Family Independence Initative

The Family Independence Initiative (FII) trusts and invests directly in low-income families so they can work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity. They bring a different, very simple, approach: They believe that investing in the innate initiative and resourcefulness of families will allow them to move themselves out of poverty.  At the heart of the FII model is a trust that low-income families working in peer groups can lead their own change. There are systemic barriers that challenge a family’s abilities to leverage their assets, strengths, and capacities–their work aims to remove these barriers.

FII families meet and come together in their neighborhoods to solve the problems that keep them from leading more economically secure lives. FII tracks the progress of individual families and uses that data to identify and invest in the solutions that are working for them. With this approach, the families are the experts and staff act only as the story-gatherers, connectors, and advocates for the FII model, alongside thousands of family partners.

As GreenLight’s second investment in Cincinnati, FII is launching with the additional support of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, SC Ministry, and The Mayerson Foundation. Over the next four years, they will work with community-based organizations and other partners to reach 1,000 families in multiple neighborhoods across Greater Cincinnati.  By trusting and investing in families own solutions they expect families to see increased economic and social mobility. On average nationally, during two years of engagement with FII, families report: a 23% increase in monthly income, 60% decrease in subsidies such as TANF and SNAP, a doubling of their annual income and assets, and increased education outcomes from their children.

Cincinnati Goals



All families across America should have access to the resources and opportunities needed to achieve their dreams and we look forward to doing just that right here in Cincinnati.

- Jesús Gerena, Chief Executive Officer, FII

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