Who is this for?

The Welcoming Party is for anyone who likes people and wants to feel more-connected to the Cincinnati community. To be successful, this experiment will need very new residents to make themselves known as they look to find their footing — plus bunches of Cincinnatians who feel like they can help with that. There’s no magic length of residency required to be a ‘welcomer.’ And, in fact, we think people of varying “tenures” will each have something different and valuable to share.

How does this work?

Interested parties declare their intention by responding to some survey questions.

After a six-month tenure as part of the final project-grant cohort at People’s Liberty, we are working on a version 2.0 that will take The Welcoming Party into the future.

In the initial term of the project, we connected with new residents on a 1:1 basis before co-creating a personalized party to introduce that individual — and often a “+1” — to a hand-selected group of local residents or “welcomers” that we believe the new person would be happy to know.

That personalized approach — an “analog social network,” if you will — will remain at the heart of this effort. By signing up, you can help us determine exactly what shape that takes.

How will you find people who just moved here?

If you’re ever a contestant on Family Feud and Steve Harvey asks “Name something people ask about The Welcoming Party” this is the number one answer on the board. Truly, though, we are counting on word of mouth, personal referrals, and widespread sharing of our project. We would love to hear from the folks involved in corporate hiring and relocation. People in faith communities. Friends, cousins, and friends-of-friends-of-cousins who know someone relocating here. The more local residents who have antennae up for new Cincinnatians who might benefit from this, the more connections we can make.

What if I’m introverted or have social anxiety?

That’s a great question. The heart of our project is a desire to help any given person find the Cincinnati that feels specifically “home-like” to them. We’ve tried to design for “approachability”— for instance, that first point of contact is an informal 1:1 context that should feel relatively familiar.

Of course, we know “familiar” does not automatically equal “comfortable.” We hope it might help to know that the person on the other side of that 1:1 has self-selected via a stated interest in showing hospitality and friendliness to new people. But if it doesn’t, please get in touch and let us know you’re interested in meeting people but have some reservations and we’ll see what we can do to find a better solution.

I’d like to be involved but I don’t have much spare time.

That’s not a question, but we get what you mean.

As designed, the maximum number of new calendar events anyone opts into would be three — a 1:1, a small group outing, and one big ass party at the end. (And that’s just for new residents and their ‘first contact.’)

If you can only participate in the one-off final gathering, that’s totally fine. And if that doesn’t even work out, simply by declaring your interest via responses to our survey, you can help deepen the connectivity within our community: there will be opportunities to share your insight and experience that don’t require in-person attendance.

Doing an activity with a bunch of strangers? No thanks.

Hey, no fair answering your own question. If you’re a Cincinnatian who’s been here for a little while and aren’t super into meeting new people, you may have gotten lost on your way to this website. Maybe once we share some of the experiences that come from this project, you’ll want to get participate. It’s never too late to say hello.

If you’re newly located here and this idea ties your stomach in knots, know that we designed this initiative to introduce new people and faces little by little. Our guiding principle is to create experiences that are at least 39.4% less awkward and more comfortable than traditional methods of meeting new people such as (but not limited to): approaching a stranger in a bar or coffee shop; networking mixers; signing up as a ‘free agent’ for a rec sports league; accompanying an existing friend-group for an activity they’re already doing; cold-calling that one guy your buddy brought to that thing seven years ago. The whole deal here is that you’ll be connected with people who have at least one meaningful thing in common with you, and who have expressly said they like being friendly.

If your skepticism is more a matter of safety or security, let us know, so we can further discuss the social controls we’re utilizing to overcome this — as well as hear your concerns.

What are the best neighborhoods in Cincinnati?

C’mon, now, don’t put us on the spot like that. Truly, every neighborhood in Cincinnati has its strengths, and “best” is such a subjective and personal assessment. What we can say is that this project is designed to help connect new folks like you with residents who are likely to have a good feel for what “best” probably looks like in your book.

What are the best things to do in Cincinnati?

Can we cop out and say “anything that facilitates the flow of the soul?” Again, every person is different. We think Cincinnati “punches above its weight” in terms of arts, music and culinary scenes. There are loads of volunteer opportunities. Our parks are pretty darn great. Spectator sports abound. Things like world-class rock-climbing and bourbon are close enough for a day trip. And, did you know that we know a bunch of people who are really eager to help you discover whatever particular things float your own personal boat?

Who funds all this?

We are very proud to have been part of the eighth class of project grantees powered by People’s Liberty. Their support allowed us to cover costs associated with 1:1’s, small group outings, and other events, while we explored our idea.

As we work on version 2.0, we are exploring funding models to continue welcoming new Cincinnatians to our community.