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Contact: Carol Harmon, charmon@columbusfoundation.org614/251-4000


The Columbus Foundation Announces 5 Nonprofits to Watch in 2017

Columbus, OH (March 20, 2017)—The Columbus Foundation today announced its 5 Nonprofits to Watch, recognizing innovative central Ohio organizations poised for an exceptional year of growth and progress. Each recipient awardee received a $5,000 grant.

5 Nonprofits to Watch debuted in 2014 as an annual program of The Columbus Foundation, and honors a group of remarkable nonprofit organizations working hard to make Columbus a better place for all.

The organizations selected for 2017 are: Alvis, Catholic Social Services, Homeport, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, and Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.

“Collectively these organizations are making great strides to provide critical services and programs to benefit central Ohio residents,” said Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation. “We recognize their commitment to strengthening and improving our smart and open city and look forward to their continued growth.”

Leaders of the 5 Nonprofits to Watch at the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Center (a program of Catholic Social Services) set to open this spring on Columbus’ West side.  Pictured (l-r) Seleshi Asfaw, Executive Director, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services; Rachel Lustig, President and CEO, Catholic Social Services; Bruce Luecke, President and CEO, Homeport; Denise Robinson, President and CEO, Alvis; and Tammy Wharton, CEO, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.

More about this year’s honorees:

Alvis’ mission is twofold—serving individuals and families who have become involved in the criminal justice system, and providing services to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Its programs represent a research-based, integrated treatment approach and include residential reentry, family-focused reentry, case management, workforce development, GED instruction, life-skills education, cognitive behavioral treatment, substance abuse treatment, transitional education services, and individualized programs for persons with developmental disabilities.

The Foundation applauds Alvis’ ongoing commitment to provide innovative programming for some of our community’s most vulnerable residents and, most recently, the leadership provided to acquire Amethyst. To learn more, visit


Catholic Social Services (CSS) helps poor and vulnerable seniors and families reach their potential. CSS serves people of all faiths and backgrounds throughout central and southern Ohio ensuring that seniors can live independently and families thrive. In 2017, CSS is opening a new and expanded Our Lady of Guadalupe Center to serve central Ohio's growing Hispanic community. The Guadalupe Center strengthens Hispanic families by offering holistic support, including health services, economic development and family strengthening programs, and community building, to empower their success and contribute to the rich culture of our region.

The Foundation applauds CSS’s innovative approach to serving community and its commitment to serving Hispanic residents on the west side by expanding the size and reach of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Center. To learn more, visit


For 30 years, Homeport has generated home-ownership and rental housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents of central Ohio. Its 5,700 residents–families and seniors– in 33 communities have access to an array of services from afterschool and summertime programming to emergency assistance for rent and utilities. Homeport partnerships also create links to food, furniture, and employment assistance, as well as medical and mental health. Homeport is also a leading provider of homebuyer education and budget and credit counseling. All its efforts are aided by a network of partnerships and fundraising with local banks and businesses, governmental entities, community and faith-based organizations, developers, neighborhood development corporations, and individual donors.

The Foundation applauds Homeport’s commitment to expanding its innovative approaches to addressing the affordable housing crisis, and we are excited to recognize the organization’s new President and CEO, Bruce Luecke. To learn more, visit


Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS) is a Columbus-based nonprofit that helps new arrivals from all countries establish roots and gain self-sufficiency in Columbus. With programs and services that encourage community integration, sustained employment, education, health, and strong families, ETSS has served clients from over 40 countries, with the majority from Bhutan, Burma, the Middle East, and East Africa. Tewahedo means "to become one" in an ancient African language. It represents ETSS’s philosophy that all humanity is one and this oneness creates a responsibility to help our community.

The Foundation applauds ETSS’s approach to serving community and its commitment to providing robust programming for children and youth from immigrant and refugee families across Columbus. To learn more, visit


Founded in 1912, the Girl Scouts' membership has grown from 18 members in Savannah, Georgia, to 2.7 million members around the world. Girl Scouts of Ohio's Heartland (GSOH), open to girls ages 5-17, is proud to be a girl-centric and girl-driven environment, where a girl finds courage to explore new worlds and adventures, confidence to believe in herself and her abilities, character to stand by her values, and connections to girls from every background. Girl Scouts exists to address the ever-changing needs of today's girls. Girls build strong self-esteem and learn globally marketable skills, such as STEM learning, financial literacy, skills to prevent bullying, respect for the environment, and appreciation of the arts.

The Foundation applauds GSOH’s ongoing commitment to providing innovative programming for girls and the leadership provided to secure the triennial National Council Session to be held this October in Columbus!  More than 10,000 people are expected to come to Columbus for G.I.R.L. 2017 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. To learn more, visit

About The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to 2,500 individuals, families, and businesses who have created charitable funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Serving the region for more than 70 years, The Columbus Foundation is ranked among the ten largest community foundations in the United States. For more, visit or call 614/251-4000.

March 20, 2017