Green Funds

Nonprofit organizations of all sizes are working hard to protect the earth’s environment and making our community smarter, healthier, cleaner, and a more eco-friendly place. Many have received grants from the Foundation’s Green Funds, which were created by dedicated donors to support projects that will make an impact in central Ohio today and in the future. To support the Green Funds now, simply enter ‘Green Fund’ in the fund name field on the online contribution form here, then complete the required fields and submit your gift!

A Green Funds Advisory Committee comprised of volunteer community leaders and visionaries support the Foundation’s Green grantmaking. Through this partnership, hundreds of nonprofit organizations have benefited from grants in central Ohio.

Green Funds Mission Statement

To enhance the quality of life in central Ohio by supporting responsible use of natural resources and ensuring their availability for future generations.

Meet the Green Funds Advisory Committee

Michelle Slisher

Michelle Slisher’s green interests include recycling and renewable energy sources. She holds a bachelor degree from Indiana University in the school of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Frances Beasley

Ms. Beasley retired after more than thirty years in public service as a natural resource and environmental policy professional. Her career included the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), and most recently, the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities.

Elizabeth Crane

Beth Crane is a retired teacher. She is presently a community volunteer and serves on a number of boards in central Ohio.

Dr. Jerome Cunningham

Mr. Cunningham is active as a community volunteer serving one day a week as a family counselor in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit of the Wexner Medical Center, two days a week as a volunteer at the Capital Area Humane Society, and one day each week in the office of the philanthropy division of The Nature Conservancy.

Jill Evans

Jill Evans has worked at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for twenty-five years. She is a conservationist with a special interest in the protection of water resources, streams, and rivers.

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Dr. Bernard F. Master

Dr. Bernard Master is a retired family physician and entrepreneur. He is a world recognized conservationist, humanitarian, and international birder.

Susan Meiling

Susan Meiling has had a long interest in the natural world and conservation, and a generous tenure of support for Chadwick Arboretum, Grange Insurance Audubon Center, Park of Roses, and Franklin Park Conservatory. She is a longtime member of The Little Garden Club, which is a part of Garden Club of America, where she participated on the club’s National Affairs Legislation Committee.

Samuel Peterson

Mr. Peterson currently serves as the Deputy Solicitor for the Ohio Attorney General. Prior to that role, he served nearly four years as the Assistant Attorney General to the Environmental Enforcement section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Tania Peterson

Tania Peterson is completing a master’s degree in Community Development through the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. She is on the steering committee for the Columbus Science Pub and has been actively involved with a variety of social enterprise-related programs in the Columbus community.

Anne Powell Riley

Anne Powell Riley is a community volunteer and world traveler. She has been involved with the Ohio Nature Conservancy for over thirty years. She is a founding member of The Green Funds.

Irene Probasco

Irene Probasco is the retired director of the Ohio Alliance for the Environment. She has served on numerous boards and councils including Earth Share Ohio, the Environmental Education Fund of Ohio and the Ohio Environmental Council. She is a founding member of The Green Funds and has served as its secretary since inception.

Jerry Smith

Jerry Smith is a fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects with more than 25 years of experience in designing sustainable healthy environments. Jerry has served on national, regional, and local nonprofit boards and is a principal at SMITH\GreenHealth Consulting, LLC.

Ellen Tripp

Ellen Tripp is a community volunteer and past Commissioner of the Franklin County Metro Parks and the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. She has served on numerous local and national boards. She is a founding member of The Green Funds and has served as its chair.

William C. Wolfe, Jr.

Bill Wolfe is a retired businessman and community volunteer. He has served on numerous boards including the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He is a founding member of The Green Funds and has served as its chair.

Green Funds Summer Fellow

In partnership with The Columbus Foundation, the Green Funds of The Columbus Foundation provides a $5,000 stipend for a qualifying student to work with a central Ohio nonprofit for ten weeks during the summer.

One Fellow is deliberately placed with an environmental or conservation nonprofit organization. The green Fellow will gain experience, knowledge, and exposure to the nonprofit sector.

To qualify for the Green Fellowship, the applicant must be a college junior, senior, recent graduate, or graduate student in the fall and be a Franklin County high school graduate or pursing a degree at a college or university at a Franklin County institution.

Learn more about The Columbus Foundation’s Summer Fellowship.

Get to know the Summer Fellows on the Summer Fellows Blog.

To support The Columbus Foundation’s Summer Fellowship Program, the Green Funds have provided an opportunity for a dedicated Fellow to support an environmental cause or effort. Green Fellows have been placed with Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) working on the creation of a backyard conservation education module; Green Columbus creating a Green Schools Network emphasizing recycling; the Broad Street Presbyterian Church’s food pantry working on improving systems to ensure operation is more environmentally friendly; and a project with the Ohio Environmental Council.

Support Programs and Initiatives Making a Difference

The Green Funds Advisory Committee select programs and initiatives that are designed to meet the conservation and environmental needs of individuals and families in our community. For an additional insight into sample work through the Green Funds grantmaking, click to view comprehensive case studiesEach nonprofit organization or program has received a TCF Competitive Grant through The Columbus Foundation’s Small Grants Program through the Green Funds to support their needs. If any of these causes match your charitable giving goals, we invite you to make a donation to a specific program or initiative through PowerPhilanthropy.

Green Columbus/Earth Day

Working with community leaders, non-profits and businesses, Green Columbus organizes the largest annual Earth Day volunteer service project in the nation. Since 2007, Central Ohio has benefited from more than 69,000 hours of citizen “green” service thanks to their efforts. The 2014 event took place at 181 service sites, included more than 4,200 volunteers, and resulted in 4,500+ trees planted. The service site efforts were followed by a free, public Earth Day Celebration at Columbus Commons to raise awareness for environmental efforts and organizations working across the region.

Learn more »

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed

The Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) is a non-profit dedicated to keeping the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy. In 2014, FLOW identified the restoration of the Glen Echo tributary as a priority project due to metrics that indicated it would take relatively few resources to improve its water quality and reduce stormwater runoff. With support from the Green Fund, FLOW and a team of green job interns from the Godman Guild will plant at least 60 trees in locations around Glen Echo as a means of strengthening Glen Echo’s stormwater management system.

Learn more »

Nature Conservancy

The Big Darby Creek is central Ohio’s only designated State and National Scenic River and is one of Ohio’s best known streams of high quality, widely recognized as one of the most biologically diverse streams of its size in the Midwest. But, Big Darby Creek also faces significant threats from urban development and agricultural practices, land uses that can severely degrade the overall health of a watershed’s natural resources and aquatic life. Support from the Green Funds will contribute to the Conservancy’s participation in a multi-year comprehensive assessment of the watershed’s health. This assessment will offer a once-in-a-generation opportunity to determine how best to preserve stream quality and protect the watershed’s aquatic natural resources.

Learn more »

Local Matters

Rainstorms and runoff often fill sewers with massive amounts of water—frequently water which has been contaminated or contains pollutants. Chadwick Arboretum’s Green Roofs for the Olentangy Watershed (GROW) program will establish a rooftop garden and utilize semi-permeable surfaces to capture rainwater before it becomes harmful runoff. Captured water is then used by plants living on the surface of the roof to thrive and provide an environmental benefit.

Learn more »


After 17 years of water, weather, and daily use by thousands of visitors and camp participants, the boardwalk around the wetlands area at the Jerry L. Garver YMCA had deteriorated significantly. With support from the Green Funds, that boardwalk is being repaired and replaced so that the community may once again enjoy the beautiful wildlife and use the pond for educational programming.

Learn more »

Green Grantmaking

The Green Funds are pleased to offer a competitive grantmaking opportunity for conservation and environmental related programs and initiatives. Through The Columbus Foundation’s Small Grants program, on the first Friday in May, relevant applications from central Ohio nonprofit organizations will be accepted.During the review process, applicants may be asked to present, before the Green Funds Advisory Committee, about their organization and proposed grant opportunity.

Staff Contact

To begin the process, contact Dan Sharpe, by e-mail, or by phone, 614/251-4000.

Create Your Own Green Fund

For more than a decade, the Green Funds have created awareness of conservation issues to nurture a community that supports stewardship of natural resources. Now, you can help us support our communities’ natural resources by creating your own Green Fund. When you create a unique named fund to support conservation causes, you have the flexibility to support the environmental causes you care about most.Getting started is a simple process—whether you want to get started as a current giver or structure your legacy for the future. We’re here to help you achieve your charitable conservation goals.

How To Establish Your Own Fund

  1. A minimum of $10,000 in cash, appreciated securities, life insurance, real estate, IRA assets, or other property is required to establish your green fund. Select a name for your fund. It could be your name, your family’s name, someone you would like to honor or remember or the name could reflect the intent of the fund.
  2. Recommend how your tax-free gift is invested and choose from more than 25 banks, investment agents, and brokerage firms.
  3. Make grants to conservation initiatives or nonprofits found in the Foundation’s PowerPhilanthropy database.

After Your Fund Is Established, You May:

    1. Add to the fund at any time in any dollar amount.
    2. Work with Foundation staff to identify and connect to conservation needs in the community or nonprofit organizations that are eligible to receive grants.

Staff Contact

To begin the process, contact Steven Moore, by e-mail, or by phone, 614/251-4000.

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