A civic hub for launching citizen-led ideas in Cincinnati.


Project: People’s Liberty
Year: 2014–2019
Cincinnati, OH


People’s Liberty invests in people with bold ideas for greater cincinnati.

In 2013, leaders at the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation were asking three big questions:

  • How might we become more experimental with our grantmaking?

  • What could it look like to open a ground floor outpost in one of Cincinnati’s developing neighborhoods?

  • How do we invest in the next generation of leadership in Cincinnati?

To explore answers to these questions, we built People’s Liberty—an 8,000 sq.ft. civic hub—as a tool to discover if giving grants and project support directly to people could have the power to positively impact our city. Designed to be a 5-year experiment, People’s Liberty awarded grants to more than 100 individuals, employed more than 30 early-career creatives, and catalyzed an active network of civic doers. This bold philanthropic lab set a new precedent for people-focused philanthropy and has been lauded as an impactful model by foundations across the United States.

Partners: The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation
Team: Eric Avner, Jacob Hodesh, Aurore Fournier, and Hannah Gregory