Philanthropic lab funds individuals directly, empowering them to build a better Cincinnati
People’s Liberty will only last five years. After that, its ambitions — creating a stronger, better Cincinnati — will persist only through the actions of the 105 individuals it funded and mentored. It’s kind of an experiment, which is why the company brands itself as a philanthropic lab.
Supported by the Haile U.S. Bank Foundation, People’s Liberty conducts its experiments at the Globe Building, located in the Cincinnati neighborhood Over-the-Rhine. One of its four programs, Globe Grants, gives three people a year keys to its storefront to create an interactive art installation. Another program, Mad Philanthropists, invites nine people a year to join the team at People’s Liberty to work on projects with an eye toward building out their portfolios. The 16 people awarded Project Grants each year receive $10,000 to implement community development projects. Another program, the Haile Fellowship, is kind of a mini-MacArthur. The fellowship provides $100,000 to two individuals with a big idea that could positively affect the community. Brad Copper is working on tiny homes, which he hopes will address affordable housing in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. MUSICLi, an online library of music from the Greater Cincinnati, wants to help musicians earn more money via music licensing.
Although People’s Liberty will only last five years, it hopes investing in its city will inspire other grant makers to embrace its models and invest in individuals working to make cities better.
Here are some interesting nuggets we learned speaking with Jake Hodesh, vice president of operations at People’s Liberty …
- The five-year period was designed, in part, to instill a sense of urgency to apply, or “to go and do now,” as Hodesh puts it.
- Over those five years, the expected investment will total $12–15 million.
- Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. owned a bank called People’s Liberty. U.S. Bank acquired it in the late 1980s. The bank was a source of the family’s wealth and seen as a fitting name for a foundation focused on funding individuals. The private family foundation‘s mission is to help change communities for the better.