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Landor Cincinnati, Dress for Success show off fashion

Landor Cincinnati is more than a branding firm that produces client-driven work. It’s a creative community of individuals with a propensity to improve the Queen City. 

“It’s really just part of our culture to engage in our community in a really significant way,” says Steve McGowan, executive creative director at Landor. “Anyone in our building, any of our associates—if they have a concept, they’re free to bring it to us, and we almost 99.9 percent participate and help them make a difference in the community.” 

The company’s partnership with Dress for Success Cincinnati, a non-profit aimed at increasing women’s confidence by providing professional attire and job-readiness coaching, will celebrate four years together today at the organization’s annual fashion show at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom downtown.

“There’s something great about the Dress For Success partnership in that the power in branding is to make that human connection—that really authentic connection,” says McGowan, adding that everything DFS believes in was reflected in the design decisions and ultimate feel of the event—from centerpieces to invitations to the show. “There’s a synergistic relationship that happens when something like this comes together, so when we do find those relationships, we hold on to them yearly because we know we’re helping to empower women, and in the process, empowering our designers to make a change and make a difference. 

For Jessie Zettler, Landor’s associate design director, the fashion show is a particularly gratifying event, because DFS clients are able to walk the catwalk and share their personal success stories. 

“We really believe in the power of design and creativity—change the world for the better,” Zettler says. “And a lot of the efforts Landor is investing in are great examples of that. When you see all that hard work, the blood sweat and tears come to life, it’s so fulfilling for all of us.” 


By Brittany York

Bad Girl Ventures is named Outstanding Non-Profit, is Ohio's first Kiva Zip trustee

The SCORE Foundation recently honored Bad Girl Ventures as an Outstanding Non-Profit Organization for its work with entrepreneurs in starting their businesses. BGV works with SCORE mentors in its business education classes.
 
“BGV has been using SCORE mentors and services since 2010,” says Reka Barabas, director of BGV Cleveland. “We tap into their expertise and we match up our finalists with SCORE mentors.”
 
Additionally, BGV is now a Kiva Zip trustee, meaning it can recommend businesses for zero-interest loans for up to $10,000 through that organization. “Bad Girl Ventures is the first Kiva Zip trustee in Ohio,” says Barabas. “We have a two-pronged approach to helping female-owned businesses. We provide education, and if they have a strong business plan and are ready to go, they have access to capital. Having these partnerships really helps our mission.”
 
Two BGV Cleveland graduates already have been identified as candidates for the Kiva Zip loan. Anne Hartnett received a $5,000 BGV loan in 2012 for Harness Cycle, which is opening this fall in Ohio City. Paula Hershman, owner of Storehouse Tea Company, is one of the first Cleveland graduates of the BGV program and will use the Kiva Zip loan to expand her business. One more graduate will be endorsed this year.
 
BGV business education courses also offer the opportunity to receive a $25,000 low-interest loan. The application deadline for the fall session is September 1.
 

Source: Reka Barabas
Writer: Karin Connelly

Nonprofits unite for fundraising, partnership

This past weekend, community members and representatives from 25 local nonprofits came together to support the work of Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati’s member groups in the organization’s 10th annual Gourmet Grub for Good.
 
The amateur chef competition raises awareness and honors the work that member groups are doing to promote environmental, economic and social justice.
 
“There are folks providing services to those in need, but there are also organizers and advocates within those constituencies to make sure people have the right information about their civil and human rights—how they petition legislature if there’s a question about how policy would affect them,” says Jeniece Jones, chief executive officer of Community Shares. “If they’re educated through those agencies to take action, they can really do impactful things that change not only their lives but make the community better as a whole.”
 
Jones, who grew up in a “very forward-looking type of family,” has cared deeply about the community and the various causes that impact its growth ever since she and her husband moved to Cincinnati 20 years ago, she says.
 
“With our member groups, I knew I couldn’t work at all of them, but when I saw the list I just thought, ‘Wow, I’ll get to work where all these agencies involved,’” Jones says. “I really understood their missions, and anything I could do to help them grow or advance—that’s something I wanted to do.”
 
Through Community Shares, organizations that work on everything from women’s and LGBT issues to health care, affordable housing, animal welfare and prison reform—and the list goes on—are able to put unrestricted funds toward goals that would otherwise be more difficult to reach.
 
“A number of the organizations have funding from other sources with a specific focus, but we’re kind of the grease in the wheel that allows them to use money to bridge between one program or another to help with an unexpected expense, new partnership or pilot initiative without funding set up,” Jones says. “It’s smart to be in the partnership because it can help them advance or explore things that may or may not be otherwise accessible.”


