Recent News

April 09, 2014

United Way opens call for submissions for new social innovations partnership

United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) are now accepting submissions for organizations interested in creating, developing, testing and evaluating new approaches that support two-generational strategies – approaches that focus simultaneously on educational and financial stability opportunities for parents and children as a way to move families beyond poverty.

Submissions may be made by United Way partners, community organizations, collaboratives and local businesses. Submissions will be evaluated by representatives from United Way, GCF, and Design Impact.

Five partners will be selected to participate in a seven-month "design thinking" process that will identify opportunities and expand on potential solutions to move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security. Selected organizations will also receive an investment to support the testing of their solution. Technical support will be provided by Design Impact, a Cincinnati based public interest design firm.

"We hope to integrate this ‘innovation lab’ into our regular business practices as a way to conceive, cultivate and assess community solutions as we work toward our Bold Goals in education, income and health," says Ross Meyer, UWGC’s vice president of community impact. "This year, we’re asking ourselves, ‘How can we really get traction on two-generation strategies?’ Next year, we could test a new question. This is a whole new way in thinking about how we approach these issues."

Design Thinking enables practitioners to re-frame the contexts they are working in and apply new tools to understand their clients’ unarticulated needs. It is also encourages the creation and testing of new ideas through an iterative process.

"Design is regularly applied by business to deliver improved products and services for consumers. In this program, we've adapted the design process to the social sector, engaging organizations in the creative process of developing innovative solutions to poverty reduction," says Ramsey Ford, design director for Design Impact.

"GCF is very interested in seeing how the application of a common business practice of embedded design thinking can drive social change efforts in our community," says Shiloh Turner, GCF’s vice president for community investment. "We expect it will be a useful skill for nonprofits as they strive to meet their mission and serve the needs of their clients."

Photo provided by Design Impact