A new round of grant funding is available for small, community-based organizations in Cincinnati looking to strengthen their capacity and involve more residents’ voices in their work.
The $750,000 Boots on the Ground Fund through the Greater Cincinnati Foundation aims to support grassroot groups focused on the following areas: housing, food and health care access, gun violence prevention, workforce and youth development, plus mental health and substance use services.
A central goal of the program is to create more equitable solutions by prioritizing inclusion, community voice and engagement with leaders of color and those with lived experience.
Eligible organizations are nonprofits with an operating budget of less than $1 million and projects that directly serve residents within Cincinnati limits.
The request for proposals went live on Nov. 15. Applications are due by Jan. 18.
“Greater Cincinnati Foundation continues to put community members at the helm of this decision-making process because we know that those who are closest to the issues at hand are also the most equipped to provide aid and just as importantly, solutions,” said Rasheda Cromwell, GCF’s vice president of community strategies.
Boots on the Ground Fund started last year with a $300,000 gift from the city of Cincinnati paired with funding from Greater Cincinnati Foundation. It has more than doubled in size thanks to the generous support of Interact for Health, and increased support from the City Council, led by Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney and former Council member and current U.S. Rep. Greg Landsman.
The city’s decision to increase its support for the fund from $300,000 to $500,000 is a byproduct of its desire to make sure grassroots organizations with excellent programs can reach their full potential, Lemon Kearney said.
Over the next few months, GCF plans to host a number of informational events focused on the Boots on the Ground Fund and the application process. Notices of decisions will be made in April 2024.
“These small, community-based nonprofits have close, trust-based relationships with community members and a deep understanding of their needs,” Lemon Kearney said.