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Fifth Third Foundation Announces 2019 Strengthening Our Communities Fund Award Recipients

Posted on: December 18, 2019

Fifth Third Foundation Announces 2019 Strengthening Our Communities Fund Award Recipients
Five Greater Cincinnati organizations received $325K

CINCINNATI– The Fifth Third Foundation has announced its 2019 Strengthening Our Communities Fund grants for Greater Cincinnati. The awards, now in its third year, benefit local nonprofit programs that support affordable housing, small business development and financial stability for individuals and families.

The Strengthening Our Communities Fund is part of Fifth Third Bank’s Community Commitment, which will invest $32 billion in mortgage lending, small business lending, community development lending and philanthropy by 2020. At the end of 2019, $10.5 million will have been invested across Fifth Third’s footprint through the Strengthening Our Communities Fund.

“The Strengthening Our Communities grants demonstrate our focus to ensure a greater impact on initiatives that serve to create strong, vibrant communities,” said Heidi Jark, managing director, Fifth Third Foundation. “We are intentional about using our resources to strengthen pathways and opportunities that support the mission of many nonprofit organizations.”

Locally, Fifth Third awarded five Greater Cincinnati nonprofit organizations with grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,00 through the fund. “Fifth Third is committed to strengthening our communities and it takes engaged and strong partners to truly make a difference, like the organizations that are receiving the grants this year,” said Tim Elsbrock, regional president for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati. “Thanks to the dedication and resources of these vital nonprofits, Greater Cincinnati residents and businesses will greatly benefit.”

The 2019 Greater Cincinnati Strengthening Our Communities grant recipients are the Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky, Mortar Cincinnati, Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative, The Port and Talbert House.

Jeanne Schroer, president and chief executive officer of the Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky, said that her organization will use the SOC grant funds to support its financial investment and development services activities. “The services made possible because of the grant will ultimately create affordable housing for families who are 100% below the area median income.” She went on to say that she appreciated the partnership between Fifth Third and her organization. “Fifth Third has been an extraordinary partner to the Catalytic Fund. Fifth Third was an initial investor in our original investment fund and was major factor in achieving the capitalization goal that allowed the Catalytic Fund to be established. Since then, Fifth Third has provided important operating support to our organization as well as excellent feedback, guidance, and participation from its highly experienced representatives on our board and investment committee.”

The Homesteading and Urban Redevelopment Corporation, a managed entity of The Port, in partnership with the Seven Hills Neighborhood Houses, received $100,000 in SOC funding. Mike Smith, vice president of commercial development for the Port, explained that the SOC grant dollars will be used for a project which will acquire residential buildings in efforts to restore housing and spur local and minority entrepreneurism. “With the help of the Fifth Third Foundation’s SOC grant, we will be able to revitalize 15 residential units that will go from blighted and abandoned buildings to available housing to West End residents.” Deborah Robb, director of HURC and residential sales, explained that collaborating with businesses like Fifth Third is important. “Partnering with organizations like Fifth Third has critical because they’ve been able to provide gap funding so that we can continue to keep these proprieties affordable for residents who want to stay in the West End. We appreciate Fifth Third understanding the importance of our work.” Fifth Third invited nonprofit organizations across its regions to apply for the Strengthening Our Communities funding. Grant awards are for a one-year period. The maximum grants depend on the program and demonstrated need. Fifth Third awarded more than $5 million in SOC grants across its geographies in 2019.

About The Fifth Third Foundation Established in 1948, the Fifth Third Foundation was one of the first philanthropic foundations established by a financial institution. The Fifth Third Foundation supports worthwhile organizations in the areas of education, health and human services, community development and the arts. 

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