| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

For Good

685 Articles | Page: | Show All

GO Cincinnati helps communities through massive volunteer blitz

This Saturday, GO Cincinnati will draw thousands of volunteers to help improve our region through a one-day volunteer blitz. The annual city-wide volunteer event is organized by Crossroads Community Church. Volunteers are grouped into teams that travel as far north as Middletown and as far south as Burlington, Ky., to serve schools, churches, neighborhoods, social agencies and nonprofit organizations.

“For the organizations and communities that we serve, often this day is the only volunteer help that they get all year long,” says Jennifer Sperry, a Crossroads representative. “For the volunteers, it builds lifelong relationships with other volunteers and with the people they are serving, in addition to giving a glimpse of what it's like to give up your time for others.”

As many as 8,000 people divided into 450 groups are expected to participate in GO Cincinnati’s ninth year of service May 17. Sperry says volunteers will provide an array of services, including artistic painting, construction, gardening, landscaping, organizing and cleaning, praying, serving meals, working with children and working with the elderly.

“Some of the projects, like tutoring kids for example, are ongoing,” Sperry says.
“Logistically, a lot of work goes into bringing thousands of people together to make this day a success. Coming out of this one-day blitz, many feel a greater sense of purpose within the church, and use it as a kick-off to commit to more regularly serving in their communities. We coordinate lots of opportunities to serve people and great organizations in our city that happen all year long.“

Leaders of volunteer groups can be identified by their red GO Cincinnati T-shirts, while volunteers themselves will wear white T-shirts with red GO Cincinnati stickers. Each project has specific age group suggestions, but kids ages 2 and up can participate.

"‘Go be the church’ is something we say and do around [Crossroads]. On this day, we put our faith into action to be a blessing to hundreds of schools, neighborhoods, social agencies, churches and nonprofits that give so much to our community,” Sperry says. “The impact of this day on everyone far surpasses words—it's a feeling and sense of purpose from God that's so powerful that thousands of people come back year after year to experience.”

Find out more at www.crossroads.net/reachout.

E-Waste recycling drive saves 75 tons of electronics from landfills

With the beginning of May came the fifth annual Players for the Planet electronic waste recycling drive. The four-day drive ran from May 1-4, and an estimated total of 150,000 pounds (75 tons) of e-waste, including cellphones, computers and printers, was collected.
The annual recycling drive came together through a partnership between many different organizations. Players for the Planet, a nonprofit organization designed to bring professional athletes together to inspire and educate communities about environmental issues, partnered with the Cincinnati Reds, who co-sponsored the event and had players like Jay Bruce and Mike Leake in attendance.
Additional sponsors included Cohen Recycling, PNC Bank, Macy’s, Remke Markets, Kroger, Duke Energy, Green Umbrella Cincinnati, the recycling and solid waste district of Cambell, Hamilton and Butler Counties, and more.
“Over 70 percent of electronic waste ends up in landfills and is not properly disposed of,” says Brewster Rhoads, executive director of Green Umbrella, an alliance of organizations in the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana tri-state area working to preserve the region's greenspace. “This is one opportunity to make sure that doesn’t happen; Cohen Recycling has the highest standard you can achieve for proper recycling of electronic equipment, so they are an important partner in this event.”
The recycling drive took over a different parking lot each day, taking place outside of PNC locations in Colerain, West Chester, Hyde Park and Newport. In total, 1,669 cars participated.
“As far as I know, this is the largest recycling drive of its kind in the country,” Rhoads says. “It’s grown considerably each year, from the amount of sponsors to the amount of e-waste we’ve recycling. We’re really lucky to have the support of the entire Reds organization on this. They’ve helped us take the issue of recycling away from being something political and simply make it a mainstream value.”

ESCC celebrates National Volunteer Week

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, which was celebrated last month, Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati honored four of its top volunteers.
ESCC volunteers provide consulting services to area nonprofits by applying their skills and knowledge from the workforce to the not-for-profit sector.
For Bob Conklin, Procter & Gamble retiree and one of the four individuals recognized, volunteering with ESCC is a meaningful endeavor because it gives him a chance to continue to apply his knowledge in an environment that’s not money-driven.
“Many of the nonprofits are small organizations, staffed by people who have a tremendous passion for whatever service they’re doing,” Conklin says.
Conklin has assisted a variety of nonprofits, but his favorite task was supervising construction of the new Scout Achievement Center, he says.
“The Boy Scouts had no one who had project-management, design and construction experience, so I was able to help interpret for the architect what was needed and help on a day-to-day basis with decision-making,” Conklin says.
“No matter what’s designed, there are always things that are encountered in construction where plans have to be changed, and so I was able to bring the technical and project manager expertise to that to give them guidance.”
Conklin spent about 20 hours a week volunteering with the Boy Scouts’ project, which he says was at times challenging, but incredibly rewarding.
“There is such an overwhelming need with nonprofits, but they typically don’t have time or the structure behind them to work on developing things like, ‘How do I manage an organization? ‘How do I recruit people? How do I set up a financial system?’” Conklin says. “So what we can do is to provide some advice, assistance and training that really helps them be more effective at delivering their mission.” 

