Capacity requests exceed $3 million

The city of Cincinnati and Greater Cincinnati Foundation received 136 applications totaling $3.2 million for its request for proposals to build capacity at small community-based nonprofits.

The requests far exceeded expectations, pushing back the timeline in which the one-year grants will be awarded.

“At this time, we have $600,000 to distribute for grants up to $25,000,” said Adison Nelson, director of community strategies for the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “Therefore, to perform our due diligence in the review process, we anticipate decisions being released in early 2023.”

Adison Nelson

Originally, the city and GCF said there would be $400,000 available with decisions coming by year’s end.

The partnership between GCF and the city is designed to strengthen the capacity of small, community-based organizations to drive equitable change in Greater Cincinnati.

Through the partnership, GCF established the “Boots on the Ground Fund” to provide capacity-building 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 Boots on the Ground Fund will invest in organizations that have deep ties in, and knowledge of, the communities most in need of resources.

“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, vice president of community strategies at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations with an operating budget of less than $1 million 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, the city’s 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.”

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