Prominent Black leaders unite to launch hub for community change

A group of prominent young Cincinnati area Black leaders is launching a new initiative — called the TABLE — to bring more aid to the region’s Black community.

“Too often solutions to the problems plaguing the Black community are decided on without including Black voices, or by engaging Black communities as a monolith, able to be summarized by select spokespersons,” said Tyran Stallings, one of the founders. “TABLE’s founding members come from the communities they serve and are dedicated to engaging, empowering, and collaborating with Black communities and leaders in ways that leverage the diversity of thought and experience held within both.”

Tyran Stallings

The group, which will unveil its plans at a gathering June 1, says it is committed to systems change, greater economic empowerment, connectedness, and overall well-being in Cincinnati’s Black community. The mission of TABLE is to serve as a hub to catalyze, incubate, and champion transformational Black leaders and solutions to Greater Cincinnati’s most pressing challenges.

Table will include a fellowship program for young promising leaders, named in honor of longtime community organizer, historian, and activist, the late Carl B. Westmoreland; a grants initiative providing funding to Black-led nonprofits or organizations focused on the Black community; and plans for a social enterprise leveraging the expertise of the founding members of TABLE.

Stallings is founder of the nonprofit The DAD Initiative. In addition to him, other founding TABLE members include:

  • Allen Woods, Executive Director, Co-Founder, MORTAR;
  • Christie Kuhns, Esq., Interim President/CEO, The Urban League of Southwestern Ohio;
  • Damian Hoskins, Executive Director, Elementz, Hip Hop Center;
  • John P. Scott, Partner, Chief of Engagement, Community Engagement Partners (CEP)
  • Kiana Trabue, Vice President Strategic Partnerships, bi3;
  • Rickell Howard Smith, Founding Executive Director, Center for Social Justice at the Urban League;
  • Vashti Rutledge, Executive Director, Madisonville Education & Assistance Center (MEAC).

TABLE is currently funded in partnership with its fiscal sponsor Community Engagement Partners (CEP), a Columbus area nonprofit organization that works to bring funders and investors together with Black community innovators.

“CEP is based in Columbus but does work across the country to bring donors and doers together to build powerful partnerships toward more resilient and thriving communities with a focus on Black community innovators,” said Scott, a Covington, Ky., resident and Cincinnati native with past work at the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Accelerate Great Schools.

CEP has provided initial seed funding to jumpstart TABLE. Members of TABLE are also leveraging their resources to support the work.

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