Do Good:

•    Contact ESCC if you're a nonprofit with a request for assistance

•    Volunteer with ESCC.

•    Support ESCC by donating.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Caracole facilitates stable housing so focus remains on health

When Linda Seiter, executive director of Caracole first became involved with the organization in the late 1980s, she says she was drawn to it because she was concerned and appalled at the opposition it received.
“I was starting to see friends die from HIV,” Seiter says. “Then I learned about this new organization that was trying to get housing for HIV/AIDS off the ground; and at the time there was tons of opposition—it was a really hard time—trying to open a house to take care of people as they died, so I got involved.”
Caracole’s mission has evolved over the years, but for its 1,400 clients, services are still much needed.
The nonprofit, located in Northside, provides about 120 units of permanent housing, 22 beds for transitional housing, case management and, as of last month, pharmacy services.
“There is still so much stigma related to HIV, and it continues to surprise me how alone our clients feel,” Seiter says.
According to Seiter, children of the women the nonprofit serves don’t even know their mothers are HIV-positive—let alone the rest of their family members.
“So we provide a safe place for people to talk about their issues related to HIV, and then, for housing—two-thirds of our clients make less than $15,000 dollars each year,” Seiter says. “And without stable housing, how could anyone be healthy, let alone with a chronic disease? And that’s where we come in—helping someone who’s homeless or not permanently housed find a permanent housing situation so they can focus on their health.” 

Do Good:

•    If you or someone you know is HIV-positive, seek support here

•    Support Caracole by volunteering or getting involved by attending an upcoming event

•    Support Caracole financially or through in-kind donations.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Annual OTR 5k sees parallel growth with community

When the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce hosted its first 5k as a fundraiser in 2007, the organization raised about $9,000 dollars, and event organizers say the party was over when the single keg was finished.
Last year, the event brought in $66,000 dollars—just one of the dramatic changes that has occurred since the 5k’s inception.
“I think it’s been exciting to see the changes since 2007, and I think what’s happening in OTR is probably one of the best revitalization stories that’s happened in the country in 10 years—that’s probably not an exaggeration,” says Bobby Maly, board chair.
For Maly, the race’s transformation parallels that of the community of OTR. “with the growth, the diversity and the vibrancy of it.”

When the 5k first happened, Maly says 12th and Vine streets—the first blocks where OTR redevelopment began—were just getting started. And Washington Park, where the event now hosts 5,000 people for an after-run celebration, had not yet undergone expansion.
Community members and individuals who perhaps have never visited OTR before now join together, as small businesses and local vendors team up with artists, musicians and anyone with a passion for togetherness to celebrate a community whose social and economic vibrancy continues to grow.
“It’s cool for people who have never been to OTR, and it continues to be a great event for people to come and say, ‘What’s this all about?’ because they can come down with thousands of people, walk around and see the buildings, be in the middle of Washington Park and experience OTR with one of our best days in the neighborhood,” Maly says.
“So, I think it’s both a great opportunity for those who call OTR their own community to enjoy it, but it’s also a great chance for people who have never been.” 

Do Good: 

•    Register for the 5k, and attend the celebration May 17.

•    Sign up to volunteer at the 5k.

•    Like OTR Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Changing Gears client pays loan, becomes first vehicle owner

When Changing Gears presented Arylnda Ray with the title to her 2003 Ford Focus a couple weeks ago, Ray says she was overcome with excitement.
“It was better than the walk on the red carpet because they were celebrating an ordinary person, and that was great,” Ray says. “It was so exuberating to see those people all lined up when I came around the bend, cheering.”
Ray is the first Changing Gears' client to take ownernship of a vehicle, as she just finished making payments on her no-interest loan, which she says helped her to reach a milestone in life.
“Before I had access to transportation, I was on the bus for about 11 years, taking care of my doctors’ appointments—or my family member or a friend would take me to take care of my business,” Ray says. “When I’d go to the grocery store, I’d catch the bus and catch a cab back home, and if I forgot something, it was just forgotten.”
Changing Gears, a CityLink Center partner and nonprofit that assists low-income individuals to access affordable transportation, helped make it possible; and while Ray is thankful for public transportation, she says her life is less stressful now.
“I had a lot of medical things going on with me with my back and my knee and my hip, but being able to have the transportation—it’s so much better because I can just get in the car and go where I need to go without being stressed,” Ray says. “It makes life so much easier, and I help other people, too, because other people helped me.” 

