3CDC, P&G and Empower teaming up on Gift Card Drive

Organizations Look to Support Downtown Businesses through Gift Card Matching Program

CINCINNATI (April 2, 2020) – With the coronavirus (COVID-19) hitting certain industries like restaurants and retail particularly hard, Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), P&G and Empower have come together in an effort to provide some relief to downtown businesses. While bars, restaurants and retailers are doing their best to serve their customers through carryout, delivery and online shopping options, many small business owners need a cash infusion now to help them get through this difficult stretch.

Looking to help fill some of that void, the organizations have partnered to develop the Cincy Card Connection gift card drive, which will support downtown Cincinnati businesses through a gift card match. The organizations have contributed a combined $37,500 to serve as a matching fund for gift cards purchased at local businesses.

“This is a challenging time for everyone, but 3CDC and our partners have been hard at work on solutions to address the impacts COVID-19 is having on the incredible entrepreneurs and small businesses that make Downtown Cincinnati’s urban core so vibrant,” Steve Leeper, President & CEO of 3CDC said. “We’re hoping this program will help generate some much-needed cash-flow to the restaurants, bars and retail shops that have been forced to change their operations or temporarily close as a result of the coronavirus.”

The groups are hoping their $37,500 matching fund will ultimately result in $75,000 of direct cash infusion to Downtown businesses. Here’s how the program will work: 1. Customer purchases a gift card from a downtown Cincinnati business 2. Customer emails a copy or picture of his or her receipt to support@3cdc.org (should include name, mailing address & phone number) 3. 3CDC will purchase a gift card of the same value ($20 min./$100 max) from a similar downtown business and deliver it to the customer. Full program details are available at www.cincycardconnection.com.

“P&G has a long history of supporting the communities where we live and work. Contributing to efforts to provide some relief for businesses in our headquarter city at this challenging time is important for us as a Company. We want to ensure that the communities where we operate remain strong and help those in our community thrive,” Barbara Hauser, P&G Community Relations Manager, said. “P&G is stepping up where we can to serve as a force for good during these unprecedented times.”

3CDC will set up a tracking sheet to monitor the customers’ original purchase as well as the matching purchase. This structure allows one customer purchase to support two businesses, and encourages the customer to potentially try a new business in downtown.

“As the largest employer in Over-The-Rhine, it’s imperative that Empower support the local businesses that make the neighborhood culture so vibrant,” said Jim Price, CEO and Owner of Creative Media Agency, Empower. “Our employees can’t wait to return to OTR and frequent their favorite restaurants, pubs and shops that make working in this neighborhood so great,” he said.

A committee made up of downtown stakeholders, including project partners, residents, and the 3CDC team will collaborate to ensure that the designation of gift cards to downtown businesses is as equitable as possible.

In addition, a donation option has been set up on the website for individuals interested in contributing to the matching fund rather than buying a gift card.

About Empower 

Empower is The Creative Media Agency. Recognized as an Ad Age Agency A-List Standout, our award-winning integrated team of experts in audience, media, message and measurement combine Creative and Media to Empower brands. 

Some of our biggest fans include Fifth Third Bank, Gorilla Glue, TriHealth, Brooks Running, Jack Link’s, V-Tech, Bush Brothers, Wendy’s, Famous Footwear, Ashley HomeStore, GNC, Rust-Oleum and PetSmart. 

Empower is headquartered in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati and has a rapidly growing Chicago office. Located in the city’s bustling River North neighborhood – Empower’s Chicago team is just steps from the Merchandise Mart. 

While much has changed over the course of our 35-year company history, some things remain: we are fiercely independent, and we will constantly challenge the media status quo.  

Find us on TwitterLinkedInFacebookInstagram and online


Media Contact:  

Meghann Craig for Empower 


O: 513.719.6397

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