| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

Non-Profit : Development News

61 Non-Profit Articles | Page: | Show All

Dress for Success Cincinnati moves to Textile Building

The Textile Building is now home to Dress for Success Cincinnati and 4th Street Boutique. The two businesses moved just 100 feet from their old downtown home of 10 years.
DFS opened its new doors yesterday, only 13 days after taking possession of its new space. The layout of the old space wasn’t ideal, says Julie Smith-Morrow, CEO of DFS Cincinnati. But in the new building, 4th Street Boutique is on the ground floor, and the DFS programs are all on the ninth floor.
“We hope that our clients will feel inspired by the new space when they come in,” says Smith-Morrow. “As always, we’ll be very welcoming, and will meet them where they are.”
DFS Cincinnati is one of 127 affiliates in 15 countries that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help them thrive in work and life. It was founded in the Queen City in 1999, and has served more than 11,000 women in the area. 4th Street Boutique sells women’s new and gently-used clothing, and its net proceeds support DFS.
“We’re really excited about the move—it’s something we’ve wanted to do for years,” says Smith-Morrow. “We’ve had lots of help from the community, which has helped us succeed. We hope to be able to help women get to work, keep their jobs, develop careers and be successful in life.”
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Five Uptown organizations receive awards for community commitment

On Friday, members of the Uptown community gathered for the Uptown Business Celebration, presented by Uptown Consortium and Uptown Rentals/North American Properties. Five Uptown organizations walked away with awards for business excellence and commitment to the community.
In order to be eligible for an award, businesses demonstrated strong commitment to the Uptown community, success in meeting the organization’s mission and sustainable businesses practices. They also encouraged others to follow their lead. Awards were given in five categories: Small Nonprofit of the Year (25 of fewer employees), Large Nonprofit of the Year (more than 25 employees), Community Champion, Small Business of the Year (50 or fewer employees) and Large Business of the Year (50 or more employees).
The Small Nonprofit award went to the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation and Large Nonprofit to Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center. Avondale resident and avid volunteer Patricia Milton won the Community Champion award; the Small Business award went to UC's DuBois Bookstore; and the Large Business award to Uptown Rental Properties.
Keynote speaker Benjamin Carson, Sr., M.D., overcame poverty and a rough childhood, and is currently a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has directed the pediatric neurosurgery program at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for more than 25 years. Carson's many awards include 60 honorary doctorate degrees and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor.
Carson encouraged those at the awards ceremony to “elevate themselves” to make things better. He also shared his philosophy of success, which is “THINK BIG—talent, honesty, insight, nice, knowledge, book, in-depth learning and God.”
Uptown neighborhoods are Avondale, Clifton, Corryville, Clifton Heights, Fairview, University Heights and Mt. Auburn.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Emery lights back up April 12-14

Dance, art and music fill the Emery Theatre in Over the Rhine this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Contemporary Dance Theatre as well as the return of MusicNOW.

The theatre, which was donated to the city in 1908 thanks to the charitable trust of Mary Emery, is currently owned by the University of Cincinnati and leased to the Emery Center Corporation, which manages the Emery Center Apartments. The theater, a replica of Carnegie Hall, is one of only three remaining halls in the nation designed with perfect acoustics. The Requiem Project: The Emery, a site-specific 501c3 founded in 2009, is working to re-establish the historic space as an event venue and interdisciplinary arts and education center. 

After going dark for the winter months as negotiations continue over the building's future, the theater hosts two major public events this weekend.

MusicNOW's first-ever art show runs in the Emery's gallery spaces through the weekend. It features pieces by Cincinnati natives Jessie Henson and Nathalie Provosty, both of whom currently work out of New York. Sunday, MusicNOW founder and The National member Bryce Dessner makes a special appearance at the Emery for a performance during a gallery party from 4-6 pm.

In addition to the MusicNOW events, the Emery also welcomes the April 13 anniversary gala for the Contemporary Dance Theatre, which was founded in 1972 by current artistic director and local dance icon Jefferson James. David Lyman plays host during the celebration, which features video, photography, costumes and more. 

