The Northside Community Fund (the Fund) is an endowed fund, on deposit at North Side Bank & Trust and professionally managed by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. It makes small grants to Northside nonprofits for improving the quality of life in the community.
Started in 2004, with funds from the Community Investment Partnership, the Fund has grown with individual gifts from Northsiders and friends of Northside. Local businesses have supported fundraising efforts, and the Northside-College Hill Kiwanis made generous gifts. Thanks to these donors, the Fund has achieved its original intent to raise enough money that annual dividends can fund the grant making process.
A local advisory committee makes all the funding decisions, and its members work and/or live in the neighborhood. They believe in the capacity of everyday citizens to improve the community through passion and service. All funded projects benefit the community at large.
Since 2004, the Fund has awarded 61 grants totaling more than $87,000. Here are some examples of funded programs:
Happen, Inc. is an award-winning non-profit arts organization that brings together children and adults through art. NCF funding helps Happen, Inc. provide outreach programs in Northside in partnership with other neighborhood organizations. In particular, NCF funding supports the annual “Lights, Camera, Learning in Action” program we provide every summer with the Whiz Kids Tutoring Group for disadvantaged youth at North Presbyterian Church. “Lights, Camera, Learning in Action” introduces kids to the collaborative process of creating their own short film. From script, to production, to red carpet premiere, kids take part in every aspect of creating the film, including making their own props, sets, and costumes. LCLiA culminates in a free film premiere event for the community at North Presbyterian Church. Download Video
Northside Farmers Market
A cornerstone of the neighborhood, the Northside Farmers Market brings local products to Northside and its surrounding communities year-round. It strives to make healthy local foods accessible to everyone, including a matching funds incentive program for low-income families. NCF funding enables the market to rent Hoffner Park as its location for the spring through fall seasons, ensuring its continued ability to operate.
Northside Porch Tour
Hosted by the Northside Community Council every other year since 1997, the Northside Porch Tour is a festival celebrating the streetscape of the community defined by its Victorian porches. An architectural narrator shares the history of the neighborhood as horse drawn carriages travel a defined tour route, which changes each time the event is held. Local music, grilled burgers and hot dogs, and beer add to the social element, making it a great place to meet other Northsiders. NCF funding covers the cost of the carriage rental fees for the Porch Tour.
Fourth of July Parade
An annual event with history going back to 1854, the Northside Fourth of July Parade is marked by the shared purpose of celebrating independence and bringing the Northside community together. Organizers work to involve as many Northside locals as possible in the event, under the premise that neighbors who get to know one another will work harder to make their community a better place to live.
The parade travels a one-mile route down Hamilton Avenue to Hoffner Park, where it kicks off the Northside Fourth of July Festival. NCF funding typically pays for the police detail, which is by far the most expensive part of sponsoring the parade.
Northside Rock n’ Roll Carnival
Held annually as part of 4th of July celebrations, the Northside Rock ‘N Roll Carnival is an extension of the festival that has been presented by the Northside Business Association since at least the early 80’s. During the event, Hoffner park is transformed into a beer garden with original music carnival and activities, all building towards a full-blown rock concert at night.
A cornerstone of community building in the greater Cincinnati area, the MoBo Bicycle Cooperative is a non-profit cooperative run by volunteers that is dedicated to making cycling both accessible and practical to everyone.
MOBO used NCF funding to sponsor a summer bicycle repair and ownership workshop for Northside youth. This involved taking donated and unusable bikes, working with neighborhood youth to repair them, and then giving the repaired bikes to participants. All daily participants in the workshop got a bike by the end.
Ludlow Avenue Viaduct Banners
The NCF has twice funded the full cost of the banners that hang along the Ludlow Avenue viaduct, including paying Visionaries and Voices to develop their designs.
Any future viaduct banner projects have been suspended due to faulty banner hardware that caused the last series of banners to prematurely degrade.
Churches Active In Northside (CAIN)
Churches Active In Northside (CAIN) has grown from humble beginnings to become a vital community resource. Started by Jewel Smith in the early 1970s at United Methodist Church in Northside, CAIN became a 501c3 and moved to its own home at 4230 Hamilton Avenue in 2000. It expanded its capacity with an addition to the building in 2002. CAIN services and resources are available primarily to residents of the 45223 ZIP Code, which includes neighborhoods in South Cumminsville, Mt. Airy, and Northside. Services include Crisis Assistance Ministry, Rainbow Choice Pantry, Financial Assistance, and Emergency Assistance. CAIN also operates four units of transitional housing for homeless women and children at Grace Place Catholic Worker Community in College Hill.
Every month approximately 400 heads of household request food or other assistance. The average number of visits per year is 4.24 per household. CAIN is funded by the City of Cincinnati, its thirteen member churches, foundation grants, and donations from businesses and individuals. CAIN is staffed by three permanent employees, several public service apprentices, and many volunteers.
CAIN has been named a “Member Agency of the Year” by the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks and ranked as a “Top-Rated Non-Profit” by Guidestar, Great Nonprofits, and Feeding America.