2015 proved the power of philanthropy in NKY

When we donate money, we trust it will be put to good use. But few of us can imagine our dollars transforming a sawmill into a cutting-edge civic center, funding neighborhood tours for the visually impaired or launching a drug treatment program for teens.
These are just some of the developments unfolding in Northern Kentucky thanks to the generosity of area businesses, religious groups and individuals.
Much philanthropic support for the region comes via the Northern Kentucky Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF), an endowment established in 1998 as a permanent charitable resource for investment in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. Since then, donors have allowed GCF to invest nearly $11 million in NKY-based nonprofit organizations.
A highlight of the fund’s work is partnering with professional advisors and promoting the Endow Kentucky Tax Credit, a special tax incentive for state residents and companies who give to the Northern Kentucky Fund or other GCF endowments benefiting their favorite Kentucky-based nonprofit. The tax credit has helped GCF raise $2 million in permanent charitable assets for Northern Kentucky, with $500,000 raised in 2015 alone.
Iconic sawmill gets second life
“GCF exists to leverage donors’ generosity into solutions for our region and into creating a more vibrant, prosperous community,” said Northern Kentucky Fund Officer Laura Menge. “We found more opportunities to do just that in 2015.”
One such opportunity is the forthcoming Hellmann Creative Center, a 13,800-sq.-ft. renovation at the site of the former Hellman Lumber Mill in Covington. The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington (CGN) broke ground in September on the project, which will house the organization’s headquarters once it opens next summer.
Since 1976, CGN has been actively involved in Covington’s progress, promoting community building through creative programming, beautification and gardening projects and “nano grants” that empower citizens to affect hyper-local change.
“We’ve always used innovation to get people excited about arts and culture,” says CGN Executive Director Tom DiBello. “In the last year, we’ve been able to focus on what we’re calling ‘creative place-making,’ the intersection between community development and arts.
“We’re not simply trying to attract artists to Covington. Instead, we rely on the assumption that every resident has something to offer creatively — an idea, talent or gift — and we’re encouraging them to connect with that creativity and share it in their neighborhoods.”
Children’s Home helps families face modern-day challenges

In another part of Northern Kentucky, a widely respected provider of youth and family services echoes the importance of area donor support in its ongoing efforts.
“There’s a reason not many people want to get involved in this business,” says Rick Wurth, CEO of the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky. “It’s hard to break even if you’re providing excellent care. For 134 years, we’ve focused on providing excellent care for Northern Kentucky’s abused, neglected and at-risk kids, and we’ve done so without one single state or federal dollar. Instead, we rely on the generous Northern Kentuckians who join us in this effort.”
Wurth points out that, in the wake of mass shootings and other national tragedies, the impetus for providing at-risk youth with the early care they need is greater than ever. To that end, 2015 donor support — 95 percent of which was funneled directly into services — enabled the organization to:

• Launch the region’s first and only residential substance-use disorder treatment program;
• Open a Deaconess Health Check Center in Covington to provide school-based behavioral care and substance-use disorder services; and
• Increase what Wurth refers to as the home’s HR capital by staffing trained RNs, LPNs, pediatricians and a chief medical officer to simultaneously tackle disorders that are mental and behavioral as well as physical.
In these endeavors and dozens more, the Northern Kentucky Fund supports GCF’s partnership with Skyward and its overarching vision for Northern Kentucky improvement in four main areas: education, health, jobs and vibrancy.
“Our investment in Skyward allows change to happen more quickly because of shared outcomes and goals,” Menge says.
“The actualization of the myNKY plan counts on the contributions of the entire community,” says Skyward Vice President Kristine Frech. “Those contributions will come in a variety of forms including time, talent and philanthropic resources. As Skyward works to align our region’s assets toward a strong vision for our future, we rely on the generosity of our community to help bring that vision to a reality.”
Get involved
Below is a list of NKY-based nonprofits that The Greater Cincinnati Foundation has supported in the last three years. Click the links to read more about recent and ongoing initiatives that target health issues, youth services, financial assistance and community development, or to contact organization representatives.
Brighton Properties
Subsidiary of Brighton Center Inc. dedicated to providing family-strengthening services that include affordable housing, property/facilities management and community development.
CASA for Kids of Kenton and Campbell County
Network of 951 community-based programs designed to recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities.
The Catalytic Fund
Launched in 2007 with the commitment of helping finance as much as $100 million in developments in Covington, Newport, Ludlow, Bellevue and Dayton.
Center for Great Neighborhoods
Celebrating 40 years of enriching the lives of Covington’s residents through a series of programs and initiatives targeting health, housing, youth, financial education and community development.
Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky
Originally founded in 1882 as a home for orphaned children, it now serves 8,000 of Northern Kentucky’s abused, at-risk and neglected children and their families.
Covington Partners
Creates safe and engaging environments for students and families to learn and grow, thereby eliminating boundaries to learning and success and keeping the community moving forward.
Faith Community Pharmacy
Provides medication and pharmaceutical care to low-income Northern Kentuckians without regard to race, creed or national origin.
Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative
Implements initiatives related to early childhood and supports change through the promotion of community funds.
Life Learning Center
Delivers holistic, integrated continuum of learning and care to help at-risk citizens reach their highest potential through education, shared experiences and access to life-improvement tools.
Northern Kentucky Area Development District
Educates and empowers communities by implementing quality services through specific areas of expertise in aging, community development, human services and workforce development.
Collaborative five-year foundation for long-term regional change that targets four attributes of healthy communities: prepared children, healthy citizens, strong businesses and connected neighborhoods.
The Point Arc of Northern Kentucky
Relies on a unique, fully integrated approach and inclusive community programming to serve those with special needs.
Transitions, Inc.
Provides life-saving treatment to help individuals, families and communities to break the cycles of substance abuse, family abuse, violence, crime and poverty.
Covington-based nationally recognized accelerator program supports 10 or more startups per year with up to $50,000 in funding.
Welcome House of Northern Kentucky
Provides coordination and consultation services to help NKY residents achieve housing stability.