Philanthropy supports the Cincinnati Project at UC

Investments in programming advance social justice

You must help create the world you want to see. It's what Littisha Bates, PhD, lives by.

As associate dean for Inclusive Excellence and Community Partnerships in the UC College of Arts and Sciences, Bates is striving to create a space where all students can succeed – one that encourages connections with the local community.

“Perhaps the best example of this work is the college’s Cincinnati Project,” Bates says. “Through the research initiative, we partner with community organizations to help them carry out their missions and their visions.”

The goal is ultimately to translate academic work into action that improves people’s lives in Cincinnati.

“One of our proudest accomplishments is the work that we did on evictions in the city of Cincinnati,” Bates says.

woman wearing black t-shirt

Littisha Bates, PhD.

While pursuing her PhD in sociology at UC, Elaina Johns-Wolfe highlighted Cincinnati's high rate of evictions for a research project. Her findings prompted Cincinnati City Council to launch a $400,000 eviction-prevention program to help people who fall behind on their rent.

“It had an impact on how we think about and do evictions from a Cincinnati Council perspective,” Bates says of the Cincinnati Project effort.

Donors have helped make such work possible through investments in the programing and people that make it happen.

Two Cincinnati residents, Jeff and Jennifer Davis, made it happen in a big way. Inspired by Bates and the desire to advance social justice, the pair gave $1.5 million to UC, creating two endowed funds designed to support programs elevating inclusive excellence, equity, and anti-racism.

“Equity and inclusion, we know, creates better workforces and creates better organizations just from having diverse perspectives as part of the conversation,” Bates says. “And philanthropy helps make that possible.”

“I am so grateful for donors like Jeff and Jennifer for trusting us to carry forward this shared vision.”

Featured image at top: UC campus. Photo/Michael Keating for the UC Foundation.

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Caitlin Whitehurst

For the UC Foundation


Caitlin Whitehurst is a writer living in Columbus, Ohio. She earned her MBA from the Carl H. Lindner College of Business in 2019.