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Sustainability : For Good

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Impact 100 member grows, spreads philanthropic values to young members

Emily Throckmorton learned the value of philanthropy at a young age.
At age 18, she’s the youngest member of Impact 100, a group of women who work collectively to make a difference in the community by pooling funds to award significant grants to nonprofits.
Last year, the organization was able to provide Crayons to Computers and Easter Seals TriState | Building Value with $108,000 grants; and this year, membership has grown, so three nonprofits will receive $109,000 grants.
“You’re basically putting your faith in these organizations and choosing who you want to help and how you want to help them, and the whole experience is amazing,” says Throckmorton, who’s received membership as a gift for the past two years.
Throckmorton just began her freshman year at Purdue University, so as a college freshman, and certainly as a high school student, contributing to a philanthropic organization isn’t always financially feasible. But in Throckmorton’s case, her membership has been a much better gift than any material possessions could have been.
“This is something I will continue, not just at school, but through the rest of my life,” Throckmorton says. “Seeing the money they had spent the whole year raising going toward these amazing causes—I really want to stay involved and help out doing something like this because I love helping others.” 

Do Good:

•    Check out this year's five grant finalists, and attend the Annual Awards Celebration September 16 when this year's recipients will be announced. 

•    Help Impact 100 continue to grow. The organization is always looking for new members, particularly young professionals, so it can sustain itself and further its community impact for years to come. Consider joining.

•    If you're a nonprofit, learn about how to apply for next year's grant, and stay connected with the organization through Facebook to keep up with the latest news and updates.

NKY veteran to receive free home repairs

For 75-year old veteran Raymond Muench, climbing a ladder to engage in activities like painting and caulking around the outside windows is not as simple of a task as it once was.
He says he’s grateful for those in his life—like the individuals at People Working Cooperatively and the volunteers from Home Depot’s Repair Affair—who are able to provide him help when it’s needed.
Muench was born in Cincinnati and grew up in Northern Kentucky before spending four years in active duty with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.
Though never stationed in Asia, the whole time he was gone, Muench says he was eagerly anticipating his return to his hometown that he had come to appreciate for its cultural diversity and attitude of goodwill toward others.
“What was really a shock and an eye opener for me was they sent me to Donaldson Air Force Base for the first year I was in the service in late 1961, and I remember when I got off the airplane down there and went into the local airport terminal, I saw where there were signs at water fountains for ‘colored only’ or ‘white only,’” Muench says. “And I couldn’t believe what in the world I was looking at.”
Serving others and approaching all individuals as equally important is just second nature for Muench.
So when PWC approached him with the news that his home would be one of 11 projects this summer serviced by Home Depot employees taking the day to volunteer with the Repair Affair program, he was nothing but gracious.
“I mentioned to the fellow who was here from PWC, that the way I look at this—my perspective on the matter—it’s that the turnabout’s fair play, so to speak,” Muench says. “And when they come here, it’s not a case of people just thanking me for my service. I will definitely be thanking them wholeheartedly as well for their service.”

Do Good:

•    Help others like Muench by volunteering with PWC.

•    If you or someone you know might qualify for PWC's services, apply.

•    Support PWC by donating.

Rothenberg rooftop garden will give OTR students new growth opportunities

Rothenberg Preparatory Academy will see the completion of its 8,500-square-foot rooftop teaching garden this year, thanks to many donations and supporters in the local community. 

Edwin “Pope” Coleman, rooftop project manager, has worked with the Over-The-Rhine Foundation for the past eight years to bring the rooftop garden to life

When Rothenberg was vacant and facing demolition, Coleman, as well as many residents of the community, approached Cincinnati Public Schools and asked for a renovation instead of a replacement.  

“[Rothenberg] was a flagship and point of pride for the neighborhood,” says Bryna Bass, full-time teacher and garden manager. “The community fought hard to prevent it from being torn down.” 

With the understanding that CPS wouldn’t be responsible for providing anything more than the space, the OTR Foundation took on fiscal responsibility and began restoring Rothenberg through Coleman’s vision. 