While the future of the Emery and efforts to revive it remain unclear, at least for this weekend, there's a chance to enjoy an amazing local space being used for all the right reasons--to celebrate the local arts community and its connection to the broader artistic and cultural landscape of our time.

The MusicNOW exhibit and Bryce Dessner performance are free and open to the public.

Tickets for the CDC gala available here.

By Elissa Yancey
Follow Elissa on Twitter.


CiNBA hosts networking event for Cincinnati independent businesses

On March 27, the Greater Cincinnati Indpendent Business Alliance is hosting a workshop that will focus on the unseen benefits of nurturing and supporting local independent businesses.
“This event provides a unique opportunity to explore the beneficial impact an independent business alliance can provide Cincinnati and the community,” says Owen Raisch, CiNBA’s founder.
CiNBA was started in March 2012 Raisch visited the American Independent Business Alliance’s national conference. Since then, Raisch has been working with businesses around Xavier University, including Betta’s Italian Oven, Betta’s Café Cornetti, Center City Collision, Baxter's Fast Wheels, Listermann Brewing, Kleen Print Products, Cincinnati Cash Mob and Beans and Grapes.
All of CiNBA’s members except Center City Collision worked with Xavier students to assess business models and develop their businesses. Over 60 students were involved in classes that range from an MBA management project to undergraduate graphic design courses.
CiNBA is the recipient of a Fuel Cincinnati grant that funded Raisch’s trip to the AIBA conference, and paid for CiNBA’s first year of membership to the organization.
“The grant and membership to AIBA provided startup support and promotional materials that were critical to the current level of CiNBA’s development,” says Raisch. “I’m very appreciative of Fuel’s support. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The workshop will feature a presentation by Jeff Milchen, founder and director of the first International Business Alliance. The free event will be held at Beans and Grapes in Pleasant Ridge at 8:15 a.m. Contact Raisch at 937-402-6596 for more information.

By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Food truck owners unite to build business, opportunities

With shows like the Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race, food on wheels has evolved from trend to craze in big cities all across the country. Cincinnati is home to 28 food trucks and trailers, and 11 of them have recently joined the Cincinnati Food Truck Association, a nonprofit that aims to reinvent food truck vending.  
In 2010, Café de Wheels was one of the only food trucks in town; in 2011, Taco Azul popped on the scene. And last year, there was a huge boom in the local food truck business.
“Food trucks are the fastest growing sector of the food industry, and it’s growing here,” says Emily Frank, 38, of C’est Cheese. She also serves as CFTA’s president. “People are excited about food trucks.”
With so many trucks, there was a need for a unified voice to represent them. In June 2010, the Mobile Food Vendor Pilot Program, which was strongly supported by City Councilmember Laure Quinlivan, was born.
The Pilot Program allowed food trucks and trailers to serve street food in certain areas of downtown's Central Business District on a first-come, first-served basis, with proper permits. Food trucks were allowed one to two spaces in Sawyer Point, six spaces at Court Street Market and 12 spaces in a parking lot at Fifth and Race Streets.
Building off the Pilot Program, a group of UC urban planning students who were interested in food hubs held a meeting for food truck owners and operators in September. The students got everyone talking, but since they were only working on the project for a semester, it was up to the food truck owners to do something.
Frank, Elizabeth Romero of Sugarsnap! Truck and Tracy Sims of Taco Azul formed CFTA last fall. They held a meeting and extended an invitation to join the CFTA to the 25 other food trucks in town.
“We didn’t know what to expect from our peers, but it was very positive,” says Romero, 29, CFTA’s secretary. At the first meeting, two other trucks joined CFTA.
Currently with 11 members, CFTA hopes to see at least four other trucks join this spring. Right now, food trucks are part of the Night Owl Market downtown and are staples at Sawyer Point—CFTA is even part of Taste of Cincinnati this year. In the future, CFTA hopes to plan one or two food-related events throughout the year.
For example, Atlanta’s food trucks are in the suburban parks, says CFTA’s treasurer, Sims, 32. CFTA will soon be meeting with City Parks and discussing the possibility of having food trucks at park events.
“All of the money made during the event would be given back to the park to help build a strong relationship with them,” says Sims. “It would be very seasonal, but very profitable.”
One of CFTA’s immediate goals is to work with the city to increase the number of available mobile food vending spots that are outlined in the Pilot Program. “We want to represent Cincinnati and be part of the community,” says Romero. “We want the city to be proud of food trucks and show them off like the brick-and-mortar staples in the city.”
Members of CFTA are C’est Cheese, Café de Wheels, Catch-A-Fire, Eat! Mobile Dining, Eclectic Comfort Food, Goldstar Chili Mobile, Kaimelsky’s, Mr. Hanton's Handwiches, Queen City Cookies, Sugarsnap! and Taco Azul.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Old Hamilton Journal-News building gets new life

