Third year of civic engagement program seeks applicants

City Council Bootcamp, the signature program of 3-year-old Cincinnati nonprofit Action Tank, returns for its third year.

City Council Bootcamp is a free, nonpartisan, arts-driven program for engaged community members interested in becoming better policymakers at the local level, either as advocates or legislators.

This year’s Bootcamp will run from September to March 2023 and in 18 sessions will give students an opportunity to network with other civic-minded residents as they learn about how to effectively champion new, impactful policy changes that benefit all residents.

“In just two short years of City Council Bootcamp, we have had alumni appointed and elected to Cincinnati City Council; elected as precinct executives and community council presidents; appointed by the Mayor to the Cincinnati Accessibility Board of Advisors; successfully champion legislation at City Hall; and more,” said Ioanna Paraskevopoulos, Action Tank’s co-founder and executive director.

Ioanna Paraskevopoulos

“Now, as this empowering and impactful program enters its third year and our country has reached a critical political moment, we need smart, passionate people engaged in local government now more than ever, to push back against the political extremism we see creeping into government at every level,” she said. “We can’t wait to continue supporting more local leaders on their journeys toward positive political change.”

Paraskevopoulos co-founded the nonprofit Action Tank in January 2019 as a way to provide free policy research and technical assistance to Cincinnatians, especially community and neighborhood groups, advocating on behalf of their neighbors. Action Tank started out as a nonprofit that partners with artists to make public policy fun and accessible and empower residents to engage in local government.

Graduates have used what they learned to make an impact:

  • Joshua Kayes, a member of the 2022 program, has been appointed by Mayor Pureval to the Cincinnati Accessibility Board of Advisors and is pursuing a very detailed policy goal of updating historic building standards to include enhanced accessibility requirements.
  • Faith Gingrich-Goetz, part of the 2021 class, successfully advocated for an equitable restroom ordinance, working with Vice Mayor Jan-Michelle Kearney to pass an ordinance requiring any new public restrooms to be gender neutral.
  • Liz Keating, also a member of the 2021 class, was appointed to City Council in 2020 and then re-elected in 2021.

In a mix of virtual and in-person sessions, City Council Bootcamp participants will engage with a wide array of panelists representing government administrators, elected officials across the political spectrum, journalists, community leaders, and others who shape local policy processes and outcomes.

Students will then bring the skills discussed by these subject-matter experts to life through compelling, interactive, artist-led workshop experiences.

City Council Bootcamp is sponsored by generous support from Haile Foundation, the Seasongood Foundation, the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, as well as several private donors.

Applications are open now through June 29 at 5 p.m. All Ohio and Kentucky residents 18 and older are eligible to apply. Because some program sessions will take place in-person, applicants should consider their availability to travel to Cincinnati during the program period before applying.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to register and attend one of the two remaining information sessions: Saturday, June 11 from 3:00 – 5:00 PM, or Thursday, June 16 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM.

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