Fundraising for the rooftop garden began in late 2008, and more than $300,000 has been raised since then. The recent Midsummer Night’s Gala raised additional funding also need for construction and operation.

The teaching garden, which was once a playground, will allow students to explore science and nature. The developed curriculum uses garden-based lessons to deepen students' educational experience through hands-on problem-solving activities, Bass says.

The rooftop teaching garden educational program will launch at the beginning of the 2014-15 academic year. 

Do Good:
  • Visit Rothenberg and go on a tour of the garden. 
  • “Like” the rooftop garden progress on Facebook. 
  • Make a donation to the OTR Foundation

Occupational therapist founds volunteer group for Summit clients

In her four years as an occupational therapist at Summit Behavioral Healthcare, Laura Menze says she’s noticed her clients’ strong desire to be helpful.
“They enjoy working around the unit, whether that’s wiping tables or watering plants, so they have a longing to engage in productive occupations,” Menze says.
Clients are sometimes limited, however, when it comes to engaging in meaningful work outside of the facility.
So Menze started a volunteer group that allows Summit’s clients to work with one another, in a safe environment, for a positive cause.
“Most have been on the receiving end of things for most of their lives and are grateful for the services they receive, but this puts them in the position of the ones who can give, and that’s significant,” Menze says.
The volunteer group meets once a week, and for the past few months, Menze says about 10 males have joined together to do things like plant seed trays for Peaslee Neighborhood Center’s Early Learning Center, make birthday cards for residents at Lydia’s House, craft packets for children at the Ronald McDonald House, and fleece blankets to donate to The Healing Center.
“I think they’ve taken pride in their work,” Menze says. “There’s just a great amount of stigma related to this population of folks; so to be able to hear, ‘Thank you for what you did. That was really meaningful. Someone will be grateful,’—that provides something for their self-esteem, their self-worth.” 

Do Good:

•    Contact Laura Menze if you're a nonprofit interested in a collaborative volunteer opportunity that could be completed on site at Summit. 

•    Volunteer with a local nonprofit.

•    Support a cause you're passionate about.

The Kentucky Project shares beauty, betters lives of others

Chris Egan founded The Kentucky Project this past November in an effort to share the state’s beauty and culture, while also enriching the lives of those who inhabit it—all for the purpose of creating positive change.
Though the organization is still, as Egan calls it, “a baby,” the most recent added component is the launch of the photo sales website.
For each purchase of a print showcasing the beauty Kentucky has to offer, the organization will donate 25 percent of the profits to a local nonprofit.
The Healthy Newborns Project, which is the collaborative effort of Transitions Inc. and The Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2014, is The Kentucky Project’s photo sales program’s first recipient.
According to Transitions, Inc., the number of drug addicted babies born in the state of Kentucky between 2000-2009 increased 2,400 percent.
To help mitigate the rising number of unhealthy births, The Healthy Newborns Project aims to provide a safe place for women who are recovering from drug addiction so they can “deliver a healthy, drug-free baby.”
Women continue to receive support in the transitional home for up to four months after giving birth.
For Egan, it’s important to donate 25 percent of the photo sales profits because the basis of The Kentucky Project is to help others.
“We share photos of Kentucky to show its beauty and do what we can to help Kentucky organizations and individuals spread their message,” Egan says. “We've already been a small part of many important issues, and we hope to be more helpful and become a bigger soundboard in the future.” 

Do Good: 

•    Support The Kentucky Project and The Healthy Newborns Project by purchasing prints.

•    Connect with The Kentucky Project on Facebook.

•    Contact The Kentucky Project if there is an important issue you're concerned about.

Historic Cincinnati photos show city's progress throughout the past century

Treasures in Black & White, a new exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC), is a collection of photographs and artifacts from Cincinnati dating back to the 1860s. Scott Gampfer, director of the CMC’s History Library and Archives, was instrumental in putting the exhibit together.

