Cincy Card Connection Generates Nearly $650,000 For Local Economy

Posted on May 26, 2020 by sujvary

Gift Card Matching Program Provides Boost to 280 Downtown Businesses

CINCINNATI (May 26, 2020) – Through two rounds, the Cincy Card Connection gift card matching program created by Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), P&G and Empower has raised nearly $650,000 for Downtown businesses. Following a $250,000 first round, the program raised close to $400,000 in Round 2. The success of the program has initiated a ripple effect of economic stimulus beyond Cincinnati – inspiring multiple cities to adopt a similar give-back model.

The program’s second round focused on retail and personal service businesses after 90% of gift card purchases in Round 1 went to full-service bars and restaurants. Additionally, 100% of the matching gift cards in Round 2 are being purchased from minority- and women-owned businesses.

For Round 2, gift cards purchased from retailers were matched at 100%, while those bought from full-service bars and restaurants were matched at 50%. The change in approach helped spread the benefits of the program – roughly 66% of purchases were made from retailers and service providers – while still helping all types of businesses.

“Since the start of the gift card matching program, we’ve sold more gift certificates than we did over the entire year of 2019,” said Carolyn Deininger, who owns both MiCA 12/V and Paper Wings on Vine Street with her husband, Mike Deininger. “This was a real boost as we struggled through the quarantine closure. Our online sales were also jump-started, in part, as a direct result of customers having gift cards they purchased from us – cards they might not have purchased without the added incentive of the matching program.”

A total of 14 organizations contributed to the Round 2 matching fund – Main Street Ventures, The Haile Foundation, Urban Sites, P&G’s Hispanic Affinity Group, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, The Dianne and J. David Rosenberg Fund, P&G’s Asian Pacific American Affinity Group and P&G’s Supplier Diversity Group, The Kroger Company, St Xavier Park Residents, Jostin Construction, TriVersity Construction, Battle Axe Construction, and The Painting Contractor.

“The support of this program – both from those buying gift cards to local businesses and the funders – has been truly remarkable,” Steve Leeper, President and CEO of 3CDC, said. “These small businesses are the fabric of Downtown Cincinnati and we need to do everything in our power to ensure they not only survive but thrive moving forward.”

The program has become a model for cities throughout the country, as gift card drives and gift card matching programs modeled after the Cincy Card Connection have been rolled out in Northern Kentucky, Pittsburgh, and Columbus in the past month, with three additional cities contemplating launching programs of their own.

By the Numbers

The numbers listed below reflect the combined stats for Rounds 1 and 2

Total Amount Raised: $642,500

Total Amount of Gift Cards Purchased: $338,500

Total Amount Eligible for Matching Purchase: $304,000

Total Number of Gift Cards Purchased: 4,667

Total Number of Businesses Benefiting: 284

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