Do Good:

•    Support Changing Gears by donating your used vehicle. 

•    Volunteer with Changing Gears.

•    Like Changing Gears on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


New anti-littering campaign promotes shared responsibility, city pride

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful’s “Don’t Trash The ‘Nati” campaign from the '90s is back, but this time it’s personal.
Instead of the phrase “The 'Nati,” it’s rebranded as “My 'Nati” so individuals will be more inclined to take collective action and ownership of their communities.
“If people took pride in their neighborhood and wouldn’t trash it or litter, it would result in less crime, higher property values—just an overall better quality of life,” says Brooke Lehenbauer, public awareness and volunteer coordinator for Keep Cincinnati Beautiful.
According to Lehenbauer, people sometimes justify littering—whether intentional or not—by saying it provides a job to those who clean the streets, but in actuality, that time spent comes from tax dollars and only takes away from time that could be spent doing more beneficial things.
“That’s time they’re away from filling potholes, cutting grass,” Lehenbauer says.
Campaign designs relay the message by showing what individuals should trash—things like coffee cups and banana peels—next to Cincinnati staples that shouldn’t be trashed at all.
“It has iconic Cincinnati landmarks like Union Terminal, 20th Century Theater, the Reds’ stadium—that kind of thing—so the idea is that we want people to recognize that the city is ours to enjoy,” Lehenbauer says. “Keeping it clean has to be a shared responsibility between all of us.” 

Do Good:

•    Check out Keep Cincinnati Beautiful's upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.

•    Take photos of your favorite Cincinnati spots, and use the hashtag #MyNati to connect with others through social media.

•    Suppor the campaign by donating.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


State Farm and Economics Center partner to deliver financial literacy to 1,500 students

The Money Savvy Kids program will equip 50 area teachers with the resources to bring financial literacy into the classroom to 1,500 elementary students.
State Farm has partnered with the Economics Center to provide this program to teachers by creating a curriculum based on financial risk, goal setting and stability.
“I think one of the reasons it’s important is because if we know how to create a budget and fix credit ratings and plan for the future, then we’re going to improve our odds for financial stability and success,” says Jane Chitwood, State Farm representative. “Implementing that early into the youth is going to be huge for the success of our future generations.”
“A Slice of Life” is a sample lesson that teaches children the importance of budgeting by breaking down one amount into several different pieces.
“It’s a youthful mind,” Chitwood says. “How do you order a pizza and decide all the different ingredients you want on a pizza? Then how do you put it into segments, break it down to build a monthly budget?”
According to Chitwood, financial literacy is so important because it sets the standard for a stable future.
“Part of State Farm’s mission is to help people realize their dreams,” Chitwood says. “So if we can help them learn financial stability and literacy from the very beginning, we’ll be much better off.”

Do Good:

•    Contact a local State Farm agent if you would like assistance in bringing financial literacy into your school. 

•    Support the Economics Center by donating.

•    Check out the Economics Center's resources for the classroom.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Eleven local communities receive grants to increase physical fitness opportunities

Eleven area communities and organizations are the recipients of Interact for Health grants to develop or improve upon spaces for physical activity.
“It’s all about creating infrastructure in places where people can be physically active,” says Jaime Love, Interact for Health’s program officer for healthy eating and active living.
The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, for example, was one the eleven organizations awarded; and as a result, Latonia Elementary School will be the site of a new area from which the whole community can benefit.
“They worked in partnership to convert the dilapidated playground at the school and turn it into a community park,” Love says. “So there’ll be a new playground, fitness equipment—there’ll be a walking track—and it really will be something that both the school and the community residents can enjoy.”
Other organizations will receive things like a pool lift to increase accessibility, and exercise equipment to add to a fitness trail.
According to Love, creating a culture of wellness where people have easy access to physical activity is the goal.
“We want to encourage public places that are free of charge as well, because we know cost can be a barrier to some people being able to participate,” Love says.
“So when we have lots of public spaces that are safe and up to date and easily accessible—people can walk or bike to them, they’re not too far away from their homes—that just increases the likelihood that they can get out with their family and friends and have some activity on a regular basis.”

Do Good:

•    Check out the 11 physical activity and environments grantees, and make use of the spaces when they become available for use.