“The exhibit provides a glimpse into a century of the life of Cincinnati,” Gampfer says. “Visitors will see through the images how much the city has changed, and how many things have remained constant. For example, although electric cars are seen as cutting-edge technology today, the exhibit features a photograph of a woman charging up her electric car in 1912.”

“The photographs in the exhibit are augmented by display cases containing historic artifacts and archival materials that relate to specific images in the exhibit. These objects and archival materials help bring the photographs to life,” Gampfer says. “The images depict the city’s changing built environment, sports, entertainment, business, social activities, daily life, lighthearted moments and some difficult moments in the life of the city.”

What’s Gampfer’s favorite photo in the exhibit?

“One of my favorites is the image of the “balloon man” selling a balloon to a young client outside of Redland Field in 1929 while a police officer watches over the transaction," he says. "It’s whimsical, yet is a compelling atmospheric street shot from the 1920s. The photo doesn’t actually show Redland Field, which is behind the photographer, but the exhibit includes a nearby case with various artifacts and archival materials relating to the ballpark.”

Gampfer says the exhibit concept is based on a book project that CMC did along with Turner Publishing in 2006 titled “Historic Photographs of Cincinnati.” It featured more than 200 black and white images from the CMC collection. Re-released in 2013, the idea of basing the 2014 Treasures Exhibit on the images selected for that book was sparked.

“The exhibit curatorial team selected 65 images from the 200 in the book and tried to maintain the book’s diversity of subject matter and time periods,” Gampfer says. “High-resolution digital scans were made of the original source photos from the collection, and from these scans, high-quality black and white 16-by-20-inch prints were made. The prints were then matted and framed.”

July 28 marks the 100-year anniversary of Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia, which effectively started World War I. With “the war to end all wars” on the world’s mind, it's fascinating to see authentic Cincinnati relics from the homefront at that time.

Treasures in Black & White runs at the Cincinnati Museum Center until October 12.

E-Waste recycling drive saves 75 tons of electronics from landfills

With the beginning of May came the fifth annual Players for the Planet electronic waste recycling drive. The four-day drive ran from May 1-4, and an estimated total of 150,000 pounds (75 tons) of e-waste, including cellphones, computers and printers, was collected.
The annual recycling drive came together through a partnership between many different organizations. Players for the Planet, a nonprofit organization designed to bring professional athletes together to inspire and educate communities about environmental issues, partnered with the Cincinnati Reds, who co-sponsored the event and had players like Jay Bruce and Mike Leake in attendance.
Additional sponsors included Cohen Recycling, PNC Bank, Macy’s, Remke Markets, Kroger, Duke Energy, Green Umbrella Cincinnati, the recycling and solid waste district of Cambell, Hamilton and Butler Counties, and more.
“Over 70 percent of electronic waste ends up in landfills and is not properly disposed of,” says Brewster Rhoads, executive director of Green Umbrella, an alliance of organizations in the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana tri-state area working to preserve the region's greenspace. “This is one opportunity to make sure that doesn’t happen; Cohen Recycling has the highest standard you can achieve for proper recycling of electronic equipment, so they are an important partner in this event.”
The recycling drive took over a different parking lot each day, taking place outside of PNC locations in Colerain, West Chester, Hyde Park and Newport. In total, 1,669 cars participated.
“As far as I know, this is the largest recycling drive of its kind in the country,” Rhoads says. “It’s grown considerably each year, from the amount of sponsors to the amount of e-waste we’ve recycling. We’re really lucky to have the support of the entire Reds organization on this. They’ve helped us take the issue of recycling away from being something political and simply make it a mainstream value.”

Eleven local communities receive grants to increase physical fitness opportunities

Eleven area communities and organizations are the recipients of Interact for Health grants to develop or improve upon spaces for physical activity.
“It’s all about creating infrastructure in places where people can be physically active,” says Jaime Love, Interact for Health’s program officer for healthy eating and active living.
The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, for example, was one the eleven organizations awarded; and as a result, Latonia Elementary School will be the site of a new area from which the whole community can benefit.
“They worked in partnership to convert the dilapidated playground at the school and turn it into a community park,” Love says. “So there’ll be a new playground, fitness equipment—there’ll be a walking track—and it really will be something that both the school and the community residents can enjoy.”
Other organizations will receive things like a pool lift to increase accessibility, and exercise equipment to add to a fitness trail.
According to Love, creating a culture of wellness where people have easy access to physical activity is the goal.
“We want to encourage public places that are free of charge as well, because we know cost can be a barrier to some people being able to participate,” Love says.
“So when we have lots of public spaces that are safe and up to date and easily accessible—people can walk or bike to them, they’re not too far away from their homes—that just increases the likelihood that they can get out with their family and friends and have some activity on a regular basis.”

Do Good:

•    Check out the 11 physical activity and environments grantees, and make use of the spaces when they become available for use.

•    If you're interested in applying for a grant to receive funds for physical activity environments in 2015, there is still time. Proposals are due by noon, May 1. 

•    Connect with Interact for Health on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Metro launches year-long contest to promote green living

Metro kicked off a new initiative this Earth Day by launching a year-long contest that gives riders an incentive to recycle their used passes.
“Drop It In To Win” encourages riders to submit their used 30-day passes, stored value cards or 1-ride tickets for the chance to win a duplicate copy of their submission.
“Here at our offices, we’re big on recycling,” says Jill Dunne, Metro’s public affairs manager. “We added stored-value cards, so there’s more and more paper out there, and we thought this would be a good way to reward our riders and also be environmentally friendly, because at the end of the year, we’re going to recycle all of them.”
Five winners have already received their free passes, and five more will be selected at the beginning of each month for the next year.
“Someone could win a pass of up to $170 dollars value if they had a Zone 5, 30-day rolling pass and put that in there,” Dunne says.
According to Dunne, being environmentally friendly is one of Metro’s priorities, and doing what it can to improve the quality of life within our community is key.
“If you’re interested in the environment, if you want to improve the quality of life for your community, riding on Metro is going to provide that opportunity,” Dunne says. “There’s less pollution—it’s an opportunity for you to get out of the car—and a full bus can take up to 50 cars off the road, so that’s going to be a lot of pollution you’re going to save if you’re riding the bus.” 

Do Good:

•    Get the deals on the contest, and Drop It In To Win

•    Ride the Metro

•    Like Cincinnati Metro on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Rooted communities at The Civic Garden Center

The Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati’s annual plant sale is just two weeks away.
It’s the nonprofit’s largest fundraising event and brings plant lovers of all kinds together to talk, shop and have all their gardening questions answered by other likeminded individuals—all while helping The Civic Garden Center raise enough money to fund one of its programs for an entire calendar year.
“That allows us to do our youth education programming, or it allows us to do community gardens for another year. It’s substantial,” says Vickie Ciotti, executive director. “If we did not have this fundraiser, we would have to eliminate one of our programs, so that’s like saying, 'You can’t keep all your children.' How would you decide?”

For Ciotti, the gardening, education and environmental programs all build camaraderie; and everyone involved—whether it's one of the 500 volunteers who assist the nonprofit, or the visitor who happens upon the unlikely refuge nestled within the city—feels welcome.
“You see people who you haven’t seen in a long time, and it’s the most enjoyable, relaxed fundraiser I’ve ever been a part of,” Ciotti says. “There’s just this spirit to the place—we see people as they are, meet people where they are—and it’s not a pretentious group of people at all.”

Do Good:

Register for the plant sale's preview party. 

• Attend the plant sale is May 3-4. View details here.

