Champions of Change is a one-year leadership and design program. The program aims to bring together community leaders with diverse backgrounds, skills and perspectives who are driven to advance Black-Led ideas/ efforts that reduce poverty and promote wealth-building opportunities in the Black community.


Simply put, Champions will be in the driver seat to test a new way for United Way to invest in and support communities. With support and resources from United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) and Design Impact, Champions will design and run a process to provide grants and other supports to promising Black-Led ideas / organizations that reduce poverty and build wealth in the Black community. To do this, Champions will take part in a series of experiences where they will learn alongside grassroots leaders and other experts, build on knowledge and skills about grantmaking, and use their collective knowledge and networks to create an impactful new model.

2019 Champions of Change

Terri Hurdle Ron Jackson Retina Carter Reginald Harris Rashida Manuel Nicole Scott Marq Casey Kendra Davis Julius Jenkins Chris Macklin Edita Dolan-Mayo Jalisa Harris India Hicks Jeremy Smith Alexis Grimes Trotter




UWGC believes in creating a community where everyone has an opportunity to thrive. Poverty undermines that opportunity for more than 600,000 people in our region. While poverty is pervasive, African Americans/Black people experience poverty at higher rates than other racial groups (1 in 3 families); at the same time, we have seen an underinvestment in solutions and ideas that are led by African Americans/Black people and rooted in communities. If successful, the work of Champions of Change will support United Way and the broader community in:

  • Responding to a greater diversity of solutions and thought leadership into the work;
  • Gaining a better understanding of unique strengths, opportunities, and challenges;
  • Collaborating on strategies that work to decrease gaps in outcomes by race

For more details, read the 2018 Black-Led Social Change report.

What does it take to be a Champion?

We’re looking for people who:

  • Are looking to bring their whole selves to the work – experiences, skills, passions, etc.;
  • Bring their own perspective to the table, and can also respect and value others;
  • Are open to challenging themselves and their assumptions;
  • Believe that while change doesn’t happen overnight, there’s plenty we can do to build a better future today;
  • Are creative problem-solvers, and see opportunities where others might only see roadblocks; and
  • Want to get their hands dirty and don’t back down from tough issues.

We’re looking for Bridge BuildersProblem SolversCreativesDivergent ThinkersVisionariesDoersCollaborators.

We believe that Champions come from all walks of life, and represent diversity in age, gender, income, education level, life experiences, abilities, and more.


To learn more about Champions of Change and the Black-led Social Change work, contact Jena Bradley at 

or 513-762-7118