City, GCF create $400K fund for small agency capacity building

The city of Cincinnati and Greater Cincinnati Foundation have launched a program to provide capacity-building grants to small nonprofits, with an emphasis on ones led by people of color.

The partnership is aimed at strengthening the capacity of small, community-based organizations to drive equitable change in the region.

GCF has established a fund, called the Boots on the Ground Fund, to provide grants, up to $25,000, that will allow nonprofits to build and grow their organizational effectiveness. Historically, these resources have been inaccessible for small, grass-roots organizations, especially those led by people of color. The fund will invest in organizations that have deep ties in, and knowledge of, the communities most in need of resources.

Rasheda Cromwell

“Boots on the Ground Fund is a shining example of the positive impact that happens when individuals and organizations from the nonprofit, government and philanthropic sectors collaborate for a shared goal,” said Rasheda Cromwell, the foundation’s vice president of community strategies.

With the support of the city, GCF plans to distribute approximately $400,000 through the fund in its first year. Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations with an operating budget of less than $1M and located within the city. Priority will be given to organizations that demonstrate the involvement of community members in its decision making and give voices to those directly impacted by the organization.

“Many of our smaller organizations have excellent grassroots programs that have a positive impact in our neighborhoods,” said Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Cincinnati vice mayor. “Although our budget is tight, we want to make sure that these groups receive needed support. We are grateful that the Greater Cincinnati Foundation partnered with us to create the Boots on the Ground Fund for smaller nonprofits that are doing transformative work.”

To learn more about the fund or to apply, visit:

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