• Fri. Dec 2nd, 2022

By Andra Khafre Ward

The Duke Energy Foundation is providing a $25,000 grant to the Avondale Development Corporation to kick-start the creation of the Avondale Leadership Development Center of Excellence, an initiative designed to transform the physical landscape of Avondale while improving quality of life for its residents and training the next generation of neighborhood leaders.

The grant provides critical pre-development funding for a facility to house the Center, to be constructed on vacant land parcels donated by the Greater St. John AME Zion Church in the heart of Avondale. It will be a high- tech, multi-purpose education and training facility that serves as a centralized, neutral, community-based hub for local residents, youth and families who desire to develop the next generation of regional and national leaders. The project is scheduled to break ground in fall of 2022.

“This is an excellent example of the public and private sectors working in partnership with local community- based organizations and faith-based institutions to create more vibrant and sustainable communities,” said the Rev. Rami J. Pouncey, Pastor of Greater St. John AME Zion Church.

“This award celebrates the mission ADC works so tirelessly to bring to life: improving the quality of life for our residents,” said Avondale Development Corporation Executive Director Russell Hairston. “We are proud to partner with the Center of Excellence toward continued growth opportunities for the residents of Avondale.”

The KhafreWard Corporation, human resources firm, will be among the first participants in the Center. “We’re honored to be among the initial visionary leaders for the Center” said KhafreWard President and Chief Culture and Transformation Officer Andra R. Ward. “Our active partnership is a commitment to bringing best-in-class approaches to community engagement and leadership development to this community. As a lifelong resident who’s lived and worked in Avondale since 1971, we’re proud to share in a powerful vision for this community who’s transforming the residential, workforce and economic landscape at the heart of Cincinnati’s urban core.”

The Avondale Development Corporation was established in 2011 to help improve the quality of life for residents of Avondale, the largest African American neighborhood in Cincinnati. ADC addresses critical housing needs in Avondale through real estate development of rehabs and new construction. The non-profit agency also works with the area’s leading organizations to create jobs opportunities and advocacy for Avondale residents. Visit https://www.growavondale.org/ to learn more and donate.        The Avondale Leadership Development Center of Excellence is a high-tech multi-purposed education and training facility that serves as a centralized neutral community-based hub for local residents, youth and families who desire to develop the next generation of regional and national leaders from among its citizens. Visit https://aldcoe.org/ to learn more.