The former home of the Hamilton-Journal News will soon become Butler Tech’s School of the ArtsHamilton City School’s Adult Basic and Literacy Education program and the Miami Valley Ballet Theatre.
The building, located at 228 Court Street in Hamilton’s downtown, was built in 1886; additions were added in 1914, 1956 and 1959. The Journal-News vacated the building in 2011, and Akron Legacy Real Estate Development LLC, a group of five Ohio developers that work together on different projects, including historic restoration projects, purchased it.
Akron Legacy also did a $10 million restoration of the historic Hamilton Mercantile Lofts. The project included 29 market-rate residential units and three spaces of street-level retail.
“We want to see Hamilton’s older, beautiful buildings repurposed into mixed-use buildings, rather than sitting dark,” says Joshua Smith, Hamilton’s city manager.
The Journal-News restoration project received $804,122 in Ohio Preservation Historic Tax Credits. The money from the tax credits will support phases two and three of the project, which will be completed in mid-February. Initial construction on the project began in the late summer of 2012.
All three arts programs were in need of new spaces. Butler Tech’s School of the Arts is temporarily housed in downtown Hamilton at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts. High demand for Butler Tech’s program led to its need for a new home, says Smith. The move will allow the program to double or triple in size.
“It’s refreshing to see young, creative folks walking around downtown, and adding to the vibrancy of the town,” says Brandon Saurber, assistant to the city manager.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Price Hill Will acquires St. Lawrence property to turn into public square

The East Price Hill Improvement Association was awarded $107,500 from the city through the 2013 Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program for the development of the St. Lawrence Corner Public Square. Price Hill Will, an independent organization that focuses on comprehensive community development, will administer the project.
Price Hill Will purchased the property in early 2012. The property was home to a three-story Tudor-style building that burned down in 2010 and has been vacant since.
“Before it burned down, the building was an anchor for the area,” says Matt Strauss, director of marketing and neighborhood promotion for Price Hill Will. The organization had had its eye on the building, and Strauss is now looking forward to turning the land it used to sit on into something great.
The property will become a public square, which will include a stage and water feature. Once completed, the square will be a gathering place for the neighborhood and a place for events such as the Price Hill Cultural Heritage Fest, says Strauss. 

Construction on the square began last week, and will be finished in the next few months.

Price Hill Will worked closely with Price Hill residents on the plans for the square.
“We wanted to reflect the people of the neighborhood, and their dreams and aspirations for the area,” says Strauss. Residents were able to provide feedback on what they wanted for the square, and even what they wanted it to look like.
The property sits near the edge of East and West Price Hill and acts as a gateway for the neighborhood. Strauss hopes that like the building, the square will become an anchor and point of pride for Price Hill and its residents.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

CoSign brightens Northside streetscapes on Black Friday

This year, Black Friday will be a “Bright Friday” for the community of Northside.

Up and down Hamilton Avenue, businesses will unveil fun and funky new signs that bedazzle Northside’s main drag. In an unlikely collaboration of 11 businesses, local artists, several zoning officials and one museum, the CoSign project is now a proven success in creating attractive, cohesive street signage with hopes to shape future signage projects in city neighborhoods locally and across the nation.

What started as a broader grant application to ArtPlace America for several city neighborhoods became a personal quest for Northsiders after the city-wide application went unfunded last spring.  

Stepping up with funding support, the Haile US Bank Foundation, Northside partners and the American Sign Museum created a pilot project that paired local businesses and visual artists with sign fabricators to design and install a critical mass of new signage along Hamilton Avenue.  

