Cincy Chic: What is the Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati?
Holly Hankinson, Advocacy Director of the Women’s Fund of Greater Cincinnati Foundation: The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation leads our community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region and ignites a shared desire to improve it. We have more than two decades of deep involvement, understanding and building results, and stay at the forefront of the challenges and solutions affecting women and their families both locally and nationally. We believe, and research shows, that when you empower women, the entire community thrives.
Cincy Chic: Can you tell us about your new Appointed initiative?
Hankinson: Appointed, a non-partisan initiative, identifies opportunities for women to serve on civic boards and commissions, and empowers them to seek a seat at the table. We provide support and training opportunities, and are a resource available to connect elected officials to interested board candidates.
Cincy Chic: What inspired the initiative?
Hankinson: We were initially inspired to launch this program after hearing about a similar initiative by the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City. We knew there was nothing like it in Cincinnati, and when we researched the numbers we identified gender disparities across our region, as well. Appointed launched in May, and we’ve already received a lot of interest from women ready to serve!
Cincy Chic: How are you helping to help shape the community with the initiative?
Hankinson: We believe civic leadership should reflect the communities they serve. Women represent 51% of the population in the Cincinnati region but hold less than one-third of civic board seats, and 34% of our civic boards have no female representation at all. Across our region, women of color are even more deeply underrepresented.
We also know that female leaders make a difference. Diverse boards and groups use better governance practices and make better decisions. They also get results; research shows that corporate boards with more gender and racial diversity have better financial performance.
Our goal is to help build civic boards that reflect our diverse community, achieving better results for our region.
Cincy Chic: What makes Appointed such a unique initiative?
Hankinson: Although appointed boards exist in nearly all government jurisdictions, yet nationally there are very few programs aimed at increasing underrepresented voices or recruiting individuals to serve, and we are unique in our region. Appointed is unlike a formal leadership development program in that the level of involvement is up to the participant. We will share board opportunities that match her interests. We will also invite participants to trainings and events for networking and to deepen their knowledge. But attendance isn’t mandatory to receive our support and resources.
Cincy Chic: How can readers get involved?
Hankinson: To get involved, interested participants fill out a quick form, so we can capture their interests and relevant background information. Signing up only takes five minutes. That’s all it takes to raise your hand!
Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for the Women’s Fund?
Hankinson: The Women’s Fund recently released our Employer Toolkit, a first-of-its-kind toolkit filled with 30+ actionable policies and practices for employers that will benefit employees and their bottom line. Visit our website or follow us on Facebook for other upcoming events and updates!
Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Hankinson: Visit our website for more information, including FAQs, resources, direct links to local boards and commissions, and of course, to sign up!