Announcement, News

The GreenLight Fund Launches GreenLight Cincinnati

Mar 12, 2015


The GreenLight Fund, with support from Cincinnati philanthropic investors, announces the launch of GreenLight Cincinnati to bring innovative approaches to improving the economic mobility, opportunities and outcomes for low-income children, youth and families.

“We’ve seen GreenLight’s success and impact in other cities and we are backing GreenLight Cincinnati to introduce high-impact, innovative approaches to meeting needs here,” said Tony Woods, chairman of the board of the Deaconess Associations, Inc., a lead philanthropic investor in GreenLight Cincinnati. “We believe innovation and measurable results are as powerful in the social sector as they are in the business sector.”

In addition to the Deaconess Associations Foundation, GreenLight Cincinnati’s founding funders include the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee, Interact for Health Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, John and Susan Simon and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, with additional support from Bank of America, the Cincinnati Business Committee, Crossroads Community Church, the Woods family and local business leaders Tim Johnson, Dan Fleming and John McIlwraith.

GreenLight Cincinnati will work to transform lives of low-income children, youth and families living in the city’s high-poverty urban areas by running an annual process that works with the community to identify critical needs; import innovative nonprofit programs that can make a significant, measurable impact on those needs; and galvanize local and national support to help these programs reach and sustain impact in Cincinnati. To help ensure programs reach their potential for impact as quickly as possible and progress toward sustainability, GreenLight Cincinnati will provide early-stage funding, help building strategic partnerships with local organizations, introductions to key members of the community, and assistance hiring local staff leadership and building the local board.

GreenLight Cincinnati will be part of the national GreenLight Fund network. In its other cities, Boston, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area, the GreenLight Fund has supported organizations that address a variety of high-priority needs including college access and persistence, family economic mobility, teacher effectiveness, youth recidivism and youth aging out of foster care.

“We launched the GreenLight Fund in Boston over 10 years ago to give cities a systematic way to harness the vision and success of social entrepreneurs all over the country to help solve the most pressing needs of low-income residents,” said John Simon, chairman and co-founder of the GreenLight Fund and a managing director of Boston, MA-based Sigma Prime Ventures, a venture capital firm (and Cintrifuse investee). “Cincinnati is leading the way in creating a thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurial business innovation in the region. We believe that GreenLight can leverage this ecosystem – and the exceptional efforts of the nonprofit and philanthropic community – to drive innovation in the social sector as well.”

Scott Robertson, chairman of the RCF Group and president of the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee is pleased that CRBC and its members are helping to make this happen. “The Cincinnati Regional Business Committee is excited about Cincinnati’s growing innovation economy. GreenLight will be a powerful addition to this community, combining the vitality of new ideas with the rigor of measurable results to help address our city’s greatest needs.”

In 2014 alone, GreenLight’s 12 portfolio organizations reached 40,000 individuals in three cities with their innovative, replicable, effective programs. As these organizations continue to scale, the number of individuals reached annually is currently growing at a 30% annual rate.

GreenLight Cincinnati will be led by a local executive director with advice and guidance from a local Selection Advisory Council of Cincinnati leaders from businesses, nonprofits, philanthropy and government. The issues GreenLight Cincinnati selects and the organizations it brings to the city will be chosen by local staff and advisors. The search for the executive director of GreenLight Cincinnati is underway.

Rob Reifsnyder, president of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati sees great potential for GreenLight to contribute to major collective efforts underway. “By setting ambitious community-wide goals and working collaboratively to meet them, we are seeing great momentum toward addressing serious challenges faced by our region’s low-income residents. We at United Way see an important role for GreenLight to support best-in-class organizations that can fill existing gaps and accelerate the pace of change. We are excited that GreenLight has chosen Cincinnati as its next site.”

Margaret Hall, GreenLight’s co-founder and national executive director has high hopes for the organization’s ability to plug into local efforts and make significant change for low-income residents. “With its history of creating community-wide collaborative efforts to accomplish major goals, Cincinnati offers a unique environment for the GreenLight Fund. This spirit and process of collaboration will be critical as GreenLight Cincinnati seeks to identify areas where innovative, proven approaches can fill gaps in services and contribute to significant gains for residents of high poverty areas. We at GreenLight look forward to working with the wonderful backbone organizations in Cincinnati to make the maximum impact possible, as we have in other GreenLight cities.”