With an idealistic launch date of November 23, this year’s Black Friday, Eric Avner knew this would be a challenge. “We wanted to do multiple things at once,” says Avner, vice president and senior program manager of the Haile/US Bank Foundation. “Help the sign museum, help local business districts gain vitality and give the creative sector of Cincinnati more opportunities to make a living.”  

The American Sign Museum played a vital role in the project, serving as the primary grant recipient and providing staff as content specialists for the design process. The museum held two August training workshops for artists and businesses, put together a team of professional sign fabricators and installers, and participated in a judging panel to decide upon the best signage proposals from business/artist teams.  

“Part of our mission is to educate the public and special interest groups about signs,” says Tod Swormstedt, founder of the American Sign Museum. “The workshops helped to educate the business owners on why signage is so important for marketing, as well as to educate artists about what is a good sign. Artists may create an aesthetically-pleasing sign, but it may not identify the business well.”   

The week before their unveiling, the American Sign Museum displayed the signage in its brand-new facility near Camp Washington at 1330 Monmouth Street.  

CoSign documented the progress of the project from start to finish with help from The Queen City Project so other communities have the opportunity to replicate the project and broadcast their own creativity and collaborative spirit through signage. And the sign museum plans to go after that ArtPlace grant again - the one it lost just a few short months ago.

Says Swormstedt, “The application is much stronger now, given the learning curve we experienced, the lessons learned and the project’s success.”  

By Becky Johnson

Salvation Army-owned property in College Hill soon to be apartments for seniors

The undeveloped property at 6381 Center Hill Avenue in College Hill will soon become apartments for senior citizens and people with disabilities. The final plans for the development were approved Friday by the City Planning Commission.
The Salvation Army owns the Center Hill property, which will soon become 96 apartments available to residents 60 years of age and older who meet specific income requirements. There will be 95 one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment for the resident manager. Plans also include a kitchen, dining room and recreation areas for residents.
“Dwellings for senior citizens are in high demand,” says Felix Bere, senior city planner for the City of Cincinnati. “These apartments will also cater to a segment of the population that needs a place to live.”
Construction on the property is expected to start in February 2013; completion is slated for the second quarter of 2014.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Public Interest Design Institute to educate attendees in community design

On Nov. 9 and 10, the Public Interest Design Institute will offer a two-day course in public interest design at the University of Cincinnati. Attendees of the conference will receive SEED® certification and learn ways to get involved with public interest design projects.
The course will feature speakers who will talk about specific public interest design projects and funding for those projects. Bryan Bell, founder of Design Corps and the Public Interest Design Institute, will be certifying attendees in SEED, or Social Economic Environmental Design. SEED helps guide, evaluate and measure the social, economic and environmental impact of design projects.
Public interest design enhances the existing design practice by putting design skills to use in the community. Many public interest design projects are for nonprofits and are funded through grants, foundations and collaborations with other organizations.
But public interest design isn’t just for designers or planners. The workshop is open to anyone, including students, interested in public interest design, specifically those in the development, government development, planning, urban design, landscape, interiors and industrial design fields.
“There’s an ever-growing recognition of both the need and opportunity for public interest design,” says Michael Zaretsky, associate professor in the School of Architecture and Interior Design at DAAP. “We know that in the past, design was really just for those that could afford it, but there are now so many examples of work that is for communities, and everyone benefits from it.”
In recent years, more and more large design firms are beginning to require that their employees donate a portion of their time to public interest design projects, some through organizations like theonepercent.org. The One Percent Project links nonprofits that need design projects with firms and individuals who want to donate one percent of their time to a project.
“It’s not just volunteering, but a chance to use our skills and knowledge to benefit a community,” says Zaretsky.
The speakers at the workshop include Maurice Cox, an urban designer and architecture professor at the University of Virginia; Ramsey Ford, co-founder and director of design for Design Impact; Emilie Taylor, design build manager at the Tulane City Center; and Zaretsky.
Zaretsky will be talking about a project he worked on in Tanzania with the Village Life Outreach Project. He serves as director of the Roche Health Center Design Committee, which, along with a nonprofit, helped build a health center in a rural Tanzanian village that has no power or running water. Zaretsky worked with students and engineering and architecture firms to complete the project.
There’s still time to sign up for the Public Interest Design Institute’s workshop. The cost for the course is $450; it’s $350 for AIA members and $250 for students.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Cincideutsch to deck Fountain Square with traditional Christkindlmarkt

