WCPO: Karen Bankston: New Child Poverty Collaborative leader takes her work personally

CINCINNATI -- Greater Cincinnati would be wise not to underestimate Karen Bankston. 

Bankston grew up in Youngstown, the oldest of four children raised by a single mom who had “nothing.” As a girl, her dark skin made her feel like an outsider, and she got pregnant in high school after seeking love in the wrong places.

But Bankston persevered, graduating from high school, then nursing school, then graduate school and then graduate school again.

She went from being a trauma nurse to a manager and moved to Cincinnati in 1990 with her husband, her son and her stepson for a job as the assistant administrator for patient services at what was then known as University of Cincinnati Hospital. She has held leadership positions at the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, the Drake Center and most recently at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Nursing during her nearly 30 years here.

Now she is taking on one of the region’s most complex challenges as executive director of the Child Poverty Collaborative. And Bankston, 62, said she’s ready to shake things up to get the job done.

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Launch of new One-to-One program starts the clock to reduce child poverty

The Child Poverty Collaborative on Tuesday, September 19th introduced the 28 local agencies that will start working with families immediately to reduce Cincinnati’s child poverty rate.

The group’s ambitious goal is to help 10,000 children and 5,000 families lift themselves out of poverty in the next five years. And with Tuesday’s launch of the One-to-One Learning Collaborative, the clock starts now, said Ross Meyer, vice president for community impact at United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

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Cincinnati.com: ‘It’s about community’: Leaders, workers and youth tackle poverty at local summit.

Attendees at the Child Poverty Collaborative’s Community Summit addressed a wide-range of issues, including inadequate transportation systems, lack of employment opportunities, limited access to child care, and recidivism. 

They also talked about the importance of family planning, a strong household structure, and an atmosphere of love, resilience and hope. “This is a collaborative effort, “said Courtis Fuller, an anchor on Channel 5 WLWT-T, and the event’s emcee. 

Read more at Cincinnati.com here.

WCPO: COLUMN: Child Poverty Collaborative’s community summit shows how many care about families in need.

More than 600 people gathered on June 25, 2016 for nearly four hours for the Child Poverty Collaborative’s first Community Summit.  "My interest is in finding out what I can do to help with the solution to ending childhood poverty," participant Myla Perry said. "This is a city of wealth. We shouldn't be a city of poverty."

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Cincinnati.com: Over 650 expected at child poverty summit

On June 25, 2016 over 600 people are expected at Xavier University’s Cintas Center for a community summit.  “We are going to have opportunities to learn, to share ideas and to critique,“ Lynn Marmer, executive director of the Child Poverty Collaborative, said.  “We want to build a clear picture of what poverty looks like in our city, the inner relationships that exist, what kind of barriers there are, and what our aspirations are for the future."

Read more at Cincinnati.com here.