New Winners of $100,000 Haile Fellowships

The two new beneficiaries plan to use their money to help school board members and encourage workplace gender equity

Mar 6, 2018 at 8:15 pm
click to enlarge Nicole Armstrong (left); Elissa Hoffman - PHOTO: Provided
PHOTO: Provided
Nicole Armstrong (left); Elissa Hoffman

The Haile Fellowship awards, given annually by the non-profit philanthropic laboratory People’s Liberty, are among the most highly sought-after project grants in Cincinnati. They provide $100,000 for two recipients to realize their proposed ideas that could change the community’s future.

 This year’s winners have just been announced. They are Elisa Hoffman, a former Cincinnati Public Schools board member and Teach for America worker; and Nicole Armstrong, who runs a family photography business with her husband.

 Hoffman’s idea is to create a program — the first in the nation, she says — to train people elected to school boards to be effective once they take office. With the grant, she intends to develop a “School Board School” that can be tested during the 2019 CPS election cycle. If it’s successful, she’d like to operate it regionally and nationally.

 Armstrong’s proposal, called “Queen City Certified: Equity at Work,” calls for her to design a gender equity certification process for local businesses and organizations. She sees it working along the lines of the LEED certification process for energy-efficient buildings, where builders/owners get points for the improvements they make.

 People’s Liberty, an initiative of the Carol Ann and Ralph V.  Haile Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, received 101 applications for this year’s two Haile Fellowships. A five-member volunteer community jury selected nine for interviews. The interview panel consisted of People’s Liberty and Haile Foundation staff members, as well as past and current Haile Fellows. The final decision was made by the Haile Foundation based on the jury's scores, recommendations and the interview performances. 

 The Fellowship program now is in its fourth year; these are the seventh and eighth grant recipients.