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.

Elizabeth Crane

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

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.

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.

Tania Sherry

Tania Sherry 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.

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 (2010); Green Columbus creating a Green Schools Network emphasizing recycling (2011); and the Broad Street Presbyterian Church’s food pantry working on improving systems to ensure operation is more environmentally friendly (2012).

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.

Dominican Sisters of Peace

Shepherd’s Corner, a beautifully unique property in Jefferson Township, serves to preserve the heritage of the land, agricultural practices, and promotion of peace and tranquility through the stewardship of the Dominican Sisters. A grant to support the restoration of wetland habitat as well as the creation of educational programming will benefit visitors to Shepherd’s Corner while returning a portion of the property to ecologically sound wetlands.

Learn more »


Amid the bustling development of downtown’s waterfront lays the COSI campus. Which, through a grant from the Green Funds is bustling with changes of its own. A recent completion of a campus master plan has lead to the installation of a rain garden, picnic space, and soon to be enhanced habitat incorporating many native species of plants and trees with the goal of providing enjoyment for people and animals alike.

Learn more »

Friends of Big Walnut Creek

A grassroots organization with a passion for the health and vitality of the Big Walnut Creek and surrounding tributaries, works hard on conservation efforts, education, and advocacy. To help inform its mission, with the help of a grant from the Green Funds, a study by a local marine biologist will be commissioned to survey mussel populations, including rare species, within the Big Walnut Creek.

Learn more »

Ohio State University

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 »

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

Agriculture and sustainable farming continues to comprise a large part of our regional economy. Many small farmers are having a hard time keeping up with demand, and an even harder time accessing funding from traditional banking institutions. In a novel pilot program, OEFFA will be facilitating a micro-loan and revolving loan fund to help support emerging and established farmers prosper. This innovative funding mechanism will be supported by a grant from the Green Funds.

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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