By Brittany York

Community development organizations merge, unite efforts across Cleveland

Three prominent community development groups in Cleveland have merged, and staffers say the resulting alliance will help strengthen community revitalization efforts across the city, foster more unified advocacy, and allow for greater efficiency in citywide efforts.

Neighborhood Progress Inc. (NPI), a community development intermediary that provides grants and technical assistance to community development corporations (CDCs), has merged with Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition (CNDC) and LiveCleveland. CNDC is a trade association of CDCs; LiveCleveland helps to market city neighborhoods.

That might sound like a mouthful of acronyms to the average city resident, but Joel Ratner, President of NPI, says the collaboration really is about improving Cleveland's neighborhoods.

"We'll have a greater ability to coordinate the marketing of neighborhoods along with advocacy, capacity building and all the other things we've traditionally done," he says. "This is really about uniting the strands of community development across the city in a way that's integrated and strategic rather than separate."

For example, says Ratner, CDCs will be able to have a stronger voice in education reform and other efforts that affect the entire city, residents will see an increased marketing presence, and CDC employees will benefit from shared services like healthcare. It adds up to more effective efforts to improve all of Cleveland.

"Our mission is to foster communities of choice and opportunity throughout Cleveland," says Ratner, who acknowledges that NPI will still only have resources to provide core operating support to a subset of city neighborhoods. "There are lots of ways we can play a role in lifting up all CDCs and neighborhoods."

CNDC Director Colleen Gilson says that while the merger idea was far from popular among CDCs at first -- they feared losing their independence -- individual leaders saw the value in fostering a citywide community development network that provides more effective services to all neighborhoods, not just a select few.

The merger will be publicly rolled out in September, with NPI moving into its new offices in the Saint Luke's project at Shaker Boulevard and E. 116th by January.


Source: Joel Ratner
Writer: Lee Chilcote


Techie volunteers help 18 nonprofits at Give Camp 2013

The fourth annual Cleveland Give Camp was held this weekend on the LeanDog boat by Burke Lakefront Airport. From Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21, volunteers helped 18 chosen non-profits with their software and web-based application projects.
 
In addition to the developers, project managers, designers, creative professionals and other techies, Give Camp techie volunteers do everything from making sure everyone is well fed to cleaning up. “Each project team leader, project manager... Every single person who works on Give Camp is a volunteer,” explains spokesperson Amy Wong. “It’s a way for people with a unique set of skills to give back.”
 
But the people involved in Give Camp, many of which come back year after year, also have fun. Many pitch tents for the weekend, while others simply go without sleeping. The event is also a great techie networking opportunity.
 
“It’s fun, you get to spend the weekend on the lake with a great view,” says Wong. “You meet a lot of great people you never met before and hang with some really smart people. People get sucked in by the non-profits they work with.”
 
Some of the non-profits receiving help on their projects this year include the Free Clinic, LAND Studio, Malachi House and the May Dugan Center. In addition to LeanDog and Burke hosting the event, 12 additional companies sponsored Give Camp, including Arras Keathley, Explorys, JumpStart and Hyland Software.

“We’re really grateful to all of our sponsors,” says Wong. “They give us everything. They feed us breakfast, lunch and dinner and a special treat on Saturday night.”
 

Source: Amy Wong
Writer: Karin Connelly 


Talbert House and ESCC combine efforts to help Cincy nonprofits

After a combined 120 weeks of courses geared toward nonprofit leadership and development, Talbert House and Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati have decided to join forces and combine their programs into one. 

Beginning in September, the two nonprofits will begin the Executive Curriculum for Emerging Leaders through the newly created Nonprofit Leadership Institute of Greater Cincinnati. 

“I think the fact that we were two organizations in similar spaces in the marketplace trying to do similar things as it relates to leadership education and development—it got to a point of is there a way for us to really work together on this?” says Andy McCreanor, executive director and CEO of ESCC. 

The goal is to offer services to other nonprofits—large or small—so they can gain the skills and education necessary to position their organizations for community-wide success. 

“The true value of The Nonprofit Leadership Institute of Greater Cincinnati will be shown by how well nonprofits perform in the community, whether you’re a nonprofit, someone receiving services from a nonprofit, a community investor or a corporate partner looking for a socially responsible way to impact the lives of people,” McCreanor says. “The Institute offers great potential for participants and partners to receive a solid return on their time and investment.” 

McCreanor says the most enjoyable part for him is graduation. It's a day when he gets the chance to hear class participants talk about their growth and increased expertise when it comes to successfully operating their nonprofit. And come May 2014, he says he hopes to hear of many more success stories.

“The idea is that nonprofits would essentially see what we call a no-wrong-door approach to leadership education and development—that whether you’re a large or small nonprofit, that coming to the nonprofit leadership institute, you’d be able to find the subject matter, the program, the course that suits your needs,” McCreanor says. “Not all nonprofits are created equally, so the idea is that the institute would allow a nonprofit to find the program or development that is important to them.”


By Brittany York
 

Design "thinking" spurs change makers, helps nonprofits

Design isn't just about how something—like a mobile phone or a vacuum cleaner—looks, but how it works and how users receive and interact with it.

Creative design is most often applied in the consumer-marketing world in product development, including packaging and marketing. But a Cincinnati couple is taking design thinking into the nonprofit world through their own nonprofit, Design Impact.

The organization works with social change organizations to help address local and global social issues through creative design thinking. Design Impact has applied this concept to organizations both in Cincinnati and in rural India where the founders first began testing their ideas.

Design Impact was founded by husband-and-wife team Kate Hanisian and Ramsey Ford. Hanisian's background is in the nonprofit and education sectors, and Ford is a designer with extensive consumer product experience.

Design thinking can help nonprofits meet challenges by giving them a different way to solve, test and measure ideas, says Ford.

Key aspects of design thinking include:
  • Identifying opportunities to innovate 
  • Applying empathy and creativity to change problems into breakthroughs
  • Uncovering hidden insights and unarticulated needs from your customers
  • Quickly and inexpensively prototyping new ideas
  • Initiating design thinking in your business, organization or community
Design Impact is holding a two-day seminar for nonprofits that are interested in learning more about incorporating design thinking in their own problem solving challenges. Design Impact for Change Makers is Aug. 1 and 2, at the Kaleidoscope building in downtown Cincinnati.

Design Impact for Change Makers will be workshop-based and participants are being asked to bring a real challenge they'd like to solve or idea they'd like to explore. It could be anything from offering a new service to better engaging donors, Ford says.

"It's about idea generation, and staying in a creative state of mind so you don't always rely on the same old solutions," he says. "We'll be working through the entire creative process from discovery to creation and verification."

Event and registration details are available here, and the cost is $275 for both days.


By Feoshia H. Davis

Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber hosts design competition

In partnership with tech entrepreneur Tarek Kamil, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s
C-Change program is requesting proposals from designers from across the region to help craft an unforgettable brand experience for users of the newly launched website, Cerkl.

“This is an ideal opportunity to participate in a high-profile project for one of the largest non-profit organizations in the Greater Cincinnati region,” says Kamil, Cerkl’s creator. 

Launched in February, the website expedites serendipitous connections between talented individuals and local organizations that are working to improve Greater Cincinnati and the surrounding area. Its online platform serves as a catalyst for offline community engagement by empowering organizations and individuals to cut through the "noise" from existing networks to easily find organizations and opportunities to give back using time and talent.

Intuitive tools and search functions allow organizations to find the right people with specific skills - and help individuals leverage their unique talents and engage meaningfully with organizations they care about. Best of all, the site’s tools and platform are completely free. Cerkl is a gift to Cincinnati from Kamil, who while serving in his own community of Madeira saw the need for an online intervention to help non-profits make meaningful connections with their supporters.

But still in its infancy, the website is ready for its brand to be polished.

In step with Cerkl’s mission, Kamil and C-Change are looking to tap engaged design professionals who want to share their talents with their community in a meaningful way. 

“No other city has a higher caliber or concentration of branding and design talent than ours,” Kamil says. “We want to leverage those assets to bring Cerkl to its full potential. When we’re successful, Cincinnati will be home to the go-to tool created to empower non-profits, inspire individuals and improve communities.”

Designers participating in the request for proposals are asked to develop a refreshed visual look for the nonprofit, specifically a new brandmark and homepage redesign. Responses are due by June 21, and finalists will be notified in the beginning of July. 

The chosen designer or team will have the opportunity to establish a working relationship with one of the region’s most successful startup entrepreneurs. The involved parties will actively promote the contracting designer or firm through the website, social media, at events, marketing campaigns, etc. 

The winner of the competition will receive special recognition from C-Change and Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce, as well as a year’s subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud service or a $600 DCI (Downtown Cincinnati Inc.) Gift Card.

The digital version of the RFP and brand guidelines can be found here. To receive a copy of request for proposal, email your submissions or for questions, email virtual.submission@gmail.com by June 21.


Writer: Jenny Kessler

Benjamin Rose set to open 6,000 s/f training center in Cleveland

The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, a nationally-recognized research organization, service provider and policy advocate that works with older adults and caregivers, is set to open a new 6,000-square-foot administrative headquarters and training center.

"What's new about the facility is that we intend to broaden the scope of our training to a couple of new audiences," says CEO Richard Browdie of the building near downtown Cleveland. "There are many professions that interface with older people and their families on a routine basis but may or may not have any training available to them."

The building also provides Benjamin Rose with the first permanent home for its training programs. Traditionally, such programs had been conducted at off-site locations. Browdie finds it poetic that the organization is building its home in the Shaker-Buckeye neighborhood of Cleveland where they've been for many years.

"The board just really came back to the conclusion that, no matter what they did, they wanted to remain here in the city," he says. "We have replications of our evidence-based practices all over the country, but our home is in Cleveland."

The building cost about $7.5 million and the project cost $11.4 million. Funds came from the sale of another facility to Kindred Hospital, New Markets Tax Credits and other sources. Browdie says the facility will also be available for rent for retreats and other events hosted by nonprofits organizations with compatible missions. The hilltop location offers sweeping views of downtown Cleveland.


Source: Richard Browdie
Writer: Lee Chilcote

Cleveland-based non-profit announces plans for world's first passive-built theater

Near West Theatre's new home will be nothing if not active when it opens next year. It will be filled with youth and adults rehearsing for its signature brand of community theatre -- large ensemble productions that bring the arts to Cleveland residents of all ages.

And when its shows are running, it will draw up to 275 patrons per show into a new, state-of-the-art theatre that caps off a string of investments in the Gordon Square Arts District on the city's near-west side.

The building not only will be active -- it will be "passive" when it comes to energy consumption. It will boast a super-insulated, passive design common in Europe but still relatively new in the U.S. The 24,000-square-foot ultra-energy-efficient theatre will be the first of its kind in the U.S., featuring super-thick walls, an energy-efficient heat recovery ventilation system, and a 75,000-watt array of solar panels.

"It will be unlike other buildings in the neighborhood," says Hans Holznagel of the new Near West Theatre. "We hope people will see the sign and say, 'Wow, that metal building looks pretty cool. What's going on in there?'"

Local philanthropists Chuck and Char Fowler earmarked a special gift for the building's passive design, which is expected to save more than 35 percent in energy costs, or about $1.2 million over 50 years. That kind of savings appeals to long-term users.

"In a typical commercial building, 30 to 35 percent of the heat going into the building is just to offset air leakage," says Adam Cohen, a Virginia-based architect and passive house consultant who worked on the project. "There's more interest in passive design now, especially from end users who are going to own the buildings."

The project was far from simple. Most passive commercial buildings have fairly static loads, unlike a theatre whose use varies widely. On any given day there could be people working in offices or large casts rehearsing. Cohen helped NWT to develop a high-efficiency mechanical system that can handle such fluctuation.

Holznagel says the theatre will finally realize its dream of moving into a new home (with air conditioning, he says with glee) that offers the right amount of rehearsal, dressing room and backstage space, not to mention modern administrative offices.

"We'll feel very much at home in this energy-efficient building," he says.


Source: Hans Holznagel, Adam Cohen
Writer: Lee Chilcote

Five Cincinnati Uptown organizations receive awards for community commitment

Earlier this month, members of Cincinnati's 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., who overcame poverty and a difficult childhood, 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

Turn 50 buck donation into 5,000 with Global Cloud software

Cincinnati-based Global Cloud is changing the way nonprofits raise money by harnessing the power of social networking to turn a $50 donation into $5,000.
 
DonorDrive, the software as a service tool that Global Cloud launched more than three years ago, has become a competitive product in the world of nonprofit development, where tapping into new sources of funding is a driving necessity during a slow economy, said Global Cloud founder Todd Levy.
 
“We saw that it was underserved and that we could compete,” said Levy. “We see a huge market potential.”
 
Levy said DonorDrive takes current donors and turns them into developers by allowing an individual volunteer to set up an event, such as a walk-a-thon, and create a DonorDrive page that describes the event and is easily forwarded to social networking contacts who can then give online. All the money collected goes directly to the nonprofit, reducing costs by eliminating mailings and promotional expenses.
 
“This makes it possible to hone in on (social) networks and take a $50 donation and turn it into $5,000,” he said. “A single donor becomes a network of donors.”
 
Global Cloud began as a website design company in 1997. Levy and co-founder Paul Ghiz had many nonprofit clients and eventually began filling requests for custom software applications for them. One of those software programs was for online donations.
 
They began testing DonorDrive in 2008 and have since rolled it out to hundreds of clients throughout the United States and Canada.
 
Levy said DonorDrive has been experiencing triple digit growth in sales over the past two years. DonorDrive will go from roughly 50 percent of Global Cloud’s business to at least 90 percent, he said, adding he plans to expand his staff of 24 by about 20 percent to accommodate the growth.
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