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OCDCA releases 2017 annual report

Group photo after the Friday morning Member Awards Breakfast at the 2017 OCDCA Annual Conference in Toledo, October 5-6.

The Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) is a statewide membership organization that fosters vibrant neighborhoods and improves the quality of life in all communities through advocacy and capacity building of our member agencies.

OCDCA has just released its 2017 Annual Report.

Special thanks to our members, partners, sponsors, and funders for supporting us through 2017.

You can read the annual report on our website. While there, you can subscribe to receive our newsletters to learn about these things first and consider a donation to strengthen the work of the OCDCA network.

We look forward to continuing our work with all partners, funders, and members. We had a great year and are looking forward to an even better 2018!




Approaching partnerships between health care institutions and community development organizations

Amanda Abrams for Shelterforce:

The shift has been unmistakable: health care organizations are increasingly focusing on upstream factors that affect their patients’ health. To some degree, that shift is the result of state and federal legislation, particularly the Affordable Care Act, which regulates nonprofit hospitals’ preventive care activities. But it’s also just common sense. Addressing patients’ big-picture realities—that is, the social determinants of health like housing, job creation, and food security—can have deep impacts on their day-to-day health and the interventions that are needed.

That new mindset has been a boon to many community development organizations, whose target populations—low-income groups—often tend to be frequent hospital users. The result has been a wide range of collaborations between community development groups and health care institutions that have sprung up around the country. In many cases, the partners have jointly determined that the community’s health problems could be mitigated through the provision of safe, healthy, affordable housing, often making housing development and rehab a front-and-center priority.

It’s a win-win situation: health care institutions save money as patients’ chronic conditions and repeat visits are reduced, while community development groups locate new sources of funding that can further their missions.

Read more in Shelterforce (and subscribe while you’re there!). You’ll hear about OCDCA members LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation.


Empowering Communities RFP now open

Ohio boasts a strong reputation for innovation combined with heart. The diverse nature of the state includes eight urban centers, sprawling Appalachian counties, countless suburban towns, and rural communities. As a result, Ohio serves as an economic, cultural, and political microcosm of the United States. That translates into being a hotbed of activity for test markets and pilots of all kinds.

Social issues and solutions are the key to economic growth and community stability. We are eager to leverage more than 200 outstanding Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) community development organizations to accelerate and implement next-generation social innovation.

Empowering Communities Grant Challenge

Ohio CDC Association and the CareSource Foundation are tackling this head-on by launching the Empowering Communities Grant Challenge.

The Empowering Communities Grant Challenge opportunity will provide funding for innovative solutions to unique community challenges that involve the social determinants of health. The process consists of three stages:

  • Request for Proposal (RFP) process
  • Concept Presentation including Q&A
  • Implementation Phase

Requesting organizations must be a nonprofit member in good standing of Ohio CDC Association, and applications are due by 4 PM EST on May 4, 2018.


First round of signatures filed to put payday lending reform initiative on November statewide ballot

“We are certain voters will support this if legislators don’t act on reform”

Pastor Carl Ruby and Nate Coffman explain the necessity for payday lending reform.

Leaders of an initiative to put payday lending reform on the November statewide ballot this morning turned in over 2,000 petition signatures to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. This is the first step to getting the measure on the ballot. Backers are pursuing this direction because state lawmakers have not acted on reform.

The petition language calls for a constitutional amendment that would cap payday loan interest rates in Ohio at 28%.

Nate Coffman, of Ohio CDC Association in Columbus, and Pastor Carl Ruby, of Springfield, are filing the petitions. At least 1,000 of the Ohio voter signatures must be validated and the Attorney General’s Office must determine that the summary of the proposed constitutional referendum is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed law.

The Attorney General must then certify the petition to the Secretary of State. At that point, Coffman, Ruby and other supporters can start collecting the 305,591 valid registered voter signatures that must be filed by July 4 in order to get the issue on the November ballot.

“These petitions, these signatures are proof that we mean business,’’ said Coffman. “It’s been nearly 12 months since a bi-partisan reform bill, House Bill 123, was introduced and the legislation has stalled ever since. It seems like they don’t care that every day this bill doesn’t move forward, it costs Ohioans an average of $200,000 in excessive borrowing costs, or about $75 million annually. That’s not acceptable. And that’s why we are pushing for a ballot issue.’’

Payday lenders charge an average 591% annual percentage rate in Ohio, the highest such rate in the nation. Pastor Ruby said that rate is ridiculous, and he is tired of seeing lenders gouge vulnerable, lower income working Ohioans.

It’s time for the voters of Ohio to have their say, because apparently many in the legislature are not willing or eager to advance

Pastor Carl Ruby and Nate Coffman submitting over 2,000 signatures to the Attorney General’s Office.

