In September 2002, a group of Ohio foundations, led by the Gund Foundation, convened a workshop in Cleveland to discuss the challenges of advancing sustainable development and smart growth in the state. Following these meetings, outreach around the state confirmed that success meant winning fundamental changes in how the State of Ohio influences the location of urban and suburban growth and development.
By the end of 2003, the Gund Foundation leveraged major grants from the Cleveland Foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and other Ohio funders. In January 2004, the Greater Ohio Campaign was launched, intended to influence the 2006 gubernatorial campaign debate over state smart growth, land use and economic redevelopment policy.
In 2007, the Greater Ohio campaign incorporated and became a 501(c)3, non-profit organization formally known as the Greater Ohio Policy Center. In 2008, GOPC launched itself on Ohio’s policy scene, and entered into a three year partnership with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. In 2010, GOPC, with Brookings, released a game-changing report, Restoring Prosperity: Transforming Ohio’s Communities for the Next Economy, which provided a bold blueprint for state and local leaders to use in formulating new policies and practices.
Since its founding, GOPC’s advocacy and research has improved Ohio’s redevelopment policies through reforms to state laws and regulations regarding: brownfield remediation, blighted property mitigation, expedited mortgage foreclosure, increased transit funding, lead abatement, sewer and water infrastructure financing, and more. One of its most important policy contributions to date is the 2010 “Land Bank Bill,” which GOPC, along with a coalition of nonprofits and local and regional civic officials successfully lobbied for. This bill built upon and modified the existing Cuyahoga County land bank to authorize permissive creation of land banks in 41 additional counties. Of the 900 bills brought before the 128th General Assembly between 2008 and 2010, this was one of only 58 bills signed and passed.
GOPC deploys a strategic mix of advocacy, research, publications, convenings and stakeholder partnerships to drive independent, creative policy reforms and achieve practical, politically savvy results. GOPC is highly respected for its data-driven, nonpartisan policy analysis, research expertise, and policy development, and regularly provides expert analyses to public, private and nonprofit leaders at the local, state and national level.