CPS Charitable Grants
Grants help many nonprofits and community organizations pay for the important things they do, and Cincinnati Schools (CPS) is no exception. We use grant funding to make sure we can afford to offer our students, families, and staff the best educational environment possible. Here is just a sampling of some of the things grants allow us to do throughout the CPS district:
- Offer high-quality academic programs
- Purchase needed athletic equipment
- Ensure all students have access to computers and wifi needed to complete assignments and learn how to function in a digital world
- Offer opportunities for cultural enrichment that enhance academic performance and quality of life
- Make necessary improvements to our schools and facilities
- Offer the best nutrition possible in our cafeterias
- Strengthen the security of our school buildings
- Implement programs that encourage social-emotional learning
- Give our teachers and staff excellent training so they can help our children learn, grow, stay safe, and reach their full potential.
And so much more…
Our Grantors Help us Do Big Things
We know that students truly thrive only when all of their needs are taken care of - both in and out of school. One way we address this is to team up with grantmakers, who help us to go the extra mile for our kids and their families.
One of our most important allies is Neediest Kids of All (NKOA) of Cincinnati, which provided nearly $300,000 in grant funds in 2021-22 alone. NKOA is a local nonprofit that provides basic necessities for local children: hats, coats, shoes, clothing, eyeglasses, mental health support, and educational opportunities like field trips, camp experiences, and training programs. NKOA has helped provide these vital resources to our students for the past 70 years, enabling our district to take a 360° approach to supporting the whole child in and out of school rather than managing only academic pursuits.
Take a look at some of the amazing things we have accomplished together:
Providing More Than Just the Basics
NKOA provides crucial clothing items to students who would otherwise go without them, affecting their ability to get to school and function while there. Sometimes this means shoes to replace a pair that was several sizes too small or falling apart. Other times, it might mean undergarments or an appropriate winter coat to protect them in the colder months. For students who go to a school with a uniform requirement, it often means providing specific uniform clothing that families sometimes find too costly. As Dr. Jennifer Williams, Hughes STEM High School principal points out, "By providing the basics, NKOA greatly impacts school attendance, as well as attitudes toward learning."
NKOA provides $40,000 annually for CPS to purchase these items on behalf of our Title 1 schools. However, there are often CPS schools which have greater needs which the $40,000 grant award will not cover. Thankfully, Alison Cumby, NKOA’s Executive Director, led the charge to find a solution. Ms. Cumby suggested that NKOA provide an additional $10,000 to 10 of the most disadvantaged schools in the district, allowing each school to use the money as they saw fit to best help their students. The pilot effort was a huge success. As a result, NKOA has agreed to continue providing this money to 10-12 additional Title I CPS schools per school year through 2025-2026.
NKOA’s efforts (and Alison Cumby’s contributions in particular) are a large part of our success. They are able to put these amazing plans in motion by working directly with a true CPS superhero: Tracy Stillwell. Tracy is CPS’ Community Partnerships Specialist and Title I Family Engagement Coordinator. Tracy spends time in the schools and sees firsthand what students throughout the district really need and what they lack. Using the funding provided by NKOA, Tracy bargain shops to stretch the funds as far as possible because the funding must cover about 45 schools each year. Tracy has also set up a dedicated room at CPS’ Jacobs Center where some of these clothing items are stored and individual teachers can “shop” for their students.
Vision Centers Create a Brighter Vision for the Future
CPS Vision Centers are a part of CPS' School-Based Health Center program. CPS brings healthcare providers into the schools to offer students primary care visits, dental visits, and comprehensive vision exams. Vision Centers are currently located in CPS' Academy of World Languages and Oyler School. No one is denied services at these centers due to an inability to pay, so it is often one of the only places our students can receive vision exams and glasses.
NKOA is an important part of this work, too. They provide funding (most recently they provided $105,000 per year from 2018-2020) which covers funding for student vision-care visits. OneSight, another local nonprofit committed to providing vision care to local residents, joined the team by offering free eyeglasses to students without insurance.
Student visits to the Vision Centers have been lower in number recently, largely due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. A more representative glimpse of the program comes from the 2017-2018 school year when the Vision Centers provided comprehensive vision exams to 3,422 students, with 69% needing and receiving eyeglasses.
More Peace of Mind for our Students
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an ongoing mental health crisis for many of our nation’s youth. Although the need is deeper due to current events, mental health has always been a vital part of a student’s ability to feel supported and to succeed. To address this, NKOA linked up with MindPeace to fund services supporting mental health within CPS schools.
MindPeace is another local nonprofit that works together with other community organizations to provide mental health support for children and adolescents, with a focus on school-based services. MindPeace works with schools to identify the unique mental health needs of each school population and to select community allies to provide quality, affordable school-based therapy services for students in need. Through this collaboration, CPS schools are connected with trauma-informed mental health prevention, intervention and crisis support resources and programming.
MindPeace Rooms, or calming rooms, are a hallmark of their work. These rooms are an educational environment where students are equipped with de-escalation techniques and evidence-based strategies for self-regulating their bodies and brains before, when, and after BIG emotions get the best of them. It’s a safe space within a school where students can visit for brief intervals to get their emotional needs met, in order to return to the classroom with greater clarity and focus, ready to learn.
NKOA funds MindPeace services at several CPS schools, including:
- Carson School (PreK - 6th)
- Covedale School (K-6th)
- Frederick Douglass School (Prek-6th)
- Pleasant Ridge Montessori School (PreK-6th)
- Rising Stars at Vine (PreK)
- Rising Stars at Carthage (PreK)
- Silverton Elementary (PreK-6th)
- Western Hills University High School (7th-12th)
- CPS AMIS (PreK-6th)
- CPS Ethel Taylor (PreK-6th)
- CPS Hughes High School (7th-12th)
Thank You to the Neediest Kids of All for Making an Impact
CPS is incredibly grateful to NKOA for bringing these programs to life. Without their funding, ideas, and support, many of our CPS students would go without foundational services and items which allow them to access their full potential both in and out of school.
The Scripps Howard Foundation Supports Reading Skills through Arts Integrated Learning
CPS is a big believer that the arts enrich students' lives and give them new skill sets which enhance their academic abilities. Thankfully, the Scripps Howard Foundation agrees and has awarded a grant that will help strengthen reading skills for CPS 1st graders.
During the 2022-2023 school year, funds awarded to The Children’s Theatre by the Scripps Howard Foundation will allow CPS to link up with The Children's Theater to present the Page to Stage Literacy Program for first graders at several schools in the district. This program brings TCT teaching artists into the classrooms for 8 visits during an academic quarter. During these sessions, students engage in dramatic play and writing, gaining literacy skills that promote a stronger English and Language Arts foundation. This program is aligned with Ohio state standards and supports the CPS goal to have every student reading in 1st grade.
The Page to Stage Literacy Program increases overall fluency by:
- Helping students to write and perform a script based on a 1st grade reading level book promoting diversity
- Recite script lines with accurate pronunciation
- Use vocal inflection to show punctuation in the script
- Grow presentation skills by performing for family and peers
- Gain early exposure to theater (which research shows improves educational outcomes)
- CPS data show that upwards of 60% of first graders at participating schools may begin 1st grade "off track" to eventually meet 3rd grade requirements. Further, 99.6% of these students are economically disadvantaged. This means that most of these students have limited access to both arts and academic activities, which could positively impact their reading ability. Arts integrated learning experiences are a time-tested and research-supported path to strengthening learning skills and creative thinking.
TCT's Page to Stage Literacy Program is an exciting opportunity for our students to cement better reading and literacy skills while also gaining an appreciation for the arts, both of which will benefit them throughout their lives. CPS is grateful to have TCT right here in our community bringing creative experiences to our students to help them grow academically and personally. We are incredibly appreciative of the funding from the Scripps Howard Foundation which makes it all possible.