The weekend after Thanksgiving heralds the start of the Christmas season, as Fountain Square becomes the set for Macy’s Light Up the Square and Downtown Dazzle, but this year, a new addition to the festivities adds a distinctively German twist. Cincideutsch, Cincinnati’s newest German society, will host a Christkindlmarkt on the Square, Nov. 23-25.
A Christkindlmarkt is a traditional German market that pops up around Christmas time. In Germany, the markets start at the beginning of Advent and last until Christmas. Cincideutsch's Christkindlmarkt is Cincinnati's first open-air Christmas market, and although it's only one weekend, the group hopes that in the future, the market will last longer, says Olaf Scheil, Cincideutsch’s president and one of its co-founders.
Scheil came to Cincinnati 14 years ago for work, and after the company he moved for closed, he decided to stay. Many of the members of Cincideutsch are German natives who have moved to Cincinnati, or are Americans who have lived in Germany, like Linda McAlister, co-founder, VP and treasurer of Cincideutsch. Peter Rother, the third co-founder, is VP and secretary.
Plans have been in the works for a Christkindlmarkt since Cincideutsch was founded in 2011. “It was something we all missed about Germany, so we decided to start one here,” McAlister says.  
Cincideutsch’s Christkindlmarkt will have feature 10 booths selling things that are both German in nature and local. The Germania Society of CincinnatiMunich Sister City Association of Greater CincinnatiRookwood PotteryServatii Pastry Shop and Deli, Ultimate Almonds and Mecklenburg Gardens will have booths selling Christmas ornaments and crafts, beer and Glühwein (German mulled wine). 

Visitors can also buy special edition mugs and tote bags designed by Saint Ursula Academy’s design program. The students from Saint Ursula’s also designed the Christkindlmarkt posters.
Scheil didn’t want Cincideutsch’s Christkindlmarkt to be pop-up tents in the middle of the street, so the booths resemble traditional German-style houses. The market will look like a little German village lit up for Christmas, he says.
Cincideutsch is still seeking sponsors for the market; it has one official sponsor so far, Christian Moerlein Brewery.
By Caitlin Koenig
Follow Caitlin on Twitter

Modern Makers builds community in Uptown

A collaboration between the Uptown Consortium and Hark + Hark sets its sights on engaging community members in Uptown in the arts in new, creative, and super cool ways.

Together, they host monthly art events as Modern Makers. This month, Modern Makers presents performances from ALICE (in wonderland) by Cincinnati Ballet II Second Company at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center on Wed., Oct. 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. Modern Makers is sponsored through Uptown Consortium and Hark and Hark, both nonprofits.

“Bringing and highlighting arts and the arts environment to uptown Cincinnati by featuring and displaying different art programs and opportunities for everyone…is the main key of what we’re trying to do,” says Janelle Lee, Uptown Consortium’s Director of Business and Community Affairs and a member of the Cincinnati Ballet Board of Trustees.

Most of the monthly art shows are held in Corryville on Short Vine or on Glendora Avenue, right behind Bogart’s. 
About a year and a half ago, Uptown Consortium partnered with Hark and Hark, an art and community-based firm started by two former University of Cincinnati DAAP graduates, Catherine Richards and Ahn Tran, to create Modern Makers. The second season of Modern Makers coincides with UC’s school year, with different art shows each month from August until June. 

This year’s MM season kicked off with a chef, who prepared food through art. The event was an overwhelming success, according to Lee.

All MM events are free and open to the public; food is provided by a restaurant on Short Vine. Each event also features an interactive creative art project; for example, last year for Mardi Gras, participants created masks.

In November, Modern Makers will present the second annual “Light Up Short Vine,” Wed., Nov. 28—a Christmas celebration complete with lights, a Christmas tree, Santa Claus and CCM carolers.

