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Cincinnati Child Poverty Collaborative leader steps down from full-time role

Karen Bankston will continue to consult
Cincinnati Child Poverty Collaborative leader steps down from full-time role
Posted at 7:41 PM, Aug 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-06 19:41:54-04

CINCINNATI -- Karen Bankston, the dynamic leader who grew up in poverty and used education to pull herself out of it, has stepped down from her role as executive director of the Child Poverty Collaborative.

A letter to Child Poverty Collaborative supporters said that "a recent personal health issue" gave Bankston the chance to think about "how best to serve the initiative."

"Karen is feeling better but decided to step down from a full-time role as Executive Director effective August 3, 2018," the letter stated. "Karen remains passionate about this work and transitioning to a consulting role allows Karen the personal and professional flexibility to continue serving on specific purposes of this work to ensure a smooth transition."

RELATED: She's shaking things up to reduce child poverty

The Child Poverty Collaborative formed in 2015 with a goal of helping 5,000 Cincinnati and Hamilton County families lift themselves and their 10,000 children out of poverty within five years. Bankston was named the effort's second executive director in October 2017. She took the reins from Lynn Marmer, a retired Kroger Co. executive who helped launch the collaborative's work as its first executive director.

Sister Sally Duffy, the interim Child Poverty Collaborative chair, and Ross Meyer, the chief impact officer for United Way of Greater Cincinnati, will oversee the day-to-day management of the collaborative for now. Bankston also will serve as a consultant as needed through December of this year, the letter said.

The Child Poverty Collaborative's co-chairs and steering committee will meet this month to decide how best to keep the initiative's work moving forward, according to the letter.

The collaborative's co-chairs are: Duffy; Michael Fisher, CEO of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Michael Johnson, the new CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati; Dr. O'dell Owens, CEO of Interact for Health; Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley; Donna Jones Baker, CEO of the Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio; Pastor Ennis Tait of Church of the Living God; Ellen Katz; CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation; and Tom Williams, CEO of North American Properties.

More information about the Child Poverty Collaborative is available online.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and problems that define our region -- to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to

To read more stories by Lucy, go to To reach her, email Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.