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Grantmaking Update


Dear Nonprofit Community Partners,


A lot has happened since 2008. Yes, fourteen years ago.

That was the last time there was an overhaul, reorientation, and reimagination of the entire prioritization and grantmaking process at The Columbus Foundation. For many years, the process and platforms worked well. Since then, we know, the world has changed.

Even in just the last two years, we have had immense learnings about community needs and nimbleness through our COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, and we are continuing to lean into our ongoing understandings and journey to be an antiracist organization.

So, it is with a great sense of responsibility to our community’s needs, and through donor generosity, that I am pleased to share more details about the most recent evolution of our grantmaking strategy—our most agile, responsive, and inclusive grantmaking to date, and one that better reflects the intersecting qualities of race equity with class, gender, and climate change.

The strategy development was a ten-month undertaking, consisting of national research and benchmarking, reflecting on the past, listening to our neighbors within the greater Columbus community, and finding ways to move intentionally into the future. We arrived here, where we mark our progress, and then commit to many lifetimes of continued growth. In our research and listening, we were able to identify three fundamental components upon which to build our grantmaking:


  • A commitment to prioritizing racial equity, to ensure that every Columbus neighbor has the tools and soil upon which to grow and flourish.
  • Significantly increasing the opportunities for general operating grants and flexible program-specific funds.
  • Supporting the holistic wellbeing of nonprofit organizations by investing in capacity building, so they can go further faster, and with a greater sense of organizational health.


We, The Columbus Foundation, remain in awe of the central Ohio nonprofit sector’s resilience and creativity in the face of crisis and adversity. We are proud to call each of you colleagues in the effort to foster the sense of justice, access, flourishing, and belonging that every Columbus resident deserves. And it is our calling to support your important work.


Please take a moment to visit the updated Nonprofit Center on our website, which reflects the changes to our grantmaking in greater detail.


On this journey to strengthen and improve the community, please be in touch with your thoughts and observations on where we can improve our work together.


In partnership and solidarity,



Dan A. Sharpe

Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management