01 Oct

Transform Cincinnati Successfully Stages Inaugural Marketplace Event

Six Finalists Present Bold, Game-Changing Ideas to Nearly 100 Potential Funders

Cincinnati, Ohio – October 1, 2015 Transform Cincinnati, a new initiative to connect bold ideas to improve Greater Cincinnati with people who have the potential to fund such ideas in our region, successfully staged its first-ever Transform Cincinnati Marketplace program September 30. The initiative was founded by well-known philanthropist and community leader Richard Rosenthal.

The Marketplace event was a chance for the six finalists to pitch their ideas to nearly 100 potential funders gathered at the People’s Liberty offices in Over-the-Rhine. The prospective funders also received information about 22 semi-finalists’ concepts ranging from marketing the arts to job development, poverty alleviation, food security and educational programming among others. The program was hosted by Mercantile Library CEO John Faherty.

“Transform Cincinnati has significantly exceeded our expectations,” said Rosenthal. “From the number of applications with big, bold ideas, to the outpouring of potential funders interested in learning about these ideas in one place, at one time, we could not have asked for more.”

“In the coming weeks, we will be working with potential funders and with finalists and semi-finalists to help facilitate connections with the goal of getting multiple programs funded,” Rosenthal added.

Transform Cincinnati connects individuals who have the financial capacity and motivation to effect dramatic change with not-for-profit and for-profit entities whose ideas can have a lasting effect on the quality of life in Greater Cincinnati. Transform Cincinnati itself does not provide funding, but creates a marketplace where potential investors and bold ideas from $1 million to $10 million can be matched.

Transform Cincinnati received more than 150 applications earlier this summer, which were reviewed to identify the 29 applications best fitting the organization’s criteria. The Transform Cincinnati review panel, comprised of a cross section of community leaders representing civic, not-for-profit, business and government organizations, then carefully reviewed the proposals and voted to advance six finalists.

About the Finalists

Six finalist organizations presented their ideas to funders and answered questions in a five-minute Q&A round. After presentations were concluded, finalists met with potential funders interested in learning more about their projects.

Finalists for the first Transform Cincinnati Marketplace, and their submitting organizations are:

  • Activate Ziegler Park!: The plan re-imagines Ziegler Park on Sycamore Street in Over-the-Rhine (OTR) as a true community recreational resource. By leveraging government and private funding, the existing park will be expanded and renovated into five acres of community civic space, including neighborhood green space, a new deep-water swimming pool, multi-use recreational field, children’s playground, public parking and more. The project is expected to spark improved housing, crime reduction, and retail/business development in the neighborhood. Applicant: Cincinnati Center City Development Corp (3CDC)
  • Cincinnati Neighborhood Equity Fund: Creates a Cincinnati Neighborhood Equity Fund of “patient capital” to accelerate jobs and redevelopment of urban communities outside of Over-the-Rhine, starting in Walnut Hills and then spreading to other neighborhoods. Walnut Hills has already seen initial redevelopment and it is believed new equity can jump-start high-risk neighborhood development and revitalization, much like it has in OTR. CDF will support the fund by advising on financing, investing its own capital and leveraging other funding sources to complement this investment. This project could involve philanthropy and loans or a combination of both. Applicant: Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF)
  • Venture Building Studio and OPA! Labs: Establishes a consumer health care venture studio (OPA! Labs) – a model already tried in other cities – dedicated to attracting the best health innovators and talent to the region to incubate, nurture and then commercialize ideas. The program builds on the region’s existing health care strength to further establish it as a national magnet for health care innovation and job creation. Applicant: Cintrifuse, in collaboration with The Health Collaborative
  • End Youth Homelessness in Cincinnati by 2020: Homelessness among youth frequently ends in suicide, substance abuse and other negative consequences. This project envisions no homeless youth in Cincinnati. The plan develops a multipurpose center near Lighthouse headquarters in Mt. Auburn offering housing and services appropriate to youths’ needs while they work through skill building and a support plan to transition to independent adulthood. It includes an emergency homeless youth shelter, new units of permanent supportive housing, and a range of services that focus on getting youth into housing and off the streets. Applicant: Lighthouse Youth Services
  • Precision Cancer Care: Revolutionizing Cancer Outcomes in Cincinnati: The project leverages breakthrough discoveries in genomics, drug discovery, informatics and biological model systems and brings them directly to patient care – which will help rank Cincinnati among national leaders in new and personalized advances in cancer care. It could catapult designation as a Center of Excellence by the National Cancer Institute, which brings jobs, prestige and patient care benefits. Breakthrough scientific discoveries made through the project are expected to be shared globally. Applicant: UC Health/UC Cancer Institute
  • A Down Payment on the Preschool Promise: This initiative creates the strategic foundation for the educational future of children through Cincinnati Preschool Promise (CPP). While still in development, CPP hopes to ensure every three- and four-year-old child in the region has access to two years of high-quality, affordable preschool regardless of income – something no other city has done. This project seeks to lay the groundwork, including credentialing of quality ratings for more preschool providers, so CPP can ramp-up its implementation immediately if voters approve a ballot initiative in November 2016. This is a potential game-changer for Cincinnati, a city in which more than 50 percent of children are born into families below the poverty level. Applicant: 4C for Children

Information about all of the finalist and semi-finalist programs also can be found at transformcincinnati.org/finalists. It is expected the Transform Cincinnati Marketplace program will be held again in 2016.

About Transform Cincinnati
Transform Cincinnati connects individuals who have the financial capacity and motivation to effect dramatic change with initiatives that will have a lasting impact on the quality of life in Cincinnati and the eight surrounding counties. Learn more at TransformCincinnati.org.