Economic Inclusion report highlights growing partnership with Lawn Life

This month, the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority released its economic inclusion results for contracted services in 2014. Based on approximately $8.3 million in contracts awarded and/or project cost at the end of 2014, the Port Authority spent 17 percent with minority owned businesses (MBE); 10 percent with women-owned businesses (WBE) and 30 percent with small business enterprises (SBE) . [Additional results are reported on economic development projects that have been assisted through Port Authority bond financing – see chart here.]

Two percent of the work this year was awarded to nonprofit organizations. One such growing partnership is with Lawn Life, a non-profit social enterprise which gives disconnected youth opportunity to gain skills and work experiences, while providing under-resourced communities with affordable landscaping and home repair services.

Lawn Life’s mission is simple: Give at-risk youth their first, real work experience. Through professional landscaping and construction projects, the employed youth gain a sense of pride and commitment, by often working in their own neighborhoods.

Lawn Life has been passionately involved with the Port Authority’s REACH (Rehab Across Cincinnati and Hamilton County) project  in Evanston since February of last year. Lawn Life has been responsible for the clean-out and/or maintenance of more than 30 homes in the Evanston community with 11 of the individual youth hired by Lawn Life having come directly from the Evanston community.

Since partnering with the Landbank on these rehab properties, Lawn Life has successfully employed 43 individuals at various jobsites. Of the individuals who completed the Lawn Life program, 19 secured full-time employment within 12 months and eight secured part-time positions and 4 remained employed with Lawn Life into 2015.

Lawn Life has successfully employed
 43 individuals who have worked on
various jobsites for the Landbank. 
At right, team members built
the retaining wall and set posts
for 3351 Woodburn Ave in Evanston.

 

Organizationally, Lawn Life has directly impacted over 500 at-risk youth since its inception. Many additional community-level goals have also shown measurable improvements such as: reduced recidivism rates, vacant lots transformed, and new leaders have emerged. Lawn Life has received great recognition for their work recently a Fast Pitch Social Venture Partners award recipient, and named 2014 Youth Advocate of the Year by Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board (SWORWIB).

For an impassioned explanation of what Lawn Life is, hear founder Tim Arnold’s winning Fast Pitch to Social Venture Partners.

 


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