GreenLight Fund has named a longtime advocate for families, children and those in need to lead its next phase of its work with Greater Cincinnati residents and families to eliminate barriers to economic mobility.
Erin Saul is taking over as executive director of GreenLight Cincinnati, one of 12 sites across the country part of the national grant-making nonprofit.
In announcing the staffing move, GreenLight Cincinnati emphasized Saul’s professional background, passion for children and families, and commitment to equity position as reasons for selecting her.
Saul spent the past five-and-a-half years as a community engagement leader at Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. In that role, she guided a coalition of nearly 50 schools, health care and early childhood organizations working to reduce the incidence and impact of early childhood trauma in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Saul previously worked as a program manager at 4C for Children. There, she was responsible for the implementation of family-focused programming across Greater Cincinnati and the Miami Valley region.
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Saul moved away for a time and then moved back to pursue professional opportunities. She worked as a case manager and program manager in Maine working in a variety of spaces, ranging from support services for unhoused dealing with mental health issues to sexual assault prevention.
Cincinnati Children’s recognized Saul in 2021 as its Young Professional of the Year. The Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center honored her with its inaugural Upstander Award last year.
The Denison University graduate is a member of the YWCA Rising Stars class of 2020 and is a board member for Mission2Move, which brings mindful movement programming to public preschools.
“Thanks to GreenLight Cincinnati’s track record and dedicated, passionate local GreenLight staff, I am inheriting the trust of the community and a reputation for bold commitment to solving Cincinnati’s most pressing social challenges,” said Saul, who holds a master’s degree in business leadership and innovation from Northern Kentucky University.
Founded in Boston in 2004, GreenLight Fund works in cities across the United States to create opportunities for inclusive prosperity. It does so by facilitating a resident-driven process to identify unmet community needs and evaluate and support programs that aim to address those issues.
Margaret Hall, CEO and co-founder of GreenLight Fund, highlighted specific aspects of Saul’s professional experience. They include her history of working across sectors to promote equity and her proven ability to identify and implement evidence-based interventions.
“We’re delighted to have Erin on the team,” Hall said. “Her experience along with her passion for equity and the local community make her an excellent fit to lead GreenLight Cincinnati as we work to make real progress on dismantling deep-rooted racial and economic disparities with innovative programs that are rooted at the local level.”
GreenLight Fund expanded to Cincinnati in 2015. As executive director, Saul will provide on-the-ground support to an existing portfolio of five nonprofits: Homestart’s Renew Collaborative, The Literacy Lab’s Leading Men Fellowship, First Place for Youth’s My First Place program housed at NewPath, UpTogether and Center for Employment Opportunities. Each selection cycle takes 10-15 months.
Saul will also partner with GreenLight’s Selection Advisory Council, a cross-sector group of Cincinnati leaders and experts. The group works to advise GreenLight’s time throughout the selection process to determine which program to support and bring to Greater Cincinnati.
One of the members of that advisory council is Ross Meyer, vice president of strategy for Interact for Health.
“Having had the opportunity to work with Erin in the past, knowing her strengths and her commitment to Cincinnati, I am excited for her to lead GreenLight Cincinnati,” he said. “I’m thrilled to work with her… to tackle some of our community’s toughest challenges with programs that deliver results.”
Saul, who started her new role on Oct. 23, said she’s looking forward to hitting the ground running. Her primary focus, she said, is to continue to work with residents and other nonprofits to understand and address what’s preventing families from thriving.
“I’m honored to carry on GreenLight’s work here and ensure our future investments make a difference for the people of Cincinnati,” she added.