Announcement, News, Press Release

GreenLight Fund Cincinnati Announces $3M+ Fund II

May 20, 2020



Building on the success of the past four+ years, Fund II will fuel the next four community-driven selections of innovative, proven high-impact solutions that address unmet local needs and improve outcomes for children and families in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati, Ohio – May 20, 2020 – The GreenLight Fund, with support from more than 30 local philanthropic investors, today announced GreenLight Cincinnati Fund II. This $3M+ Fund follows the completion of Fund I which brought three proven, life-changing solutions to Cincinnati over the past four years. With this renewed commitment and the need even greater as a result of the current crisis, the organization’s locally-driven program will identify and address a pressing, unmet need facing children and families in the region’s low-income communities in each of the next four years.

“When GreenLight Fund first came to Cincinnati, we had a sense this was going to be big for our city. As a company with deep roots here, we have been thrilled with the locally-driven process that starts with community need and then brings the best, results-oriented solutions to Cincinnati to address those needs,” said Brian Hodgett, Director of Government and Community Relations in Ohio at Procter & Gamble. “We are pleased to support GreenLight Cincinnati Fund II and look forward to continued positive impact for Cincinnati, especially now with the economic effect COVID-19 is having in our community.”

GreenLight Cincinnati Fund II, with considerably more than double the number of investors compared to Fund I, includes the following generous supporters: Bank of America, Archie and Sharen Brown, Clement & Ann Buenger Foundation, Bill Butler, Manuel Chavez, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Regional Business Committee (CRBC), Crossroads, The Duke Energy Foundation, First Financial Foundation, Bobby and Arna Fisher, Dan and Susan Fleming, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Eagle One Fund at Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky, Kevin and Francy Hughes, iHeartMedia, Lair and Anna Kennedy, The Manuel D. and Rhoda Mayerson Foundation, Lynn and Glen Mayfield, John and Marylou McIlwraith, John and Francie Pepper, P&G, The Ragland Family, Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, Tom and Nancy Shepherd, Brent and Valarie Sheppard, John and Susan Simon, The Sinclaire Family, John and Jen Stein, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, U.S. Bank, George and Kim Vincent, The Vora Foundation, Western & Southern Financial Fund, The Woods Family, and James and Mary Zimmerman.

“An incredible group of local investors have rallied around the results of GreenLight’s work in Cincinnati. At this unprecedented time across the region with the adverse impact COVID-19 is having, investors deeply believe in the model’s potential to do even more to help the region address critical barriers to economic mobility facing children and families in low-income communities,” said John Simon, co-founder and board chair of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director at Boston-based venture capital firm Sigma Prime Ventures. “The cohort of new investors, who have signed on after seeing the impact GreenLight has already had in Cincinnati, are a testament to the transformative difference GreenLight is making in Cincinnati.”

“The results GreenLight Cincinnati has achieved in a short time in our city are amazing,” shared Gary Lindgren, President, Cincinnati Regional Business Committee (CRBC) and the Cincinnati Business Committee (CBC). “The organization’s mission aligns well with the business community and we are enthusiastic about our investment. We look forward to the next phase of GreenLight’s work, helping to improve opportunities for so many in our community who are now struggling.”

GreenLight Fund launched in Cincinnati in 2015 and since then, under the leadership of Tara Noland, has supported the replication of three organizations into Cincinnati to effectively address community-identified unmet needs. Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is improving outcomes for returning citizens and lowering recidivism rates, Family Independence Initiative (FII) is creating pathways out of poverty for working families, and First Place for Youth, being implemented locally by St. Josephs Orphanage, is beginning its transformative work with youth aging out of foster care, opening opportunities for strong futures.

“GreenLight Cincinnati takes a thoughtful and data driven approach to evaluate challenges within our community, and then identifies national best practices to bring proven solutions to our city,” says Johnmark Oudersluys, Executive Director of CityLink and GreenLight Cincinnati Selection Advisory Council (SAC) member. “Working closely with CEO at CityLink, I can see first-hand the life-changing impact for individuals and families. GreenLight has been instrumental in making that happen – not only with their investment, but also with ongoing on-the-ground strategic and partnership support. I look forward to the next four selections and the difference the new evidence-based organizations will make in our community.”

