Since the club’s launch in August 2015, FC Cincinnati have committed to three core values: a family-friendly team, a winning product and making an impact in the community.
While the winning and family atmosphere are created inside Nippert Stadium, the community outreach is seen daily throughout the city and Greater Cincinnati. To FCC, that’s just as important as any goal or cheer in The Bailey.
That’s why, despite being the youngest team in MLS, the Orange and Blue already have the largest community relations staff of any team in the league. The FC Cincinnati Foundation, which started in 2018, leads the charitable arm of the club and plans community events, fundraisers and partners with others for programs almost daily.
FCC might only play 34 games, but the FCC Foundation helps the team make a positive impact on the community 365 days a year.
“We believe a professional sports team has an obligation to lead, inspire and unite,” said team president Jeff Berding. “For our club, the foundation is the best, most effective way to do that.”
On Sunday night, the FC Cincinnati Foundation will host a fundraiser to highlight many of the programs, partnerships and events that have occurred this season. While it’s a night to reflect on what the Foundation has achieved, it’s also an opportunity to reiterate the what more can be done to make our community a better place to live, work and play.
Here are just some of the events the FCC community relations team and the Foundation oversaw in 2019:
- In March, the FCCF partnered with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and opened a mini pitch at the Lincoln Recreation Center in the West End. Another mini pitch opened in August at the Hartwell Rec Center. That one was donated by the U.S. Soccer Foundation.
- In April, the team joined MLS WORKS’ Greener Goals Week of Service and helped renovate homes in the West End with People Working Cooperatively, as well as clean up a playground with help from Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. Additionally, plastic bags were collected at matches to help prevent plastic from entering the Ohio River and other bodies of water to support the WAVE Foundation.
- Later in June, oversight of the popular “Learning Is Cool” program transitioned to FC Cincinnati and saw thousands of children with good grades visit the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
- With help from the Flying Pig Marathon, the FC Cincinnati Foundation presented the first-ever FCC3 race in Downtown.
- This month, the Orange and Blue are joining other MLS clubs for #KickChildhoodCancer. Against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night, the Cure Starts Now will be there to highlight awareness and support to stop childhood cancer.
These are just some of the events the FC Cincinnati Foundation and FCC community relations team helped organize and lead. This list doesn’t include the school ambassador programs, after-school programs and other events geared toward creating a better Cincinnati.
“It’s really exciting because it shows how much more we can do,” said Kate Solomon, the FC Cincinnati Foundation executive director and the team’s vice president of community relations. “If we’re able to accomplish all that we have in the first year when we really just wanted to set a solid base and make sure we have good programming, the fact we’ve been able to do so much and that people have been getting involved in the first year just shows how much this community can do together.”
The Foundation was created to bring transformational change to the area. If the last year has highlighted anything, it’s how much more work can be done.
“When you go to one of these events and you see the kids and how excited they are about it, it just shows exactly why we do everything that we do,” Solomon said. “Whether they’re playing for FC Cincinnati someday or working in Cincinnati or elsewhere, the skills that kids are learning through some of our programs can really impact their lives for the long term.”