Wilmington College Opens Doors to a Successful Future

Wilmington College President Jim Reynolds and Finance Fund President Diana Turoff

Wilmington College President Jim Reynolds and Finance Fund President Diana Turoff

“Thanks to Finance Fund for being willing to see the future with us,” said Wilmington College President Jim Reynolds to a maximum capacity crowd at the Wilmington College Sports Science Center opening celebration last weekend. He noted that this is the first new building on the campus in 50 years.

Finance Fund provided $10 million in federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing to attract private equity investment from Capital One into the project. It was such a pleasure joining the college and community leaders, funders and partners to celebrate and commemorate realization of a shared vision for this state-of-the-art facility. This all-inclusive complex stands at the intersection of medical, athletic, recreational and educational opportunity for the region.

  • It improves access to health care for southwestern Ohio residents and enhances the college’s nationally prominent athletic training program.
  • In addition, it will serve as an economic engine for the region that provides jobs for area residents, and attracts student-athletes and medical students seeking academic and medical skills training.

Large scale projects such as this are made possible through collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sectors in service to the public interest. These partnerships not only make funding available to move vital projects forward, but also enable partners to share risks, realize potential and generate returns on investment.

Oftentimes, community and economic transformation are made possible through innovative efforts from the private sector combined with responsive policies from governments and support from nonprofit organizations.

Together we can solve problems, capitalize on opportunities and leverage all the capabilities of diverse contributors to arrive at places such as this. 

The Wilmington College Sports Science Center is certainly something to be proud of. Its roots are deep in the Wilmington community and it will have a positive lasting impact on this region far beyond its walls.

Wilmington College Sports Science Center

Exercise RoomIMG_1415MRI Scanner


Mita’s Delights with Sophisticated Spanish Cuisine

Kelly Cook, Finance Fund Credit Officer

Kelly Cook, Finance Fund Credit Officer

The “Queen City” Cincinnati has a new gem in its crown of fine dining experiences that is adding luster to the revitalization of 5th and Race Streets.  Mita’s, a new Spanish and Latin American restaurant by the acclaimed chef Jose Salazar, opens this Thursday. 

The highly anticipated 135-seat restaurant was named in honor of Chef Salazar’s grandmother, Mita, and will offer traditional tapas, paella, pan con tomate, Iberico ham and other cured meats. Latin American dishes will include arepas, empanadas and ceviches served up in a formal, yet laid back vibe.

This is the second Cincinnati restaurant that Chef Salazar and his wife Ann have opened. Salazar, their tiny, contemporary American bistro in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, is packed nightly.

For the new restaurant, Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP) provided a $150,000 small business loan for working capital and equipment. The loan is guaranteed through the U.S. Small Business Association Community Advantage 7(a) program which helps mitigate the risks associated with the restaurant industry.

The Salazar family graciously invited me to their private preview event last weekend which gave me a taste of what Finance Fund’s support made possible. Upon entering the restaurant, I enjoyed the sophisticated Spanish ambience and knew I was going to enjoy an excellent dining experience.  The polished 11722221_1584256311839613_2512155949105426644_oand professional staff were very accommodating and attentive. Excellent service is a hallmark of a fine restaurant, and Mita’s most definitely delivered.  The wine and cocktail menu showcased some of the finest Spanish wines and a delightful custom Sangria. The tasting menu offered unique small plate Latin American inspired appetizers, chilled fruit soups, salads and main courses that were creative, beautiful and so delicious. 

I enjoyed a selection of three different cheeses or “quesos” that included a Spanish Blue Cheese, Mita’s own in-house cheese called the Drunken Goat, and a mild cow’s milk cheese served with fruit toast and mango fruit leather.  The combination of the different flavors was out of this world. From among the entrée selections of lamb, fish and prime beef, I chose a delicious seafood soup.  It was hearty with lobster, shrimp, calamari and squid. 

Mita’s will most definitely be a successful anchor and mecca for foodies in downtown Cincinnati for many years to come. I encourage all to enjoy this new restaurant experience. Without a doubt, you will be delighted.

Summer Camp Grows Skills in Healthier Living

Tara Campbell, Vice President of Lending

Tara Campbell, Vice President of Lending

Summer camp has always meant fun with friends, but an expanded summer camp program is helping elementary school-age children in a lower income east Columbus neighborhood also learn how to live healthier lives. Finance Fund provided A Colorful World Learning Center with a $5,450 healthy food grant to expand the summer camp’s focus to include health and wellness activities.

Funding for this major new initiative enhances the learning center’s current participation with the Ohio Department of Education and USDA food programs. The camp teaches children how to make healthy food selections and prepare creative healthy meals that are affordable and Camperscan be duplicated at home.

Campers also enjoy additional fruits, vegetables, and bottled water throughout the day. Expanded fitness activities include exercise instruction from a licensed physical trainer, and swimming lessons. Funds also enable the learning center to help break down cost and transportation barriers that prevent lower income families from leading a healthier lifestyle.

The area served is in a Federal Empowerment Zone where families have limited access to fresh food selections. Some of the participating children have a poor diet, are obese and lack proper exercise.

Camp leadership includes certified master trainers from Boss Fitness who provide a proven-effective mind and body youth training program. Campers learn the benefits of health and nutrition and participate in sports and various exercises. They also develop emotional fitness by learning about the importance of teamwork through team building activities and group aerobics. Many activities are aimed at increasing self-esteem while having fun.  Pool time at the YMCA ensures that Fitness Funchildren have access to swimming lessons and training. 

Providing seed funding for healthy food initiatives is a focus area for Finance Fund’s grant program and Finance Fund Capital Corporation’s (FCAP) small business loan program. If you have project that needs funding, please contact me at tcampbell@financefund.org.






Helping Human Resources to Thrive



Suzette Berry, Vice President, Human Resources

Suzette Berry, Vice President, Human Resources

Every year I look forward to attending the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference & Exposition. This conference allows me valuable time to reflect on best practices, expand my knowledge and network with other HR Professionals – gaining insights from their successful experiences and sharing a few of my own.

This year, the conference theme was “thrive” and the sessions were focused on helping us do exactly that – grow and develop very well in a beautiful place filled with exciting sessions and guest speakers.

Among the many takeaways:

  • It takes a seasoned and knowledgeable professionals to properly manage a Human Resources Department. To thrive, professionals must keep their skills sharpened by continuing to receive training and education.
  • As you interact with others, always seek to be fair, consistent and positive – and develop a thick skin to handle challenging personalities.
  • Confront conflict in the workplace. If it lingers it will affect employee morale and organizational success.
  • Prevent employee “weeds” from thriving in the workplace by keeping the culture respectful, positive and engaging. Weeds feed by crowding out others, bullying and negativity.
  • Use measurement tools to track everything you need to know about an organization – from employee engagement, to cash flow and client satisfaction.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, daytime Emmy Award-winning host of “The Dr. Oz Show”, was a keynote speaker. On his website, Dr. Oz offers several free programs that can be used in the workplace. He discussed “life adjustments” that can help people live mentally and physically healthier lives:

  • Achieve a blood pressure of 115/75. “You don’t want an average blood pressure of 130/80, because the average American develops heart disease.”
  • Exercise 30 minutes daily. Low to moderate exertion is OK. “Just get breathy.” Even 10 minutes of walking the stairs at work every other day is better than no activity at all.
  • Follow a healthy diet that’s easy to love.
  • Control stress and get adequate sleep because lack of sleep drives high blood pressure, cancer rates and obesity.
  • Focus on building muscle and reducing waist size instead of losing pounds.

These and many other insights will be helpful as I work with our Finance Fund staff to ensure a healthy, happy workplace.  Your comments and questions are always welcome at sberry@financefund.org.

Relationships Plant “Seeds for Growth”

Kimberly Scher, SVP Communications

Kimberly Scher, SVP Communications

“Making connections with funders is not about preserving your organization. It’s about two complementary missions coming together to achieve something more than they would have achieved alone.”

 ”Your organization’s goal, business strategy and message must be about solving a problem that the community believes it has.”

These and other comments (paraphrased) were shared at the recent “Seeds for Growth” community resource workshop sponsored by Huntington Bank. It’s always great to see what other nonprofits are doing in the community and get a refresher on the ways they build meaningful relationships in service to Ohio’s most vulnerable populations.

The workshop was held at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank and attracted a standing room only crowd of 250+ funders and nonprofit agency representatives. With wisdom, candor, passion and humor the panelists and moderators delivered first-hand insights about how to build successful and productive relationships with a wide range of stakeholders. Here are a few takeaways.

Relationship building from the agency perspective.

  • The funder’s perception of need must match your organization’s perception of need and what you offer to address it.
  • A key strategy for successfully telling your story is to get potential donors to visit your facility to see what you do. Engage them through volunteerism. Ask them to come out to paint a fence or talk with a resident. Start small and build the relationship over time. Volunteers contribute to your mission by their very presence.
  • You cannot expect to be successful by approaching a funder with, “See? We do good work. Now give us money.”
  • Ego cannot enter into relationship building with funders. It’s not about you. It’s about your organization’s mission. You must be honest, sincere, pure and passionate about what you do to connect with funders.
  • Not everyone will agree with you. Sometimes you have to acknowledge that your agency would not be a good partner with another agency or a good fit with a funder.

Relationship building from the funder perspective.

  • A corporation’s ability to thrive is inextricably linked to the health of their community.
  • Success revolves around relationships.
  • Funders want to know that their corporate philanthropy makes a difference – an improvement in the communities they serve.
  • Do your homework. Know the priorities of the funding organization before making an approach. But also know that giving priorities and opinions of what matters can change along with changes in Board members and corporate leadership.
  • Sometimes corporations donate to a cause outside of their stated funding priorities simply because someone influential asked for support.
  • As a funder, we always look at who is on the agency’s Board.
  • Board members are passionate and well-connected advocates. When an agency adds a corporate executive to their Board they get:
    • A smart person to help lead the organization
    • Personal philanthropy
    • A corporate gift
  • Don’t send unsolicited requests. Talk to the potential funder first. The better the relationship, the more difficult it is for the funder to say “no.”  Begin a process of dialogue and match the funder’s interests with your organization’s needs in a very compelling way. Then show the funder the success of past donations.
  • Funders must see demonstrated continuity and success/results that were made possible with their support.
  • Events are a great way for funders to receive recognition for their philanthropy and they appreciate the public acknowledgement.
  • Make certain that a major corporate funder is given the opportunity to be the lead giver or on a level comparable with other leading funders.

Many thanks to Huntington for providing this enlightening and inspiring workshop. You can reach me with comments at kscher@financefund.org

Rethinking What’s Possible


17136440609_cdb990fccc_zI’ve discovered that one of the great values of connecting to the Oxford University community is the almost indelible mark it leaves on your sensitivity of thought. Maybe it has something to do with the institution’s remarkable legacy or the academic environment or enormity of resources available, or some other ethereal element that connects so directly to the psyche that it changes perception.

For nearly 40 years, I have been figuring out ways to enable equal access to economic prosperity within social and cultural constructs, mainly in the United States but also in other places around the world.  Through observation and direct involvement in a wide range of economic systems and communities, my ideology and methodology have evolved to a fairly simple set of axioms.

  1. People are important.
  2. Circumstance limits people’s access to basic human needs; i.e. food, shelter, health, wellbeing.
  3. It is our responsibility to help each other regardless of who or where we or they may be.
  4. All sustainable change is local.

During the development of these truths, the answer to the question, “how can we help?” has shaken down into two widely accepted approaches – address the dysfunctional local systems, or address the symptoms that arise from those dysfunctional systems.

To me, changing systems seems to be the best long-term and sustainable approach to lasting social impact, and so I have dedicated my career to addressing that challenge. I considered myself a leader in the field of social impact investing and remained more interested in hearing ideas that increased the quantity, and not so much the quality, of my perceptions.

During my first visit to Oxford last year, my confidence in what I knew about social impact investing was fairly high. From a deep well of experience, I looked more for confirmation than reformation – to teach rather than to learn. I freely confess at this point that “I was wrong!” It didn’t take but 15 minutes into the first day when I began to hear things that challenged my basic perception of what was possible. That revelation was also evident to my cohort. This deepened our conversations, interactions, and total experience. I came away from the first encounter with a changed cognizance, capacity, countenance, and courage in what potentials, possibilities, and opportunities were available. 

Oxford University

Oxford University

After I returned from Oxford, time began to do its work and continued to expand my thinking. Additional discoveries burst into my consciousness as conversations continued with Oxford staff, faculty, coaches, and fellow cohort members. They not added to the initial experience but were still an integral part of it. The community and discussions continued throughout the year via conference calls that connected our global cohort across all time zones. Some participants arose at 3 a.m. local time to participate in our robust discussions. Together, we expanded on the opportunities, through thinking, testing, unlearning and learning and arrived at a shared perception of what’s possible on a global scale.

This then is the true value of the Oxford experience.  It goes well beyond the academics, legacy, and tradition of this esteemed institution. Oxford’s true value is in its ability to bring thinkers, learners, and leaders from around the globe together to enable new possibilities to emerge – possibilities that could change socioeconomic systems in every nation and improve the quality of life for people.  Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. You can reach me at jrklein@financefund.org.

Curators of the Creative

Finance Fund CEO James R. Klein

Finance Fund
CEO James R. Klein

England, and particularly Oxford, are really quite beautiful at this time of year. On the drive from Heathrow to Oxford, I followed the line and light of the passing scene in my eye and in my mind. I kept examining the physical and mental landscape of this last year and comparing the similarities and differences since I last passed this way.  

Even though the line and light weren’t dramatically altered, my mental perspective had changed. This was due to much time spent processing the insights gained and intents formulated through my participation in the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Program (OAMLP) last June and again this year. The individual and group process of discovery enabled me to see with new clarity and adopt a unique and revelatory new vision. Members of my Oxford cohort continued to share and interact with each other online after our formal time of meeting was concluded. This added to the vitality of the process of understanding.

I’ve always had the tendency to think and process in pictures. I don’t expect that this is unique, but for me this works as an expressive tool as well as a thinking process tool. The result of my remembrance yielded five drawings that I shared with the Egrove Park campus of the Oxford Said Business School. To my delight, the drawings were accepted for exhibition at the campus facility.

Gul-Franthe bearTeaEgrovepunting 1





I  was asked to lead a joint discussion with the 2014 and 2015 cohorts about the importance of creativity in leadership. The discussion centered around how leaders exhibit creativity in their leadership styles. It yielded many interesting results, for example:

  • “Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. The ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena and generate solutions.”
  • “Leadership creativity is making connections outside of what you already know. It is finding answers where there is no prior correct solution and thinking outside the box.”
  • “Creative leaders see things differently. They look in all directions at the same time. They see in four dimensions. They understand the value of all input and are able to interpret the environment and create new solutions. Just like an artist interprets reality.”
  • “Creativity lives in all of us.”

Leaders must be:

  • Curators of the Creative
  • Chancellors of Change
  • Malcontents of Mediocrity
  • Consummate Connectors

It was an exhilarating discussion and hopefully offered new perspectives for the participating learners.

Ohio Creates Healthy Food Initiative

Director of Development Valerie Heiby

Director of Development Valerie Heiby

We have good news to share. On Tuesday evening, Gov. John Kasich signed the FY 2016-17 operating budget that includes a $2 million provision of state seed capital to create a Healthy Food Financing Initiative.

This is a tremendous accomplishment made possible through Finance Fund’s work alongside The Food Trust and the statewide Healthy Food Financing Task Force to identify and quantify the need for increased access to healthy affordable food, frame public policy, rally a strong and diverse statewide coalition, and engage legislators to take action.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our efforts to bring healthy, affordable food to underserved communities throughout Ohio. If you represent a potential public or private funder of this Initiative, would you please contact me at 614.568.5055, vheiby@financefund.org.

An American at Oxford

Finance Fund CEO James R. Klein

Finance Fund CEO James R. Klein

It was my good fortune to attend the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Program (OAMLP) last June with 33 other individuals from around the world. The OAMLP is offered through the Said Business School and invites selected candidates each year to study and learn principles of management and leadership through an innovative and practical methodology. All of us practitioners are actively involved as business leaders primarily at the executive level. The experience was both insightful and impactful on my perspective on thinking and leadership.

In what appears to be somewhat of an anomaly, my “class” has kept in contact for the past year. Many members of the contingent of 2014 met back at Oxford’s Egrove Park in Kennington this June to compare notes and share our experiences in integrating some of the principles presented into our environments. We renewed relationships, reported on the where and what of our lives, and we thought together.

Maybe it was the place. Maybe it was the plan. Maybe it was the people. Whatever it was, we again came together quickly and picked up where we had left off.

Lalit Johri and Sue Dopson from Said Business School convened a pair of discussions that rekindled the passion of thought and purpose we experienced in 2014. The formal thinking time enabled a phenomenal view into the evolving face of leadership worldwide. My only complaint was that the time was too short. However, the formal time was not the only time we shared thought, experience, and inquiries about how we can be better leaders and how better leaders are the hope of the planet.

It is my intent to share some of the unique interactive experiences and foundational principles that are becoming the new leadership challenge.

Finance Fund Awarded $55 Million NMTC Allocation

Diana Turoff, Finance Fund President

Diana Turoff, Finance Fund President

Yesterday, we received the good news that Finance Fund was awarded $55 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation authority from the US Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. This is the ninth round of federal NMTC allocation Finance Fund has received, totaling $295 million since 2004.

The NMTC program enables Finance Fund to help create jobs and attract critical private investment in economically distressed and low-income communities throughout Ohio. CDFI FUnd LogoFinance Fund is Ohio’s only community development entity with a statewide service area. We are one of 76 allocatees across the country, including six in Ohio, that received tax credit allocation authority under the 2014 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program. 

Finance Fund plans to award NMTC allocation to nonprofit organizations, for profit operating businesses and real estate development covering a broad range of industries and services from healthy foods, community facilities, health and wellness, education and manufacturing. The NMTC program provides the incentive of a federal income tax credit to individuals or corporations that invest in CDEs, such as Finance Fund. The NMTC investor indirectly finances a project through the CDE.

This targeted and cost-efficient financing tool benefits businesses, communities and investors. It brings opportunity to areas in greatest need that might not otherwise have access to capital. Here are examples of NMTC projects made possible through Finance Fund’s use of the NMTC allocation.

Through the NMTC program, Finance Fund has leveraged $750 million on an investment of $228 million for 55 projects providing 384 housing units, creating 8,927 direct jobs, serving 536 children and providing services to 39,830 patients.  We congratulate the other allocatees and look forward to putting NMTC to work in Ohio.  As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or comments at dturoff@financefund.org

Contact Us

P: 614.221.1114 | 800.959.2333
E: info@financefund.org
A: Finance Fund
175 South Third Street, Suite 1200
Columbus, Ohio 43215

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