By Stephanie Kitchens

CoSign unveils winning sign concepts for Northside

If you want to be incrementally better, be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better, be cooperative.

In announcing the 11 Northside businesses who have won its CoSign signage design contest, the Haile U.S. Bank Foundation is proving that point. Collaboration between businesses and artists, non-profits and city zoning departments, fabricators and museum administrators has succeeded in producing imaginative new signage for Northside’s eclectic streetscape. 

After a lively competition between more than 20 Northside locales, the Foundation upped its original plan to fund 10 signs and chose 11 for the project. Business selected are:

Casablanca Vintage

Northside Surplus

Northside International Airport


Tone House Music

WordPlay/Urban Legend Institute

Django Western Taco

Off the Avenue Studios

Northside Tavern

Market Side Merchatile


The new signs, now being fabricated, will appear first in the American Sign Museum before their unveiling on the morning of Black Friday, Nov. 23, in Northside. Signs were chosen by a jury who judged the designs based on concept, construction and context.  

In five, short months, the Haile Foundation has taken the idea of supporting new neighborhood signage from concept to creation. Initially proposed on a grander scale for three Cincinnati neighborhoods, the Haile Foundation scaled back to just one when ArtPlace rejected its grant proposal last spring. Funding the project on its own with $150,000, the Haile Foundation found itself in a new situation.

“This was a collaborative idea from the start, and a huge learning experience,” says Eric Avner, vice president and senior program manager in community development for the Carol Ann and Ralph V Haile Jr. U.S. Bank Foundation (and lead Soapbox provacateur).  “We were funding a project AND designing it, which is not normal for us.”

The plan – to pair Northside businesses with artists, who would design signs that conformed to City of Cincinnati signage regulations – required building close relationships with city zoning departments, educating artists and businesses through workshops on those regulations, and working with the American Sign Museum to provide expertise and exhibit space for the signs before their installations on the street.  

With its success, says Avner, “Haile plans to share this collaborative idea with granting agencies, other Cincinnati neighborhoods and other cities around the country.”

Find out more:

• Visit: the American Sign Museum now open at 1330 Monmouth Street for a sneak peek at the CoSign signage before it is installed in Northside.

• Mark Your Calendar: For Nov. 23, Black Friday, when Northside will unveil its new signs at a “shop local” event for the start of the holiday season.

• Watch for: Queen City Projects video documentation of the project, so that others may learn from and replicate this collaboration in different neighborhoods and cities.

By Becky Johnson

Requiem Project takes root, grows community

Just one year ago, the Emery Theatre, one of the nation's top acoustic concert halls, sat empty in Over the Rhine. For decades, its once-sumptuous spaces were neglected. They eroded. They crumbled. They gathered more than their share of dust.

Since last November, more than 6,000 guests have seen art shows, watched dancers perform, heard beautiful music and witnessed a dream unfold in the spaces Mary Emery had built to serve the people of Cincinnati.

That dream, known as the Requiem Project, continues to build this fall with a five-event series called "Art Moves Here," which debuts Sept. 30 with a FotoFocus-affiliated exhibit called "Handsome" by Chris Hoeting.

Hoeting built "Handsome" specific to the Emery's nooks and crannies, knowing that his show would run in tandem with Midpoint Music Festival performances at the site as well as a showing of Mike Disfarmer's beautiful and sometimes unsettling portraits, set to be on display starting .

Like so many other endeavors over the past year, "Handsome" reflects the power and the potential of the Emery to occupy an emerging space in the local arts scene—to bring together art forms, artists and neighbors and together, to build a stronger, vibrant and diverse community.

"All of these things live together," says Requiem Project co-founder Tara Lindsey Gordon. She and partner Tina Manchise lead the all-volunteer effort to restore the Emery, which publicly kicked off on 11.11.11.

Since then, the two have built a non-profit business dedicated to the idea that Cincinnati needs the Emery. The idea that the space gives something powerful to the community, from guests at performances and fundraisers to the four neighborhood kids who "work" at the Emery after school.

Their fall season is filled with partnerships that bring something new to the city, from multimedia shows in conjunction with FotoFocus and independent artists, to a show with the Contemporary Arts Center that features Andy Warhol screen tests that will be projected on stage during a music performance.

