Black-led nonprofits receive $6.5M in grants to improve local health equity

A Greater Cincinnati grantmaking organization awarded $6.5 million in grants to four Black women-led nonprofits focused on improving health equity across the region.

bi3 – a philanthropic initiative created by Bethesda, Inc. – selected Cradle Cincinnati, Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, YWCA Greater Cincinnati and Me & She Doula Services to receive the funding.

The dollar values of the three-year grants range in value from $200,000 to $3 million.

Jill Miller, Bethesda’s president and CEO and founder of bi3, said her organization uses its grant program to fuel innovation and improve health equity. She views this round of grants as vital to reducing infant mortality, improving birth outcomes for Black families and addressing social barriers to better health.

Jill Miller, president and CEO of Bethesda Inc.
Jill Miller

ULGSO received $1.5 million in this round of funding to support expansion of its programs focused on community empowerment and ending generational poverty. Those dollars will go toward efforts to combat issues around education, employment, criminal justice and public safety, all of which lead directly to health inequities, said the organization’s CEO and president, Christie Kuhns.

Specifics about how the grants and how the organizations plan to use the funds are below.

“We appreciate bi3’s confidence and investment in our work and look forward to expanding our programs to help more people get on the path to a healthier future,” Kuhns said.

bi3 uses funding and a strategic partnership with TriHealth to spark and scale new approaches to health care and partners with community-based organizations. The goal, Miller said, is to fuel new solutions to deep-seated community health issues.

Since 2010, bi3 has awarded more than $95 million in grants.

Miller noted that funding agencies have historically underinvested in Black-led organizations, leading to the creation of these health gaps. For that reason, bi3 has made a point of increasing its investment in Black-led organizations to build solutions with communities to improve health outcomes, she said.

“bi3 is leading the way to a day when every person has a fair and just opportunity to achieve their best health,” Miller added.

Grant awards

$3.3 million to Cradle Cincinnati

Black babies are dying at three times the rate of white babies in the region, per bi3.  This grant builds upon bi3’s existing $4.9 million investment in Cradle Cincinnati to reduce infant mortality. The funding will support more than 1,500 Black women of childbearing age through the supportive community of Queens Village, expanding doula services and championing policies to support pregnant people and families. 

$1.5 million to Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio

bi3 noted a strong correlation between health and wealth, particularly in Ohio where people of color are more likely to encounter barriers to employment and wage growth. The grant will expand efforts at ULGSO to partner with Black-led community organizations to advance employment opportunities, financial stability, social equality and leadership. Programs will include workforce training for livable wage jobs, expanding access to health insurance, mental health care and activation of a Black caregiver advocate network. 

$1.5 million to YWCA Greater Cincinnati

Ohio Department of Health data shows Black and brown women in Ohio are more likely to endure health disparities. Funding will help YWCA develop advocacy goals and objectives with community stakeholders.  With bi3’s support, YWCA will launch a path to system-level change for the health and safety of women and children in Southwest Ohio. This funding aims to help YWCA sustain its trauma-informed domestic violence shelters and housing programs. It will also expand racial equity training and establish partnerships to advocate for policy change. 

$200,000 Me & She Doula Services

Me & She Doula will use the funding to offer free and reduced-cost services and classes while also working to connect Black women to resources they need. They’ll also offer pregnancy, postpartum and parenting support groups. The goal is to improve the health outcomes of Black moms and babies.


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