Recent News

October 04, 2017

Child Poverty Collaborative Selects Dr. Karen Bankston as Executive Director

The Child Poverty Collaborative (CPC), with major support from United Way of Greater Cincinnati, is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Karen Bankston, PhD, as the Executive Director of CPC.  She was selected by the CPC Co-Chairs and a search committee after a broad regional search.  

"Dr. Bankston brings a passion for equity and empowerment, and a wealth of experience leading community engagement in an inclusive, action-oriented way,” said Mrs. Donna Jones Baker, a CPC Co-Chair, co-leader of the search committee and the Executive Director and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio. 

Dr. Bankston, PhD, MSN, FACHE, currently is the Associate Dean for Clinical Practice, Partnership and Engagement at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing. A member of the leadership boards of many organizations, Dr. Bankston has been an active member of the CPC Steering Committee since its inception in 2016. She will retain her appointment to the University of Cincinnati faculty.  


"We are so excited to have Karen take the lead in this critical effort," said Ross Meyer, senior vice president, chief impact officer, United Way of Greater Cincinnati. "She brings tremendous passion, an outstanding track record of success, and a deep understanding of poverty based on lived experience.  Her leadership will be pivotal in driving our community to achieve the ambitious goal of moving 5,000 families and 10,000 children out of poverty."  

Tom Williams, CEO of North American Properties, a CPC Co-Chair and the co-leader of the search committee commented:  "Karen stood out among our outstanding field of candidates for her long-standing collaborative work on behalf of individuals and families living in poverty. Karen's life work has been founded on service to others, and building successful public and private partnerships,” said Mr. Williams. "Her collaborative approach will be important as CPC continues to engage the community and moves more into an operational phase of its work." 

"I am excited to lead this community effort at this time,” said Dr. Bankston. “I am blessed to work with a dynamic and diverse group of citizens and organizations — and especially directly with the families living the experience of poverty right now. Our mission, working alongside families, agencies, partners and the community, is to facilitate sustainable, meaningful change that will empower our fellow neighbors in ways that enable them to live their best lives." 

The CPC was founded in 2015 by a group of community leaders with the mission of taking on the community's high rate of childhood poverty. Its current co-chairs are: Mayor John Cranley, Michael Fisher, CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Tom Williams, Donna Jones Baker, Dr. O'Dell Owens, CEO of Interact for Health, and Sister Sally Duffy, Sisters of Charity.

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In addition to the involvement of the Co-Chairs in the search and selection process, a committee of 8 community leaders, including members from the CPC Steering Committee, were involved in the four-month search and selection process. 

"While we had many outstanding candidates,” said Ms. Baker. “Karen stood out for her personal experience with poverty, broad respect by many sectors of the community, and experience as a nurse, administrator, educator and researcher."  

Dr. Bankston will begin as CPC Executive Director (ED) in December 2017, taking over from Lynn Marmer, who has served as ED since the founding of the Child Poverty Collaborative.  

"Lynn led the CPC at a critical, formative time,” said Mr. Williams. “She enrolled the community, people with lived experience, business, faith based and agency leaders, and public officials in the community's commitment to end childhood poverty. With the ambitious goal of moving 10,000 children and 5,000 families out of poverty in five years, we needed the collaborative, skillful, strategic, compassionate leadership Lynn brought to CPC during the past 23 months. We are pleased she will remain involved with CPC as a Senior Advisor.”

Dr. Bankston and her husband John, 62, live in Amberly Village. 

Dave Hartiq of the Angus Group provided professional search services.

Funding for the Child Poverty Collaborative is provided by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, The United Way of Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Bell, Cincinnati Business Committee, City of Cincinnati, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Haile/US Bank Foundation, Interact for Health, Jewish Foundation, Carl & Martha Lindner, John & Francie Pepper, Procter and Gamble, PNC Bank, SC Ministry Foundation, Scripps Foundation, and Western & Southern.