HB 123,’’ said Ruby. “With a few notable exceptions, they seem more interested in placating the special interest groups who are profiting from these loans, than in protecting the working class borrowers who are sinking deeper and deeper into debt.’’

The ballot initiative mirrors some of the reforms called for in the bi-partisan HB 123, which seeks to establish a maximum interest rate on such loans of 28% plus a maximum monthly fee of $20.

Coffman pointed out that in 2008, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted in favor of payday lending reforms. “Since then, payday lenders have by-passed the will of the people and state law and are charging even higher prices,’’ he said. “That’s unacceptable, and we are certain Ohio voters will agree if legislators themselves don’t move quickly on reform.’’

Members of Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform, a diverse statewide coalition of more than 100 individuals and organizations that support passage of HB 123, will be asked to support the ballot initiative.

Nick DiNardo, of Cincinnati, and Michal Marcus, of Cleveland, are joining Ruby and Coffman in the push for a November ballot vote. 


Place Matters gives residents tools to transform their communities

Hillary Copsey of Soapbox Cincinnati:

“Place Matters has spent the last decade giving residents the tools they need to transform their communities because they know the places we call home matter.

Place Matters tackles neighborhood health and safety through creative placemaking, often using art and events to bring people together. An example is Price Hill Will, the lead Place Matters agency in Price Hill on Cincinnati’s west side, which has successfully united its diverse families around MYCincinnati, a free youth orchestra program. The orchestra and its home, the Warsaw Avenue Firehouse, are the center of family life for every part of the community — new residents, the growing Hispanic community and longtime white and black residents. Some parents even have started learning instruments alongside their children, and other parents have formed clubs after meeting at MYCincinnati rehearsals and concerts.
“Price Hill does community engagement right,” says Tamara Thrasher, whose two children participate in MYCincinnati.

Whether through programs like MYCincinnati or community events like the Five Points Alley clean-up and mural painting in Walnut Hills, Place Matters initiatives have proven over the past 10 years that good things happen when you bring residents together to celebrate their community.

“It’s that one-on-one relationship,” says Walnut Hills resident Kathryne Gardette. “You see these people. You may not know what street they live on. You may not know all the details of their day. You may not even know their name. But you cross them in the neighborhood, and you can celebrate being neighbors.”

Place Matters also gives community leaders a chance to highlight positive aspects of their neighborhood. When a community needs improvement — if houses are vacant or crime is visible — residents tend toward complaints when they get together. Events and programs that take advantage of a neighborhood’s assets change that.

“It gives us the opportunity to have a different kind of conversation about Avondale,” says Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation board member Henry Brown.”

Read the whole story here.


Housing First coalition on pace to end Cuyahoga County long-term homelessness by 2020

Emily Bamforth of

Housing First is on track to end long-term homelessness in Cuyahoga County by 2020.

Housing First will complete its 13th housing project in 2019, bringing the number of units to 781. Since 2006, the organization reduced long-term homelessness in Cuyahoga County by 86 percent, from more than 800 homeless to less than 200, according to the agency’s data.

Long-term homelessness is defined as being homeless over a 12-month period or periods totaling 12 months over a three-year period. The organization works to create permanent housing and provide job, mental health, recovery and other support services.

It also puts a focus on helping people with disabilities or mental health problems, which can be a major factor in becoming homeless.

Homelessness will not completely disappear in the county. Long-term homelessness makes up 20 percent of the county’s homeless population, but they use 70 percent of emergency services in shelters, hospitals and the justice system, according to Housing First.

Housing First brings together a number of private and public organizations. FrontLine, a mental health center, provides counseling services and the Cleveland Housing Network Housing Partners is the lead developer for the housing projects. EDEN, a housing development organization, co-develops, owns and manages the apartment buildings.

Read the whole story here.


People Working Cooperatively “Ramp it Up for Veterans” WCPO telethon raises $50,000 for veterans

Last week, Cincinnati-OCDCA member People Working Cooperatively, in partnership with WCPO conducted a telethon to raise funds to aid disabled and low-income elderly veterans with critical home repairs. In a four hour time span, the telethon raised over $50,000.

“The impact will be huge for these hometown heroes who are waiting for emergency home repairs, home modifications and more.”

Get the whole story here.


CareSource Foundation makes significant contribution for social determinants of health

(Front, L to R) Emily Seibel, Judy Jackson, Cathy Ponitz, Jamar Doyle, (Back, L to R) Steve Torsell, Nate Coffman

On October 6th, Ohio CDC Association announced a major gift from and exciting new partnership with the CareSource Foundation for the new Empowering Communities initiative. 