"This is a huge endeavor," says Manchise. She could be talking about the complex programming line-up that involves Requiem's five major events this fall or the massive renovation work the Emery needs. The building sat empty for years, she notes, because keeping its doors open requires near-constant work.

She and Lindsey Gordon, who average between 40 and 80 hours a week doing Requiem Project work, take no salaries. They admit the task before them can feel daunting. But unlike last year, when some looked at the Emery as "the Tina and Tara show," now they know there are far more people involved, and invested in the theater's success.

First, there's the core of more than a dozen dedicated volunteers who help with everything from volunteer coordination to site logistics. Then, there are the neighbors, from fellow business owners to the fire marshall (who checks in weekly) to neighbors who find support and respite at the Emery.

Manchise and Lindsey Gordon take the "open door" policy seriously, partnering with groups large and small to offer spaces, time and support to independent artists, groups like the YPCC, Exhale Dance Tribe and even the Starfire Council, who look to the Emery as a safe place for practice and experimentation.

"We're not only a venue," says Manchise, who notes that one of the "Art Moves Here" events takes place outside of the historic theater.

"Contained," a collection of 11 shipping containers filled with different artists' works, will be set in the Grammer's parking lot on Walnut Street. The Oct. 20 event illustrates the Requiem Project's goal to connect with the community both inside and outside of the Emery.

Manchise and Lindsey Gordon know the stakes are high. It will take $25 million to revive the Emery. For now, the partners are in a sense performing perpetual CPR on the site, keeping it alive, making improvements as they can and building a community of supporters who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, literally.

They work with partners who accept the extra challenges inherent in a space with a temporary certificate of occupancy. (Manchise and Lindsey Gordon will apply for another next year.) They work with weekend volunteers who clean under every seat in the auditorium because maintenance doesn't come cheap. They head home with green hands and way too much information about Port-o-lets and water supplies.

They stress over taking on too many projects. They squabble over printer jams and QuickBooks. They joke that they spend so much time together that it's like they are sharing tight quarters on a ship.

And still, they couldn't be more proud of the space where they have invested their money, their time and their lives.

"The theater is doing exactly what it is meant to do," Manchise says. "A buiding like this can do so much good."

Find out more about the Requiem Project's fall season as well as the fall line-up of events at the Emery on the newly re-launced website, built by Mower + Associates.

By Elissa Yancey
Follow Elissa on Twitter.

Covington rehabs boost support for great neighborhoods

The 900 block of Banklick Street in Covington was an urban disaster. 

Included in the historic area of Covington’s Westside, it had fallen into grave disrepair.  Despite its good location near an elementary school, the block was completely vacant and had been for years.

Today, construction is nearing an end on the 900 block of Banklick, and the friendly streetscape is filled with new or rehabbed houses.  Two homes are already under contract for sale, and given the increasing need for moderate income housing, the others may sell quickly, too.   

The entire transformation of a city block is the work of Covington’s Center for Great Neighborhoods (CGN).  This non-profit, neighborhood-based community development organization has been around for almost 40 years, beginning in 1976 as the Covington Community Center.  

Its goals are to support neighborhoods and housing, youth development and financial education.  

It was while working with the 18 different neighborhood associations in Covington that CGN heard residents voice their concern for more home ownership and neighborhood revitalization.   

Following residents’ lead and funded by United WayPlace Matters and other granting sources like the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, CGN began to purchase structures a decade ago to rehab them for private sale.    

Since that time, 33 homes have either been rehabilitated or newly constructed as in-fill housing.

Adam Rockel, CGN’s community development specialist, praises the City of Covington for its ongoing support.  

“Without them, we would not be doing the things that we do,” he says. 

Over the years, the city had purchased many blighted properties that it has sold cheaply to CGN for rehabilitation, and it supports CGN’s work with grants and assistance to meet building standards for historic structures. 

Rockel sees more good in CGN’s work than just repopulating blighted neighborhoods. “We’re…transforming them into really beautiful homes, raising appraisal rates, and giving people pride in their neighborhoods again.”    

By Becky Johnson
61 Non-Profit Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts