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Tamia Stinson's Tether connects local image-makers to each other and to opportunities for work so they can thrive—and stay—in Cincinnati. / Image: Damon Wilson // Published: 12.9.17

Here's How 11 Incredible Women Are Making A Difference In The Queen City

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise. As proof, consider how women make up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the United States, the highest percentage since 1996 according to the 2016 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity.

Or, for less dry evidence, look out your own window.

In the last few years, scores of Queen City women have spotted problems here and decided to do something about it. “Counting all of the grants we have given since we started in 2015, and the ones we already know we will give out in 2018, 56.5% have been or are women recipients,” says Aurore Fournier, program director at People’s Liberty, a philanthropic lab that grants money to civic-minded Cincinnatians.

This rise on both a local and global level is important for many reasons, most notably, you can’t be what you don’t see, which is important for women of all ages. “You don't have to aspire to be a CEO,” Fournier says. “If a woman wants to start something, then she should just do it. You don't need anyone's permission. Learn by doing.” And if you don’t know where to start, “there are a ton of women out there ready to support each other, and that's important,” she adds.

Ready to get inspired to knock out your own big idea? Read about the 11 women below who started an organization to combat some of the city’s more pressing needs, from lifting single mothers out of poverty to keeping the creative class where it belongs, in one of the nation’s most interesting cities—Cincinnati, of course.

(An asterisk * means the project is funded by People’s Liberty via one of the org’s many grants.)

Name: Tamia Stinson
Organization: Tether*
Year founded: 2017
What they do: Tether connects local image-makers to each other and to opportunities for work so we all can thrive—and stay—in Cincinnati.
Why Cincinnati needs this: Cincinnati has done a lot to attract the "creative class." We have a walkable downtown, a great food scene, interesting neighborhoods, and a streetcar. Now that people are here, Tether connects them to a supportive community and ensures they're able to earn a living with their craft.

Name: Megan Fischer
Organization: Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank
Year founded: 2015
What they do: Their mission is to eliminate the existence of diaper need in our community so that ALL babies have a chance to be healthy, happy, and safe.
Why Cincinnati needs this: Diapers aren't covered by food stamps or WIC, which leaves parents struggling to keep their children happy, healthy, and clean. Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank partners with established agencies to quickly get free diapers to families involved in ongoing case management throughout the Greater Cincinnati Area, where over 16,000 children don't have enough clean diapers each day.

Name: Amber Kelly
Organization: FamilyFlickn*
Year founded: 2017
What they do: FamilyFlickn is a mobile pop-up theatre providing families with a free opportunity to create lasting memories. All families are welcomed with music and a family photo from their professional photographer before they're provided with the necessary theatre must-haves: popcorn, snacks, and drinks. Then, off they go to enjoy family-friendly movies with other community members while riding around the Cincinnati area in luxury limousine-style party buses equipped with TVs.
Why Cincinnati needs this: In 2008, the Showcase Cinemas in Bond Hill closed its doors leaving families in Bond Hill and nearby neighborhoods without a theatre in a 10-mile radius. I have so many fond childhood memories at the theater as a Bond Hill native, and I wanted to create memories for other families. There is currently a lack of free community activities in the Bond Hill area and surrounding neighborhoods for community members to gather together. FamilyFlickn was created to offer families a free day out at the theatre. It is important for families to have free opportunities to engage with their fellow neighbors. FamilyFlickn is serving as that vehicle, and we will continue to bring communities together to create memorable moments.

Name: Lisa Andrews, owner of Sound Bites Nutrition and founder of People's Pantry Cincy
Organization: People's Pantry Cincy*
Year founded: 2017
What they do: The goal of People's Pantry Cincy is to identify 10 low-income/food desert communities and place artistically designed, mini food pantries (made from upcycled Enquirer boxes) in each one. Neighbors donate non-perishable food and toiletries to the pantries as a way to connect people in their community.
Why Cincinnati needs this: With poverty comes food insecurity, the inability to access nutritious food on a regular basis. The idea behind People’s Pantry Cincy is to reduce the stigma of applying and using food stamps, reduce hunger, and create a sense of community.

Name: Chelsie Walter
Organization: Women of Cincy
Year founded: 2017
What they do: Their goal is to open doors and minds by celebrating the inspiring women of this city and cultivating a community among them. They feature an incredible Cincinnati woman at every Monday. They also work to support and inspire their community through their "What Is A Woman?" podcast, monthly community events, local news coverage, and more.
Why Cincinnati needs this: As their first-ever Woman of Cincy, Hillary Copsey, put it: “The women of this city get things done.” Sometimes, people get bogged down in everyday life and forget to really see and appreciate the individuals who make Cincinnati as great as it is. Storytelling is eye-opening in so many ways; these stories are vehicles of inspiration, empathy, and new opportunity.

Name: Tracy Brumfield
Organization: RISE Newspaper (Re-enter Into Society Empowered)*
Year founded: 2017
What they do: RISE Newspaper not only provides valuable resource information to currently incarcerated citizens, but also empowers those citizens to publish their own stories, poetry, and artwork. They regularly stand outside the jail to hand out care packages, ask people what their immediate needs are, and help them re-enter the community more seamlessly.
Why Cincinnati needs this: An average of 80 people a day are released from the Hamilton County Justice Center. Still, all of the area’s jails are overcrowded, and recidivism rates are climbing, due largely to the opioid epidemic and the many barriers to treatment. The resources are out there, people just simply don’t know where to find them, and RISE is that connector. Their Act of Rising Up event on December 12 will display their progress thus far while assembling Right on Release care packages.

Name: Suzy DeYoung
Organization: La Soupe, Inc.
Year founded: 2014
What they do: La Soupe bridges the gap between food waste and hunger by rescuing otherwise wasted produce to create delicious and nutritious meals for food-insecure families.
Why Cincinnati needs this: Cincinnati is currently ranked fifth among cities with the highest childhood poverty rates. At the same time, 40% of all food is wasted. La Soupe is bridging the gap between food waste and food insecurity by rescuing over-ordered food from grocery stores, transforming it into nutritious meals, and sharing it with children and their families living in food insecurity.

Name: Nicole Lee
Organization: Warrior Moms*
Year founded: 2016
What they do: Warrior Moms helps single moms embrace a mindset for success that enables them to overcome the emotional paralysis that comes from living in poverty.
Why Cincinnati needs this: Of those households in poverty, most are headed by single mothers. Organizations that assist single mothers living in poverty have left out one crucial component: emotional stability. When momma is stressed, anxious, and depressed, her children are stressed, anxious, and depressed. Nicole is a single mother of three and has experienced the struggles and victories as a single mother. Her purpose is to share insight and tools on how to overcome these emotions.

Name: Brooke Harris
Organization: Play Library
Year founded: 2016
What they do: Play Library is like a regular library, except it lends toys instead of books! The goal is to connect families, friends, and communities through play.
Why Cincinnati needs this: Play Library (founded by Julia Fischer) has created a free space where everyone feels welcome. They're connecting people who otherwise wouldn't meet, creating an environment for parents to engage with their kids and educating on re-use, ALL THROUGH PLAY!

Name:Kathleen Cail
Organization:Access Cincinnati *
Year founded: 2016
What they do: Access Cincinnati provides objective information about the accessibility of bars, restaurants, and cafes in Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine for everyone — families, senior citizens, and individuals with mobility issues. Via its mobile website, anyone can search for accessible establishments that meet her/his needs. Visitors can fill out a short survey about the accessibility of a place, too. Access' website provides a map, directions, and Yelp reviews as well as the accessibility review. It currently has roughly 140 bars and restaurants reviewed, and it welcomes more surveys, especially in other neighborhoods.
Why Cincinnati needs this: Promoting venues that are accessible is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business too. The development in OTR and Downtown has changed the demographics of our city. We now have young families, empty nesters, and senior citizens living side-by-side with young professionals. If you talk to families with children, people with disabilities, and senior citizens in the greater Cincinnati area, they still feel their best choices for eating, drinking, shopping, and entertainment are out in the suburbs. They are willing to forego many outstanding bars/restaurants and cultural venues in the core rather than risk perceived issues with entries, space, parking, etc. Access Cincinnati hopes that by providing this information, more people will take advantage of what Cincinnati offers and that more venues will make sure that their businesses are accessible to everyone.

Name: Amy Goodwin
Organizations: CEO, The Johnson Foundation
Year founded: 2008
What they do: The Johnson Foundation is a private grantmaking organization that provides support to dozens of local nonprofit projects and initiatives.
Why Cincinnati needs this: Driven by the belief that an engaged community is the healthiest community, they focus their efforts on issues of equity, engagement, and inclusion. From free admission at the Contemporary Arts Center to investment in the BLINK light festival this past fall to co-founding People's Liberty, the foundation is dedicated to improving Cincinnati's urban core through innovative community development and citizen engagement projects.

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Now scroll back to the top and peruse the photo gallery of these wonder women.