•    If you're interested in applying for a grant to receive funds for physical activity environments in 2015, there is still time. Proposals are due by noon, May 1. 

•    Connect with Interact for Health on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Metro launches year-long contest to promote green living

Metro kicked off a new initiative this Earth Day by launching a year-long contest that gives riders an incentive to recycle their used passes.
“Drop It In To Win” encourages riders to submit their used 30-day passes, stored value cards or 1-ride tickets for the chance to win a duplicate copy of their submission.
“Here at our offices, we’re big on recycling,” says Jill Dunne, Metro’s public affairs manager. “We added stored-value cards, so there’s more and more paper out there, and we thought this would be a good way to reward our riders and also be environmentally friendly, because at the end of the year, we’re going to recycle all of them.”
Five winners have already received their free passes, and five more will be selected at the beginning of each month for the next year.
“Someone could win a pass of up to $170 dollars value if they had a Zone 5, 30-day rolling pass and put that in there,” Dunne says.
According to Dunne, being environmentally friendly is one of Metro’s priorities, and doing what it can to improve the quality of life within our community is key.
“If you’re interested in the environment, if you want to improve the quality of life for your community, riding on Metro is going to provide that opportunity,” Dunne says. “There’s less pollution—it’s an opportunity for you to get out of the car—and a full bus can take up to 50 cars off the road, so that’s going to be a lot of pollution you’re going to save if you’re riding the bus.” 

Do Good:

•    Get the deals on the contest, and Drop It In To Win

•    Ride the Metro

•    Like Cincinnati Metro on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


21c Cincinnati to host international art competition's Pitch Night

Local individuals will have the unique opportunity to gain an advantage in the spotlight among international artists, as 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati will host ArtPrize’s Pitch Night next month.
The event is designed to give local artists a boost, while expanding the work of ArtPrize—a nonprofit venture and annual competition that takes place in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The goal of the competition is to bring more than 1,500 individuals together to expose and fund the work of emerging artists.
“In Cincinnati, there’s a wide range of talented artists working in all mediums—many of whom have been educated by the outstanding arts education institutions, and I feel certain there are a number of wonderful artists in Cincinnati who deserve to have broader exposure on a national stage,” says Alice Gray Stites, 21c’s chief curator and director of art programming.
Participation in ArtsPrize would afford local artists that opportunity, says Gray Stites, who wants to see all area artists submit proposals for Pitch Night, in which five chosen finalists will present their pitches to compete for a $5,000 grant to bring their ArtPrize idea to fruition and receive a guaranteed installment space within the competition’s 19-day, three-square-mile exhibition.
“ArtPrize shares our dedication to the art of today and especially that of emerging artists,” Gray Stites says. “So we hope all interested Cincinnati-based artists will participate, and we encourage the art community and public to come to the discussion.”
Do Good:

Contact ArtPrize for inquiries regarding the application process, and submit your proposal. 

• Attend Pitch Night Cincinnati May 22 at 21c. The event is free and open to the public. Visit the website for more details.

• Like ArtPrize on Facebook.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

NKU students use grafitti as vehicle to fund nonprofits

For students like Jason Hulett, community-building events are invaluable when it comes to presenting ideas, raising awareness, sparking conversations and making a difference in the lives of others.
GraffitiFest, which took place last week, constitutes one of those events, says Hulett, a Northern Kentucky University senior entrepreneurship major and GraffitiFest lead organizer.
“I just thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could have graffiti on campus? And then, wouldn’t it be cool if we could provide graffiti to people on campus? And if we’re going to hold an event, we might as well do it for a good cause,'” Hulett says.
So likeminded students from an event planning class came together to bring graffiti artists, local musicians, vendors, teams of entrepreneurship students and the general public together to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits who provide relief to others.
“We wanted to show graffiti in a positive light because it gets a bad rep with vandalism and all that. But if we were going to raise money, we wanted to do it for social good and not just personal gain,” Hulett says. “So it goes toward artists and nonprofits—no CEOs—the university makes no money off this. So that was important to us.”
Proceeds from the event, in which graffiti artists’ work from the day was auctioned off, totaled about $1,500 dollars, which will be split down the middle to benefit artists as well as charities.
“It was a celebration of an artform that we think is underutilized and underappreciated, and it created an opportunity for something different to shine in a light that’s more positive,” Hulett says. “Some of the causes of the nonprofit—especially Revive the Heart with human trafficking—people don’t want to hear about that. But if you present it in that kind of format, you get a better response because people are more willing to participate.” 

Do Good:

• Like GraffitiFest's Facebook page, as the students plan to make this at least an annual event. 

• Follow GraffitiFest on Twitter.

• Support local artists and nonprofits you're passionate about.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

Rooted communities at The Civic Garden Center

The Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati’s annual plant sale is just two weeks away.
It’s the nonprofit’s largest fundraising event and brings plant lovers of all kinds together to talk, shop and have all their gardening questions answered by other likeminded individuals—all while helping The Civic Garden Center raise enough money to fund one of its programs for an entire calendar year.
“That allows us to do our youth education programming, or it allows us to do community gardens for another year. It’s substantial,” says Vickie Ciotti, executive director. “If we did not have this fundraiser, we would have to eliminate one of our programs, so that’s like saying, 'You can’t keep all your children.' How would you decide?”

For Ciotti, the gardening, education and environmental programs all build camaraderie; and everyone involved—whether it's one of the 500 volunteers who assist the nonprofit, or the visitor who happens upon the unlikely refuge nestled within the city—feels welcome.
“You see people who you haven’t seen in a long time, and it’s the most enjoyable, relaxed fundraiser I’ve ever been a part of,” Ciotti says. “There’s just this spirit to the place—we see people as they are, meet people where they are—and it’s not a pretentious group of people at all.”

Do Good:

Register for the plant sale's preview party. 

• Attend the plant sale is May 3-4. View details here.

Volunteer with the Civic Garden Center.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


Local small biz owners launch app to increase charitable giving

When Daniel Graff, Giveunity co-founder, heard his friend’s—and now, business partner’s—story about how he tried to donate money to a homeless shelter, but couldn’t, he knew something needed to change.
“He had seen something downtown that triggered the idea of donating to this shelter,” Graff says.
“So by the time he got home and found the shelter on his laptop and he went to their little online website donation page, and it wouldn’t take some of his data, and he had to re-fill out the form, and as he tells it, the dog started barking, had to go out, and the wife came home—long story short—after an hour of trying to give them money and couldn’t, he just gave up.”
So Graff and his wife, designers and owners of Graff Designs Inc., and their two friends—both of MOBA Interactive—had dinner and put their heads together to come up with an idea for a smartphone app that allows individuals to donate to a local nonprofit in just three easy clicks.

With the Graffs' design skills and MOBA Interactive partners' technological expertise, the four were able to combine their knowledge to create and launch the app this past February. 

It's completely free for everyone to use, as the four app developers funded the project completely on their own, and within its first 50 days in the app store, it received 1,800 profile views. According to Graff, the top donation so far is $500 dollars, with the average contribution being about $38 dollars; and the money reaches the nonprofit instantly.

"What's been really fun for us is that we've had nonprofits showing up on the app that we didn't even know existed, and that's kind of the idea of the 'explore' section, but I've had my business now for 18 years and just wanted to do something to give back to Cincinnati," Graff says. "We don't always have the funds to donate to nonprofits, but we certainly have the time and talent to build this and give back."

Do Good:

Download the free app today.

• Like Giveunity's Facebook page, and tell your friends.

• If you're a nonprofit, register for free and create your profile and $GiveTag.

By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 


UC promotes inventiveness, innovation among students

University of Cincinnati associate professor Catalin Macarie says he wants the next innovation like Google or Facebook to come from a UC student.
In order to help make that happen, he took on a leadership role in rebranding the Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch, which he expanded from last year to create a university-wide opportunity, open to all majors.
“My ultimate goal, and this is pretty much my dream: to stop the brain drain that happened for so many years in Cincinnati,” Macarie says. “And get all these students the opportunity to stick around and continue with their ideas to have support, money and a place to help make this a solid, thriving community for young entrepreneurs, innovators and young startups.”
Macarie put this year’s event together, as 113 registered teams of students were given 90 seconds to present their pitches to judges and potential investors from within the local entrepreneurship community.
Cash prizes of up to $1,000 dollars were awarded for the top three ideas at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and a separate award was set aside for a social enterprise.
The money is intended to help kick-start a plan of action, and in the case of this year’s winners, it covers everything from innovations with footwear to pharmaceuticals. 
“It’s all about the spirit and getting the confidence,” Macarie says. “It’s about carrying out the name of UC. It’s not inert—it’s an active, dynamic position for UC to work with the entrepreneurship community, with innovation—it’s a nice synergy going forward where every side is really helping each other.”
Do Good:

• Keep up with the event website, and get involved in next year's competition. 

• Spread the word. 

Connect with Catalin Macarie if you're interested in sponsoring a student or learning about a project.
By Brittany York

Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a project manager for Charitable Words. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia. 

685 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts