Cincinnati and our country recently witnessed and participated in powerful movements and an influx of individuals, companies, and nonprofits encouraging and enacting change for a more equitable society for people of color. For Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF), it’s always been top of mind to lend a hand to the communities that need it most. And at a time when awareness is heightened, GCF created the Racial Justice Fund, pledging $5 million to continue its mission of tackling racial inequity.
With deep roots of systemic racial inequalities found in both Cincinnati and our nation, CEO Ellen Katz says reimagining the future is crucial to not only recover from the devastation of COVID-19, but to fix the broken systems that now have even wider gaps—including the way government and the community react to change. “The people that are most affected by the problems need to be saying what they need instead of our more traditional, prescriptive way that we go about things,” Katz says.
All-In Cincinnati Director Denisha Porter says systems are not only broken but they are “siloed,” meaning sectors like housing, transportation, healthcare, and education operate as mutually exclusive entities. The Racial Justice Fund will support these systems, with the goal of improving the experience of our Black community, with a critical, holistic focus on Black women.
Where does she work? Where does she live? What are her personal challenges, professional challenges? How does she support her family—can she support her family? How can we help her at each cornerstone to ensure she has the same chances as her white counterpart?
The Racial Justice Fund, comprised of existing resources within GCF initially, will be used for advocacy, community outreach, policy change, and educating the community about systemic racism. “It will take listening and acting,” Porter says. “I am very optimistic about the future. This is where the work begins. This is where we are creative and think outside the box and put all the ideas on the table, [and] I think the Racial Justice Fund is the right step in moving forward.”
GCF is in the early stages of determining where funds will be allocated and co-designing with the people that will benefit the most from the initiative. To avoid prescriptive decision-making, Katz says they are calling upon community members to inform the process.
Skyline Chili and Graeter’s Ice Cream have made an impact early by investing in the fund and creating new interest. “There are important organizations in the community that are recognizing the importance of this work,” Katz says. “We really want people to go statement-to-action.”
Ready to start your own statement-to-action? Join the All-In Cincinnati or donate to either All-in Cincinnati or the Racial Justice Fund.