Community development organizations need a mechanism to synthesize ideas and neighborhood feedback to develop innovative, homegrown solutions to their unique challenges. In doing so, they empower their communities. Community development organizations not only listen to their community, but work directly with their neighbors to respond to these pressing problems. Working collectively and inclusively to solve problems results in diverse and truly innovative solutions.

The Empowering Communities program will encourage groups to test and pilot innovative, community-driven solutions to some of their neighborhood’s most pressing problems. This inaugural cohort of the program will provide implementation grants to OCDCA members to test innovative solutions to pressing community challenges related to the social determinants of health. While testing their solution, they will receive technical assistance from OCDCA and undergo an outside evaluation.

We are so excited to work with the CareSource Foundation and see what projects will come from this work.

Since 2006, the CareSource Foundation has awarded almost 1,200 grants to nonprofits who are working to eliminate poverty, provide much-needed services to low-and moderate-income families, encourage healthy communities, develop innovative approaches to address critical health issues and enhance the lives of a diverse array of children, adults and families.

Empowering Communities will begin in the first part of 2018, and we are more than excited for our new relationship and partnership with the CareSource Foundation to bring this program to realization in Ohio. Thank you, CareSource Foundation! 


OCDCA receives significant gift from Bank of America for social enterprise

Ohio CDC Association is delighted to announce a significant gift from the Bank of America Foundation for the new Social Enterprise Incubation Program.

The Social Enterprise Incubation Program (SEIP) provides training and development for community development corporations (CDCs) interested in expanding into social enterprise activities. Social enterprises are entrepreneurial activities that provide social good while generating a profit. The SEIP is a four phase academy where CDCs complete rigorous social enterprise training and receive technical assistance from OCDCA. It culminates in a pitch competition where CDCs receive investment funds.

Phase One of the SEIP allows 30 CDC staff or board members (two from fifteen organizations) to attend an introduction workshop. Because initiating a social enterprise requires complete buy-in from the organization’s stakeholders as well as a considerable amount of time, planning, and resources, each participant completes an assessment to gauge their organization’s readiness. In Phase Two, twelve CDC staff or board members (two from six organizations) are sent to a three day social enterprise boot-camp. In Phase Three, three organizations receive technical assistance to help shape their enterprise idea. Phase Three culminates in a shark tank where the CDCs pitch to a room of investors. In Phase Four, one to two organizations receive startup capital and an OCDCA AmeriCorps VISTA to help implement their social enterprise.

The SEIP will begin in the first part of 2018, and we are more than excited to expand our relationship with Bank of America to bring this program to realization in Ohio. Thank you, Bank of America! We could not do this work without your support!



What’s happening? Microbusiness, budgets, & we’re hiring

A brief sample of our September 2017 newsletter: What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development?

OCDCA Receives Significant Gift from Fifth Third Bank for Microbusiness

OCDCA created the Ohio Microbusiness Recoverable Grant Fund to provide a sustainable pool of funding to the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program’s community development organizations, who can then use the funds to make loans to local microentrepreneurs in their community. We at Ohio CDC Association are  eager to announce that the OMBDP Recoverable Grant Fund received a significant gift from Fifth Third Bank. As this program gets rolling, we are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Fifth Third Bank to bolster Ohio microbusiness development programs and low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs throughout the state.

The Ohio Microbusiness Recoverable Grant Fund (RGF) is a statewide fund, from which OCDCA makes recoverable grants to sub-sites of OCDCA’s Microbusiness Development Grant Program, in order for the sub-site to then make loans to their low-to-moderate income microentrepreneur clients. Loan repayments are paid back to the subsite who repays OCDCA to replenish the grant fund, so that more grants for loans to microentrepreneurs can be made in the future.

Thank you, Fifth Third Bank!

2018 Ohio Micro
business Development Program Funding
OCDCA welcomes current, good standing members to apply for the Ohio Microbusiness Development Program. The maximum grant award is $40,000. Of this, up to 10% may be used for administrative expenses. The structure of the lending allocation for the microbusiness program has changed. The application is due by 4:00 pm on October 10, 2017. For questions, please contact David Foust at dfoust AT


Farewell, David!
After six years of dedication, October 25th is David Foust’s last day with the Ohio CDC Association. David joined the OCDCA in September 2011. His primary responsibilities included leading an industry marketing and branding initiative, overseeing the microbusiness development program, as well as new programming initiatives. Prior to this role, he served as the OCDCA Membership Manager where he assisted in coordinating membership activities, including training and technical assistance.

He won’t be out of our network though, as he joins member Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) working to revitalize Columbus’s Near East Side. David will be missed, but we wish him the best on the next stages of his career!

Read the whole newsletter or subscribe!