“I am grateful for GreenLight’s community-based approach and so proud to partner with the organization to solve pressing needs,” shared Moira Weir, CEO, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, and previously Director of Hamilton County Job and Family Services. “Working together to bring First Place for Youth’s innovative program to Cincinnati has provided youth aging out of foster care with supports that complement what the Hamilton County Job and Family Services is able to provide. As a result, hundreds of local youth will have the opportunity for a strong start as adults. I look forward to our continued partnership in my new role at the United Way.”

GreenLight Cincinnati will continue to work in collaboration with the local community to break down barriers and provide economic mobility opportunities for children, youth and families by: conducting an annual process to identify where there are gaps in services; supporting the replication of innovative, entrepreneurial organizations with proven, measurable results to address those gaps; and galvanizing local community support to help programs reach and sustain impact.

“When I learned about GreenLight’s community-driven, action-oriented approach and saw what has already been accomplished in Cincinnati, I was excited to get involved. The model works. It’s providing families with opportunities to move out of poverty and up the economic ladder by focusing on filling gaps with best-in-class solutions,” said Eric Ragland, President, Salt Creek Capital.

Anu Vora from the Vora Foundation shared, “We are so impressed by GreenLight Cincinnati’s work to address our community’s most urgent needs. Their model is truly innovative and brings effective, proven solutions to our region. We are excited to support efforts that will change families’ lives for the better and have full confidence in GreenLight’s ability to make a difference.”

With the completion of three selections backed by Fund I and the support secured for Fund II fueling the next four selections, GreenLight Cincinnati founding executive director Tara Noland explains her decision to move on, “GreenLight is in such a strong position and I’m so thrilled to have been part of its launch and start in Cincinnati. After 4 years of leading this work and reaching this Fund II milestone, the timing felt right for me to pursue the next step in my career. In my new position at Ignite Philanthropy, I am utilizing my experiences and knowledge from GreenLight to support local organizations in the city I love so much.”

This is a logical transition point and the organization’s search for a new local executive director is well underway. The next selection cycle will begin after the local leader is hired.

“We are energized by the success GreenLight has had in Cincinnati and the support we’ve received from across the community. I am so grateful to GreenLight Cincinnati founding Executive Director Tara Noland for the tremendous difference she has made within our organization as well as, most importantly, to the local community. Her exceptional leadership these past 4+ years and work to raise Fund II puts us in an incredibly strong position for the next phase of work, which will be that much more needed in the years ahead,” said Margaret Hall, GreenLight’s co-founder and CEO. “We look forward to hiring an outstanding local executive director to lead GreenLight Cincinnati and the next four selections Fund II will support.”

“GreenLight is making a difference in Cincinnati using a unique, community-based approach. I am pleased to renew my commitment to the organization and look forward to the next selections of proven innovations that fill specific, local critical needs,” says Tony Woods, Executive Chairman, Deaconess Associations Inc., and GreenLight Cincinnati SAC member. “By building partnerships and complementing other work happening in the city, GreenLight Cincinnati is accelerating the availability of needed solutions so that children and families in our low-income communities can thrive.”

“I feel a deep responsibility to give back and am energized to support GreenLight and their progressive form of social philanthropy here in Cincinnati. GreenLight’s continued work in our city, starting with the need and then matching best-fit solutions for the community to address that need can make a transformative difference for an entire population and we are already beginning to see the impact,” said Bobby Fisher.

Tom Shepherd, CEO of Shepherd Material Science, said of his involvement, “Nancy and I are thrilled to invest in GreenLight’s second community development fund. By bringing innovative and proven solutions to Cincinnati, GreenLight’s Fund II will help our neighbors in need gain freedom, opportunity and prosperity. This, in turn, makes our community stronger.”

Cincinnati, the fourth GreenLight Fund city, became the model for the organization’s expansion and vision for national growth. GreenLight now operates in nine cities – Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Twin Cities – and has invested in 30 portfolio organizations touching more than 110,000 children and families in the past year alone. The GreenLight Method has been used to address a wide variety of issues across GreenLight sites including early childhood literacy, college access and persistence, teacher effectiveness, poor health outcomes, family income and asset-building, and youth aging out of foster care.

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