#FCCincy Launches FC Cincinnati Foundation

FC Cincinnati has launched the FC Cincinnati Foundation, the team’s official 501(c)(3) non-profit arm.

CINCINNATI – As preparations for its inaugural Major League Soccer season in 2019 continue, FC Cincinnati has launched the FC Cincinnati Foundation, the team’s official 501(c)(3) non-profit arm.

The FC Cincinnati Foundation will support transformational change for Cincinnati-area children, impacting positive differences in children in underserved communities with programing that centers on character development, physical and mental well-being and community service.

The FC Cincinnati Foundation will use soccer as its driving catalyst by reinforcing character values and improved health and wellness for children who may not otherwise have access to such support. The Foundation will initially focus its community-based efforts in Cincinnati’s West End neighborhood before gradually spreading deeper into the Greater Cincinnati area.

“We passionately believe that advancing our greater community and improving the lives of those around us are two of the key responsibilities of every professional sports team,” Carl H. Lindner III, FC Cincinnati Managing Owner and CEO, said. “From the day FC Cincinnati was founded, being active and visible in the community has been a value we’ve preached and lived daily.

“The formation of the FC Cincinnati Foundation cements our commitment to the Cincinnati community at large, and specifically the West End. We’re very excited about the good we can do, both on our own and by galvanizing our larger community of fans and partners to better our beloved city,” Lindner said.

“We’re so pleased to launch the FC Cincinnati Foundation,” Jeff Berding, FC Cincinnati President and General Manager, said. “In our first three years, we made community engagement a priority. Now with the formation of our Foundation, we have set even higher standards and benchmarks to guide our community involvement. We’re so excited to see how our FC Cincinnati Foundation programming can benefit our city’s underserved children and help guide them on a path to better life outcomes.”

The FC Cincinnati Foundation will work in a coordinated effort with FCC’s community relations staff and will steer the club’s community-based outreach and programming.

Coupled with FCC’s on-going initiatives – such as mini-pitch installations, community service activities, the club ambassador program and West End youth soccer teams – FC Cincinnati will also augment its own charitable activities with league-wide MLS community programs through MLS WORKS, including Soccer for All inclusion programming, Kick Childhood Cancer, Greener Goals and the Community MVP program.

“We have aggressive goals for year one of the FC Cincinnati Foundation and we’re thrilled to have such amazing challenges ahead of us,” Kate Solomon, FC Cincinnati Vice President of Community Relations and Executive Director of the FC Cincinnati Foundation, said. “Cincinnati – and especially FC Cincinnati supporters – have proven to be key drivers in our community efforts. We wouldn’t be so confident in our ability to tackle such big goals without our fans’ and region’s support behind us.”

To augment its community work, the FC Cincinnati Foundation is planning major fundraising events quarterly in 2019. In addition to the tentpole events, the Foundation will be integrated in all areas of FCC’s game day experience for fans attending matches at Nippert Stadium. Outside donations and grants will also be pursued to further expand the Foundation’s resources.

The FC Cincinnati Foundation will be overseen by an outside Board of Directors, which will be named at a later date. Solomon will oversee the Foundation’s day-to-day activities.

For more information about the FC Cincinnati Foundation, visit fccincinnati.com/foundation.

The next time Cincinnati takes the field, it will be as MLS’ 24th team in 2019 when the club debuts in the top professional league in the U.S. and Canada. Season tickets for the 2019 season are now on sale at fccincinnati.com/tickets.

For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at fccincinnati.com, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. For more information about FC Cincinnati tickets – including 2019 season tickets – call 513-977-KICK (5425) or visit fccincinnati.com/tickets

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Anne C. Sesler

Director of Public Affairs

Anne Sesler brings more than twenty years’ experience in public affairs consulting to Government Strategies Group. Anne works with local elected officials, state legislators, reporters and community leaders on behalf of corporate and non-profit clients developing community outreach and engagement strategies, conducts media relations, builds grassroots support for projects, and conducts communication with stakeholders and legislators.

Anne lends her public policy and political communication experience beyond GSG to her role as Vice Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Over the years, she’s offered political counsel to both state and local campaigns, including Preschool Promise, Ohio Jobs and Growth (the casino ballot initiative), United for Jobs and Ohio’s Future (Third Frontier), and many others. Anne lives in Mt. Lookout with her husband, Bryan.

Focus areas: 

  • Local government relations
  • Coalition building
  • Media relations and communications
  • Crisis communications

Driven by:

  • Making Cincinnati a better place for all

In the community:

  • Leadership Cincinnati Class 47
  • Cincinnati Planning Commission member
  • Lunken Airport Oversight and Advisory Board Chair
  • Cincinnati Democratic Committee Co-Chair
  • Hamilton County Democratic Party, Vice Chair
  • Mt. Lookout Community Council member

Charles “Chip” Gerhardt

President & CEO

Chip Gerhardt has made government affairs, economic development, and issue advocacy his life’s work. He’s worked for decades in the public and private sectors, and advocated at the local, state, and federal levels of government. In 2007, he used that experience to found Government Strategies Group, a full-service government relations firm. At GSG, he works directly with clients, helping them navigate the complicated intersection of politics, public policy, and business.

In his many years in public policy, Chip has been involved in significant policies including; creation of tax increment financing districts, the Clean Ohio program, Cincinnati City Center Development Corporation, and most importantly, the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. He has also been at the forefront of some of the biggest developments in Greater Cincinnati, including the Horseshoe (now Hard Rock) Casino, TQL Stadium for FC Cincinnati, parking garage structures at The Banks, and the redevelopment of the @580 building. Rarely is there a public policy endeavor in Cincinnati that does not involve GSG.

Chip received his B.B.A in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law. He lives in Anderson Township with his wife Jane. Son Charlie is a local chef and children Hank and Anne have completed their education and started lives of their own.

Focus areas:

  • State and local government relations
  • Economic development
  • Issue advocacy

Driven by:

  • A lifelong interest in the political system has driven Chip to a career in public policy and politics. As a parent of three, one with Down syndrome, has compelled him to promote public policies designed to help others. Whether it is enabling financial independence for people with disabilities, advancing funding for housing families facing homelessness, or assisting with economic development projects, Chip involves himself in things that make a positive difference. 

In the community:

  • Hamilton County Board of Elections member
  • Current Board Member for Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, People Working Cooperatively, Corporation for Findlay Market, goVibrant, and the African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Former Chairman of the Board for the National Down Syndrome Society
  • Former board member of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, and the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati
  • Cincinnati Magazine’s 300 of the Region’s Most Powerful Business Leaders, 2021-2022
  • Cincy Magazine Power 100, 2011-2022