A community flourishes when all members of it have the opportunity to live up to their full potential, unencumbered by disadvantages inherited simply by the color of their skin or the zip code in which they were born.
ADVANCING EQUITY AND BELONGING
Our community can move forward, together, but we must earn that togetherness by addressing the systems that created our present conditions, conditions that are not equitable for everyone and that limit the ability to succeed in life, especially for our Black residents and other communities of color.
Equitable conditions for all residents are essential; however, they alone are not sufficient. A genuinely strong and healthy community requires strong social bonds, too. Those connections keep us stitched together during hard times and provide us with support and a respected place within the great community conversation; in short, they give us a sense of belonging. With our partners in community—donors, nonprofits, and residents—we strive to advance both equity and belonging through a number of ways.
As a philanthropic institution, grants are the primary vehicle through which we contribute to more just systems and better outcomes. Through our Racial Equity Fund, other funds, and donor co-investment, we prioritize the equitable distribution of charitable capital to Black-led and Black-serving organizations. See some of our recent investments intended to help advance equity.
The Center for HumanKindness cultivates a culture of kindness that fosters a sense of belonging for all. Through Gifts of Kindness and other program-related grantmaking, we support activities and programs that honor every person’s humanity.
Community is built through the contributions of many, and collaborative partnerships have long defined our approach to community improvement. Through participation in coalitions such as the Franklin County Digital Equity Coalition, Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, and the Community Development Collaborative of Greater Columbus we work to advance equity collectively at the systems level.
Since 2018, we have used human-centered design to help tackle issues facing our residents. This approach bakes equity into the process by designing solutions to social system problems with residents, not for them. Being asked to help solve problems enables people to contribute, thereby strengthening our community and increasing belonging.
Our external actions require a complementary internal commitment to equity and belonging. In 2021, we undertook a third-party organizational audit to examine current structures, practices, and policies, and to establish benchmarks for diversity, equity and inclusion, against which we will hold ourselves accountable and measure our progress and success.
Our staff continues to engage in trainings and education to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to deeply ingrain equity as a value in our organizational culture. Our partnerships with the Racial Equity Institute and Philanthropy Ohio’s Putting Racism on the Table series have provided substantial grounding upon which we are building our understanding.
The Columbus Foundation commits to helping create a community in which the well-being of all residents is valued and protected. By advancing equity across our region and strengthening our collective belonging, we can achieve transformative change that truly allows our full community to flourish.
- As of September 2023, the Equitable Small Business Fund at The Columbus Foundation has awarded more than $3 million in Program Related Investments (PRIs) to six Black-owned and Black-led businesses serving central Ohio.
- $25,000 to WELD to support the Pathway to Management Program for Women of Color (WPMP-WOC): Thriving in Corporate America
- $500,000 to the Columbus Urban League to strengthen its core operations, including personnel, technology, and management systems.
- $250,000 over five years to the Ohio Transformation Fund to support the reformation of the criminal justice system.
- $100,000 to Zora’s House in support of its campaign to build a coworking and community space for women of color.
- $50,000 to The Women's Fund to help remove barriers to gender and racial equity.
- $150,000 to Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT) serving as fiscal sponsor for the Equity Now Coalition to create a data dashboard that will track progress on equity issues in central Ohio.
- $250,000 to the YWCA over five years to support racial equity training workshops.
Columbus Foundation makes ‘game-changing’ investment in Columbus Urban LeagueREAD MORE
The Columbus Foundation is committed to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in our work and workplace.READ MORE
Zora's House to build anew on site of former carryout Weinland Park with investments from organizations like The Columbus Foundation.READ MORE