funds to support the after-school program, which hosts kids learning to play guitar, singing opera, rapping and playing jazz under one roof.

The benefit will feature a performance from MRC students, a silent auction and an open bar featuring craft beer, draft beer, liquor and wine, says Executive Director Karen D'Agostino.

The MRC provides recording and performing equipment to local teens between the grades of 7 and 12 for $2 a month. Kids can take private lessons, train in rehearsal rooms and record music in the multi-track recording studio.

MRC recently launched a low-frequency radio station, 95.7-FM, that features original content recorded at the studio, ranging from music to talk shows and public service announcements.

But the organization is more than just about recording music and performing arts. Mentors use life skills to create a sense of empowerment for the kids who spend their afternoons at the MRC.

“Some of them have very low confidence and struggle at school,” D’Agostino says. “But that kid who can’t concentrate comes in and sits in a studio for three hours straight. He’s found a passion he hasn’t had the opportunity to explore elsewhere.”

Do Good:

• Register to attend the Party Like a Rockstar benefit event on Saturday, Aug. 29 at The Redmoor in Mt. Lookout. Tickets are $65 for one person and $120 for two.

• The Music Resource Center depends on volunteer teachers, so please donate your time for a good cause.

• For more information about MRC’s radio station, 95.7, visit their website. 

Metro, CincyYP collaborate to host Saturday night entertainment bus for new riders

For those looking for a fun way to socialize and navigate city streets via public transportation, Cincinnati Metro and CincyYP are collaborating to once again host “Take a TrYP on the Metro” from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29.
The entertainment bus will travel along a special route through downtown, Over-the-Rhine, East Walnut Hills, O’Bryonville, Oakley, Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout, stopping at nearly 20 different bars and restaurants along the way. According to Metro’s Outreach and Sustainability Manager Kim Lahman, the event is a fun way to introduce young professionals to Metro’s services.

“I believe most participants will feel more comfortable giving Metro a try after they experience just how easy and convenient public transit can be,” she says.

Each of the participating venues along the route will offer special promotions to riders, and they’ll learn trip-planning logistics like reading a schedule and making use of Metro’s real-time apps along the way.

“National trends are telling us that millennials value and want access to robust public transportation (and) want to live in a community where owning a car is optional,” says Brandy Jones, Metro’s public relations manager. “Metro is working to better understand and meet the transit needs of our future riders, as events like this one help us engage with potential riders and discover just how Metro can be what they need and want it to be as we work to reinvent our service.”

Do Good: 

• Purchase a single rider pass for just $7 or gather your friends and purchase a four-rider pass for $20 here.

• Take a look at the bars and restaurants participating in Saturday's promotion and contact Kaitlyn Kappesser if you're a restaurant or bar owner who'd like to join the fun.

• Watch this quick video to see how riding the Metro works.

Clovernook Center's manufacturing prowess featured on "Home Factory" TV show

More than 5 million biodegradable and compostable cups were produced last year right here in Cincinnati at the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Two million of those cups went to the U.S. Navy, and the remaining 3 million were sold through third party sales at local stores like Target, Party City and Whole Foods.  
Clovernook was recently featured on an episode of "Home Factory," an FYI Network TV show that tours production facilities in North America and reveals how everyday household objects are made.
The cups are available in 10 oz. or 16 oz. sizes in various patterns and colors and can be custom printed.

“People have seen these cups and don’t even realize they were made right here in North College Hill,” says Coral Dill, manager of communications & development.  

Clovernook, whose mission is to provide life-enriching opportunities to people who are blind and visually impaired, employed approximately 70 blind or visually impaired employees last year.

“A lot of people underestimate the power of people who are blind or visually impaired,” Dill says, “but the sense of community here is the most fulfilling. There’s such a sense of comraderie and self-empowerment.”

Clovernook is also one of the top two largest braille printing houses in the U.S., producing 40 million pages on an annual basis.

Do Good:

• Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired is always looking for volunteers.

• Help support Clovernook's mission by giving.

• “Like” Clovernook on Facebook and stay up to date on fundraisers and events. 
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