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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Our Ohio Renewal Tackles Significant Problems in Ohio

After spending some time in the flourishing city of San Francisco with his wife Usha, J.D. Vance has returned to his home state of Ohio. He has begun creating his nonprofit, Our Ohio Renewal, to combat many of the issues he grew up with.

“I just think those of us who think we have something to offer have a responsibility to try to help,” Vance said in a December Spokesman Review article.

Vance aims to focus on combating issues of the opioid epidemic and work development, which in his opinion, are connected to each other and are of top importance in Ohio.

Our Ohio Renewal Logo. CC Image Courtesy of the Our Ohio Renewal website.

In an interview with the Philanthropy Roundtable Organization, Vance opened up about how he aims to improve such significant and complex issues with the nonprofit.

“On the opioid-abuse front, we’re identifying the things that have been tried, from prevention programs to physician training to treatment options, and trying to understand how well they are working…” Vance explained.

For workforce development, Vance centered in on the importance of diversifying employment positions and the issue of a volatile economy.

“Creative destruction opens opportunities for people to do new things, to contribute to the economy in new ways, and to have new jobs that are just as important and just as dignified as the jobs that people had years ago…” Vance noted. “We need to have plans that include trades jobs, and advanced manufacturing, and manual work of many kinds.”

Vance also touched on the importance of community within the interview. To him, community is a large component of a flourishing state. Community in businesses and neighborhoods provides people with areas of support and a sense of purpose. He aims to improve this feeling of support with Our Ohio Renewal.

Vance believes that improving domestic and familial conditions can have a large impact on the overall state’s success.

Author and founder of Our Ohio Renewal, J.D. Vance. CC Image Courtesy of the J.D. Vance website.

“When kids grow up in very unstable families, they are more likely to bring instability to the next generation when they make their own family,” Vance explained. “They’re less likely to graduate from high school, and less likely to be employed as an adult.”

Vance aims for a more hands-on approach with his nonprofit. Instead of just policy changes, Vance believes that involving the community can be more effective.

“Where civil society can be most helpful is in giving people real networks and social groups that can support them when things are tough—offer them access to better opportunities, to jobs, to activities in their community,” Vance said.

Although Our Ohio Renewal is in its early planning stages, Vance is committed to helping the people of his hometown state. By moving back to Ohio, he can fully immerse himself in the problems at hand. To him, falling back on the government is not the best solution.

“These problems were not created by governments or corporations or anyone else,” Vance contends. “We created them, and only we can fix them.”