In any given year, more than 2,000 individuals, families and corporations trust The Greater Cincinnati Foundation with gifts of all sizes, ranging from $5 to $25 million, to create a more vibrant and prosperous region where everyone can thrive.

In my first year at the helm of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, I have been inspired by the amazing donors and partners we work with every day.

Julie Geisen Scheper and Chuck Scheper are perfect examples—two caring and generous people who mentor students from Covington Independent Public Schools through Covington Partners.

“My mentee is the first person in her family to graduate from college, and to see her walk across the stage was one of the proudest moments of my life,” Julie says.

Julie and Chuck have also been part of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s nationally benchmarked Impact Investing options, where charitable assets are invested in opportunities that generate both financial and social return in our region. Since 2011, entrepreneurial donors have invested $1 million in projects with the Home Ownership Center, Minority Business Accelerator, CincyTech and more. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation invests as well, creating opportunities for greater impact.

Another inspiring story is that of Maggie Moore, who passed away in December 2007 at 97 years old. She will always be remembered as founder of the Moore-Ellis Family Scholarship Fund, which she established to encourage young, active members of the Allen Temple AME Church to further their education.

There is Linda Pavey. Linda established The Brennan Equine Welfare Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation more than a decade ago to help abandoned and abused horses.

“Part of my mission is to help abused and neglected horses, as well as those who just need retraining,” Linda says. “There are a lot of great organizations who will take in horses from those situations. That’s the type I like to grant to as well as those who take horses off the racetrack who can no longer race. They train them for a second career and adopt them out.”

Dipping back into our history, we remember the visionary women who helped create The Greater Cincinnati Foundation after the mission of their organization, the Fresh Air and Convalescent Aid Society, became obsolete. The gift of their $600,000 endowment in 1963 is worth more than $2 million today, and its income has been used to make grants toward a more vibrant and thriving community for 53 years.

What is more exciting to me is recognizing the incredible potential of our donors’ investment in our region. Collectively they have planned to leave this community $300 million through estate gifts. In 2015 alone, they granted $92.5 million to causes they care about.

Because of our donors, we have been able to make investments in the innovative initiatives of local nonprofits who are committed to their collective impact work. We invest in their system-level change and attention to education, the environment, job creation, economic development and more.

Collective impact creates shared outcomes across sectors, enabling our community to work toward common goals. Since 2011, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has invested $3.5 million into these efforts. In turn, these initiatives leveraged these dollars into $782.8 million for the good of our community. Positive outcomes from this work include the creation of 83,000 jobs, economic development projects that are transforming Northern Kentucky, and increased high school graduation and kindergarten readiness rates. 

I’ve met with many of our donors to learn what they are passionate about. After all, the unique role of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation is to connect generous people to causes they care passionately about. That’s how change happens through our role as your community foundation.