The Community Building Institute received a three-year, $300,000 grant from KnowledgeWorks Foundation, a two-year, $75,000 grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and from the Frances Ehrlich Wolf Fund in memory of Alfred Max Stern of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and a three-year, anonymous $45,000 grant through Greater Cincinnati Foundation.
The initiative helps plan up to 22 community learning centers through a comprehensive community visioning process that involves engaging the community and school stakeholders to discuss how the school can be designed to be central to the community.
Community learning centers are places designed for multipurpose use for people of all ages that are open to the community beyond the usual school hours. These schools collaborate with and use community resources that support student and community success.
“By helping create these community learning centers we will work to improve the learning environment for children, create a greater sense of community for families, and enliven the neighborhoods where people live,” says Chad P. Wick, president and CEO of KnowledgeWorks Foundation. “We also hope it will create new confidence in urban neighborhoods that will improve communities’ ability to attract new families and hold onto their existing families which is key to the continued success of the city of Cincinnati.”
The work is being fueled by the major transformation Cincinnati Public Schools is undergoing as a result of the implementation of the facilities master plan in partnership with the Ohio School Facilities Commission. Improvements to school buildings throughout the district are a great motivation to attract the community into a process that will change the way people conceive of public education.
Last year, the Community Building Institute led an initial round of engagement developing community learning centers through facilities improvement. The Institute completed this work in a set of defined schools through a grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, KnowledgeWorks Foundation and the Procter & Gamble Fund.
The Institute is also providing coaching and training for Parents for Public Schools of Cincinnati.