Volunteer with the Civic Garden Center.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Join in effort to reforest NKY

More than 300 volunteers will join together to plant 2,500 trees this Saturday at Northern Kentucky Urban Forestry Council’s annual project, Reforest Northern Kentucky.
NKYUFC tree leaders will spend the morning educating volunteers and showing them where to go onsite to plant the proper tree in the proper place.
“There’s different trees that need to be planted in different areas,” says Tara Sturgill, environmental specialist at the Northern Kentucky University Center for Environmental Restoration and PR chair for Reforest NKY.
“We want people to know where to plant to get the right species. We want them to grow and stay in the ground and not be cut down, so we’re really trying to educate people on right tree, right place.”
One of NKYUFC’s goals is to educate the public about community trees, which is important because when a non-native tree is growing in an area, it creates an unstable environment and must be cut down.
City of Covington Urban Forester Crystal Courtney has recently been working to cut down Bradford Pear Trees, for example, which Sturgill says the neighborhood is upset about because the trees are so big and have been there for so long.
“But they’re not the proper trees for that place—they’re invasive species,” Sturgill says. “So she’s spent a lot of time cutting those downs, and they’re taking a weekend where people can come out and plant a native tree. But had that education been there years ago, there would be no need for that; so that’s what we’re trying to do with Reforest Northern Kentucky—educate.” 

Do Good:

• Pre-registration for Reforest NKY is closed, but you can still volunteer to plant trees. Get the event details here. If you volunteer, consider carpooling. 

Volunteer April 5-6 to replace the Bradford Pear Trees by planting native trees in Covington.

Contact the NKYUFC to learn proper tree planting techniques, in addition to what types of trees should be planted in particular areas. 

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Local club teaches gardening to elementary school children

Fairy gardens, shade gardens, gnome gardens—they all make up the backyard of Joyce Mohaupt, who’s served as president of the Monfort Heights Garden Club for the past two years.
The club, which will celebrate its 85th anniversary March 28, works to beautify Greater Cincinnati by doing things like maintaining landscapes and engaging in community plantings.
“At Montfort Heights Elementary, for example, we have two gardens—one is more of a vegetable garden, and the other one grows more flowers and things like that,” Mohaupt says. “But our club does a program in connection with third-grade students, and we have quite a few of our members that come in to the school, and the students really and truly love it—they’re learning about gardening, and it’s hands-on.”
The garden club members plant corn in the elementary school’s vegetable garden, for example; so students learn how to plant seeds. They later gather the corn, and a popcorn party eventually transpires.
“It’s usually a monthly thing,” Mohaupt says. “They’ll work with potting soil. They have planters they take home—they might do something special for Mother’s Day—things like that.”
For Mohaupt and other garden club members, gardening is more than a love or a passion. It’s a duty to enhance the various communities that make up our city and its surrounding areas.
“Our projects don’t just deal with the Monfort Heights area,” Mohaupt says. “We don’t just stay local—we move around.” 

Do Good:

• Support the club in its fundraising efforts.

Contact the Monfort Heights/White Oak Community Association if you're interested in becoming a member of the garden club, or if you'd like to volunteer to help maintain community landscapes.

• Maintain your gardens so you can provide homes for our birds and bees. 

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Local student launches campaign so she can serve in Nicaragua

For University of Cincinnati communications major Brandie Potzick, traveling to Nicaragua last year was a life-changing experience.
Potzick traveled with UC student group Serve Beyond Cincinnati to photograph and shoot video of the students as they helped build water and sanitation systems for those living in rural Nicaragua. But this year, Potzick is going back on her own and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to make it all happen.
“When I went last year, it was different than anything I’ve ever experienced, but at the same time, I felt this very strange connection to home,” Potzick says. “I felt very comfortable there, and I experienced more hospitality and love than I expected, and one of the biggest things that I learned while I was there was just how similar people are.”
Potzick will spend three weeks in May as she works with Nicaraguan-based nonprofit Amigos for Christ—an organization that serves the rural community by facilitating “water, health, education and economic development.”
“Where I was last year—most of the people in that village had to walk up to two miles to get their clean water for the day—and it’s something that’s really hard to manage, because insanitary water is the number one cause of skin disease and diarrhea and all sorts of other diseases that are most common in Nicaragua,” Potzick says.
In many communities there, Potzick says it’s not unusual for people to wash their clothes, go to the bathroom, drink and bathe in the same water.
“We know how unsanitary that is,” Potzick says. “So what Amigos does is makes it so every family in these rural communities can have up to 100 gallons of water per day for less than $5 a month, and it greatly increases their chance at a more healthy life.”

