The building which sits at 2400 Reading Road in Mount Auburn in Cincinnati, Ohio is much more than the place where United Way of Greater Cincinnati staff go to work on a daily basis. In fact, while United Way owns the building and its staff populates the 3rd and 4th floors, it is now just one of 10 local organizations inhabiting the building space at 2400 Reading Road, with all sharing a common goal – working together collectively to create a community where everyone has an opportunity to thrive.
With three organizations recently becoming new tenants in the second floor of the building, United Way’s Executive Team and Inclusiveness Council hosted a “Meet the Neighbors” event on Wednesday, September 13 to introduce the new “neighbors” to United Way and the other existing organizations in the building, and discuss how we can all work best together to improve our community.
“Not only do we share space in this building — but we also share the desire to do good. We share the belief that we must work together to create a community where everyone has an opportunity to thrive,” said Rob Reifsnyder, president, United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “We are so fortunate to have you as our neighbors — and we’re even more fortunate that you are our partners in this important, transformative work we’re doing together.”
We want to use this piece to not only shine a light on our new neighbors, but also highlight our existing neighbors and the amazing work all the organizations at 2400 Reading Road are doing day in and day out to improve our community!
The New Neighbors (2nd floor)
Easterseals Military & Veterans Services
Military & Veterans Services was launched in 2012 to convene organizations serving veterans in our region, with United Way serving as an original partner. While Easterseals in general is not a convening organization, its Military & Veterans Services rallies the community to create solutions, leverage existing resources and forge collaborations that ensure service members and their families have access to information, education, and meaningful employment to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
They offer service in the areas of emergency assistance, employment and education, and serve as a first resource for United Way 211 – when a veteran calls 211, they are directly connected to Easterseals.
"Easterseals is thrilled to co-locate its veteran services in the United Way building. It's essential to the veterans we serve that they can get what they need with a minimum of hassle and confusion, and we can better do this now that we're in the same building as our primary partners, The Tristate Veterans Community Alliance and United Way 211," said David Dreith, chief operating officer, Easterseals Greater Cincinnati.
Tristate Veterans Community Alliance
With approximately 2,000 regional organizations which contain veterans in their mission or purpose statements, Easterseals Military & Veteran Services made the initial recommendation that our community needed an independent, veteran-led organization to address which veteran services were and were not working, and where the gaps were.
In May of 2014, Easterseals and United Way were two of five local organizations convened to build the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance (TVCA), an independent, veteran-led nonprofit working to better align veteran support services across our community.
The TVCA acts as a bridge in our community between veterans and their families to all of the services that make the most sense for them to help the often difficult transition from military life to civilian life.
While the TVCA has been a partner with United Way since its creation, they did not know about all of the other organizations inside the walls of 2400 Reading Road.
“United Way has supported the TVCA since its inception in 2014. Specifically, we have worked closely with 211 and Partners for a Competitive Workforce, and supported UW’s annual campaign kickoffs at many companies,” said Dan Knowles, president and CEO, TVCA. “On moving to the United Way building, we were pleased to meet several organizations with which we could have mutually supportive relationships, like LISC and Mental Health America.”
More to come on those existing neighbors below!
Cincinnati Preschool Promise
Cincinnati Preschool Promise is a nonprofit organization, expanding access to quality preschools in Cincinnati, which is made possible thanks to a significant investment from taxpayers who approved a 5-year Cincinnati Public Schools levy in 2016. The levy includes $33 million a year to strengthen K-12 education and $15 million a year to expand access to quality preschool. United Way was selected as our community’s “trusted entity” to oversee the implementation of preschool expansion.
Cincinnati Preschool Promise is expanding access to quality preschool in Cincinnati in two ways: providing tuition assistance to local families who need it most, and providing quality improvement grants to ensure more local preschools are quality rated, which is defined by a 3, 4, or 5-star rating on Ohio’s Step Up to Quality rating system.
While many early Cincinnati Preschool Promise staffers have been working out of the building in United Way’s office for months, they now have their own dedicated space. In addition, Cincinnati Preschool Promise’s interim director is Stephine Byrd, who also serves as United Way’s senior vice president, early learning strategies.
Existing Neighbors (2nd floor)
LISC Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky equips communities with the capital, strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. Working with local leaders, LISC invests in housing, small businesses, education, and employment - all basic needs that must be tackled at once so that progress in one is not undermined by neglect in another.
LISC works to strengthen communities in Greater Cincinnati in the areas of: economic development, affordable housing, financial stability, community leadership, and place matters, where LISC serves as United Way’s community development partner to help transform the neighborhoods of Avondale, Covington, Madisonville, Newport, Price Hill, Walnut Hills and West End.
Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
The Visiting Nurse Association, one of United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s first partners, provides the highest quality home and community based health and support services to individuals promoting health, dignity, independence and self-sufficiency throughout the entire continuum of care, from a simple helping hand to sophisticated home nursing interventions.
They primarily serve in three areas: Personal Services, Home Health and Hospice Care. Personal services include things like bathing, grooming, and hygiene-related needs, or help around the house with housekeeping, errands or laundry – all little things to help people be independent at home. Home Health is more for patients who need a little extra care or are transitioning from the hospital and need things like physical or occupational therapy. VNA recently created their hospice care to help those patients nearing the end of life.
Existing Neighbors (1st floor)
FamiliesFORWARD, a charter United Way of Greater Cincinnati partner, is a neighborhood-based resource center for schools, students and their families, and the community. FamiliesFORWARD designs their programs and services with one question in mind: How can children benefit? Their goal is to make kids better citizens by helping them connect with their schools, families and the community.
Currently, their programs are in five Cincinnati Public Schools: Bond Hill Academy, Carson School, Hays-Porter School, Withrow University High School and Woodford Paideia. Their professional staff members help every child in the schools to build on his or her strengths and overcome challenges. They also encourage, support and teach parents to be the best that they can be as they help their children become better students and ambassadors for their neighborhoods.
FamiliesFOWARD serves approximately 2,800 students per year.
Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME)
HOME’s mission is to eliminate unlawful discrimination in housing in the Greater Cincinnati area. HOME advocates and enforces housing regulations for all protected classes and promotes stable, integrated communities.
HOME offers a variety of services to help eliminate illegal housing discrimination, prevent homelessness, and educate tenants and landlords about their fair housing rights and responsibilities. HOME’s services are free of charge, and include enforcement, tenant advocates, a mobility program and education and outreach courses.
Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky & Southwest Ohio
Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio is dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders, and achieving victory over mental illness through advocacy, education, research, and service.
Mental Health America provides mental health services that focus on the four major dimensions of “life recovery”: health, home, purpose and community – such as free counseling, peer support specialists, substance abuse wraparound and education for professionals.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati makes meaningful, matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in our Tri-State communities. They are committed to developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people, serving approximately 1,200 children throughout 11 counties in our region.
By participating in their programs, Little Brothers and Sisters are more confident in their schoolwork performance, able to get along better with their families, 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27% less likely to begin using alcohol, and 52% less likely to skip school