Dozens of local nonprofits receive Boots on Ground grants

A collection of 41 local nonprofits, largely led by women and those from underrepresented groups, received a combined $834,620 to address a variety of grassroots issues ranging from housing insecurity and health care access to violence prevention.

The Boots on the Ground Fund is a partnership between Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the City of Cincinnati and Interact for Health. The funding – $650,000 of which came from the city – aims to strengthen the capacity of small, community-based organizations that have programming focused on a variety of neighborhood-level issues – housing, food and health care access, gun violence prevention, workforce and youth development, mental health and substance use services.

Eligible organizations could receive up to $25,000 each to expand their efforts.

Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney

Projects include everything from creating artistic opportunities for young people to supporting budding entrepreneurs who aim to bring more fresh food into local communities. Another focal point is job training for in-demand professions.

A complete list of grantees is available below.

“The nonprofits receiving funding demonstrate deep community involvement in their decision making – often creating solutions that are designed by those who are directly impacted,” said Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney.

Supporting residents at the neighborhood level

The Boots on the Ground Fund started in 2022 with a $300,000 gift from the city of Cincinnati paired with funding from Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The goal was to give a voice and decision-making power to smaller nonprofits working to address important social issues at the community level.

Since its founding, the grant program has nearly tripled in size thanks to additional support of Interact for Health and increased funding from the city, led by Lemon Kearney and U.S. Rep. Greg Landsman, who was then a member of the Cincinnati City Council.

Adison Nelson, senior director of community investments at GCF, said that by establishing deep partnerships with nonprofits, the Boots on the Ground Fund is “making more possible in our community.”

GCF released a request for proposals in fall 2023 for nonprofit organizations with an operating budget of less than $1 million and projects that directly serve residents within Cincinnati city limits.

For this round of funding, partners selected organizations largely led by minorities and women. GCF noted that 71% Boots on the Ground awardees during this round have leaders who are Black, indigenous or people of color (BIPOC). 

“The intentional focus on valuing lived experience is crucial to the success of the Boots on the Ground Fund,” Nelson said. “These efforts are working to remove barriers that prevent many members of our community from reaching their full potential.”

2024 Boots on the Ground Fund Awards

  • African Professionals Network (APNET), $15,000 – 2024 APNET Summer Program
  • Arms Around Media, $25,000 – Empowering Voices Through Media: A collaborative youth development initiative
  • Artsville Corporation, $15,000 – Writing The Next Chapter
  • Beekman Community Market, $25,000 – Incentivize food entrepreneurs in the Beekman Avenue Corridor
  • Brick Gardens Foundation, $15,000 – Operation Bright-Side Brick Gardens Green Team
  • Brothas Inc Youth Initiative, $20,000 – Steered Straight Program 
  • BYE Foundation (dba BYE Institute), $25,000 – Empact Fellowship
  • Childhood Food Solutions, $25,000 – Delivery of shelf stable groceries to families at risk of food insecurity 
  • Cincinnati Black Theatre Company, $25,000 – Shoot with a Camera, a youth violence prevention program
  • Cincinnati Community ToolBank, $10,000 – ToolBank Training Center 
  • Cincinnati Permaculture Institute, $20,000 – Growing Food Producers program
  • Cincinnati Union Cooperative Initiative (Cincy Co-op), $25,000 – Helping marginalized communities enter the ownership economy
  • Community Peace Builders Network, $15,000 – Community Peace Builders Network 
  • Council on Child Abuse, $25,000 – School-based personal safety program and the expansion of safe dating/healthy relationships program
  • Elementz, $25,000 – Elementz Creative Futures Initiative partnership with ABC Clubs
  • Everybody is LITT Academy, $20,000 – Liberation Through Literacy
  • Fully Loaded Dance Studio, $10,000 – Enriching Lives through Dance
  • Greater Cincinnati Resilience Coalition, $12,000 – Greater Cincinnati Resilience Coalition Neighborhood Expansion
  • Health Resource Center of Cincinnati, Inc., $25,000 – Staying Well: Affordable health checkups for individuals in need
  • iCan Health Inc., $15,000 – iCan Health
  • Inner City Youth Opportunities, $15,620 – Teacher recruitment for the Academic Intervention Program
  • Isaiah 55 Inc., $25,000 – Kanggy Meals Program
  • Lincoln Heights Outreach, Inc., $25,000 – Youth Enrichment Program
  • My Brother’s Keeper Cincinnati, $15,000 – Wealth Achievers Expansion
  • Neighborhood Heroes 513, $25,000 – Neighborhood Heroes Youth Engagement
  • OneCity for Recovery, $25,000 – Hopeline Substance Abuse Care Navigation for Cincinnati
  • Partnership for Innovation in Education, $20,000 – Preparing Cincinnati’s underserved youth for advanced manufacturing, electric vehicle and aerospace jobs
  • Preston Brown Foundation, $25,000 – Kreative Kids: Celebrating brilliance and resilience
  • RefugeeConnect, $25,000 – Refugee Health Navigator Program 
  • Renting Partnerships, $25,000 – Dividend housing development
  • Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center, $25,000 – Teen ARTrepreneurship Program – Performing Arts Expansion
  • Save our Youth Kings & Queens, $25,000 for Community Voices: Investing in People
  • Serving Older Adults through Changing Times, $25,000 – Wisdom Behind Walls
  • Sister Accord Foundation, $10,000 – The Sister Accord Leadership Development Tea Party Program 
  • Super Seeds, $22,000 – SuperSeeds & YMCA Training Program
  • Sweet Sistah Splash, $25,000 – Cincinnati Young Entrepreneurs Program 
  • The Gaskins Foundation, $20,000 – S3: Creating safe spaces for students and families
  • The Transformational Healing Place, $20,000 – The Transformational Healing Program
  • Village of Woodlawn Parks and Recreation Center, $10,000 – Woodlawn Summer Development Program “Ujana Unidos” (Youth United in Swahili and Spanish) 
  • Visionaries + Voices, $10,000 – Teaching artist program
  • We Shall Overcome Foundation, $25,000 – Cincinnati Construction Academy “Seeds to Trees” Project

Boots on the Ground Fund

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