Do Good:

• Support Brandie in her crowdfunding campaign

Learn about Nicaragua.

• Engage in service opportunities in Nicaragua through Serve Beyond Cincinnati or Amigos for Christ.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Lower Price Hill Community School set to expand community outreach

In the coming months, the Lower Price Hill Community School will undergo a name change as it expands services to focus its efforts on education and improving the community through two nonprofits: Education Matters and Community Matters.
“But the Lower Price Hill Community School is not going away,” says Mike Moroski, LPHCS director of outreach services. “The administration’s staying the same. We’re not only going to be providing the same services we always have—we’re going to provide them on a larger scale—plus offer new services to the community.”
Moroski will transition into the role of director for Community Matters, which he says will function as a safe haven for residents, while offering access to more community events and opportunities.
“One of the things I’ve always been attracted to about LPHCS is they’re not interested in coming into the community and saying, ‘Here’s what you need to be better,’” Moroski says. “They’re interested in finding out what the community wants and then providing it.”
Lower Price Hill, for example, has no laundromat; so the nonprofit is working with Xavier University to launch one through the Washing Well project, which will eventually be turned over to the neighborhood as a co-op.
A business plan is currently in the works, and Moroski says the long-term vision is to work with Xavier University professors to offer a business incubator course, which would be open to anyone—Lower Price Hill resident or not—who would eventually like to open a new space in Lower Price Hill.
Jack’s Diner will also enter the neighborhood, as it takes shape within the renovated property that once housed the Urban Appalachian Council. The diner will serve not only as the only restaurant within the neighborhood, but the upstairs will function as a service learning center for high schools and colleges.
“It serves the neighborhood, it could be a revenue stream for the nonprofit Community Matters, and it’s a gathering place,” Moroski says. “So now we have the opportunity to provide educational space and have another revenue generator for the school.” 

Do Good:

Support Community Matters through its crowdfunding campaign. 

Support the Lower Price Hill Community School by donating, volunteering or spreading the word.

Contact Mike Moroski if you're interested in volunteering. 

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

ReSource launches nonprofit Member Makeover Contest

ReSource, a local organization that strengthens nonprofits by distributing “corporate surplus” like office supplies and furniture, just launched its inaugural Member Makeover Contest.
The winner will receive a renovation of an indoor space that is utilized to support its overall mission.
Last year, ReSource initiated a Member Makeover Program, in which the Lower Price Hill Community School and the YWCA House of Peace Shelter received makeovers, but this year, ReSource wants to engage the public.
“Collaboration’s kind of the name of the game in nonprofit now, and we love the idea,” says Martha Steier, development director at ReSource. “We decided to put it in a contest so the public can vote on it, and we’ve gotten a lot of interest from volunteers—some interior designers, DAAP students from UC willing to come out and be a work crew—so based on the response of volunteers and our members, we’ll use the time, talent and treasure that comes along to the max.”
Since ReSource functions as a business-to-business operation, Steier says the general public isn’t always aware of its efforts to assist member nonprofits, but a makeover is something she says is fun and that has the ability to engage anyone.
“Whether you have to do one in your own home or own office, or if you’re an HGTV junkie, you might appreciate the fact that nonprofits need makeovers,” Steier says. “So we’re looking at it as a benefit of membership. And nonprofits don’t get to treat themselves to a fresh start or upgrade, so we feel like this will be a wonderful way to get the word out about ReSource so we can all support the nonprofit community better.” 

Do Good:

• If you're a nonprofit member, register for the contest by March 14. Keep an eye on the website, as voting opens March 24.

• If you're not a nonprofit member, sign up by March 14, and then register for the contest.

• Support ReSource by donating or engaging in corporate sponsorships.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

90 Sustainability Articles | Page: | Show All
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