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Contact: Carol Harmon, The Columbus Foundation,, 614/251-4000.


Columbus Foundation Grants Jump to $176 Million in 2015—An All-time High

Philanthropic awards presented to Patricia Duke Robinson of the Paul G. Duke Foundation, AEP and AEP Foundation, and the Columbus Museum of Art

COLUMBUS, Ohio (August 31, 2016)The Columbus Foundation, the seventh largest community foundation in the United States, announced an historic all-time high in grants awarded in 2015―$176.6 million, a 23 percent increase over 2014, at its annual Celebration of Philanthropy at the Foundation today.

“We celebrate the generosity and vision of our donors who support thousands of nonprofit organizations in central Ohio,” said Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation.

We are proud to work with individuals, families, and business donors who are committed to positively changing lives through strategic investments in philanthropy.

— Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO

Last year, grants by Columbus Foundation donors benefited 3,237 nonprofit organizations in a wide range of fields, including arts and humanities, conservation, urban affairs, health, education, and social services. The majority of grants—76.1 percent —benefited central Ohio. This is the fourth time in the Foundation’s history that grants in a single year have exceeded the $100 million mark.

New gifts and additions to existing funds and Supporting Foundations totaled $126 million in 2015―marking the sixth consecutive year of gifts exceeding $100 million. The Foundation’s assets, held in 2,345 unique, named funds and 28 Supporting Foundations, totaled $1.75 billion as of December 31, 2015.

The Foundation also reported on the preliminary results of the 2016 Benchmarking Central Ohio survey, which will be completed and released in full in October. This report focuses on social and economic trends and compares Columbus to 23 other cities. Last issued in 2013, Benchmarking Central Ohio allows the community to better understand its strengths and challenges, and how to work to leverage and address them.

The community’s first Big Table was celebrated―the event brought over 5,000 residents together around more than 450 tables to participate in community-building conversations, to create new relationships, and to collectively foster understanding across the region in a single day. In gratitude of each person who participated, The Columbus Foundation made a $25 contribution to the Gifts of Kindness Fund, bringing total contributions to $100,000. This fund provides one-time emergency grants through partner nonprofits to help lift up individuals and families who experience an unexpected setback.

“Our extraordinary community took a chance to simply gather around the table and listen, share, and learn together as we search for common ground in our region,” Kridler said. “We grew stronger as a community yesterday. The Big Table is an investment in our collective strength to respond to challenges and opportunities going forward.”

The Foundation and its family of donors honored the 2016 philanthropy award winners during today’s events:

  • Patricia Duke Robinson, of Troy, and President Emeritus of the Paul G. Duke Foundation, was named the recipient of the Leadership in Philanthropy Award for her 30-year role in leading the Supporting Foundation her father created, and her dedication to Miami County. Read more
  • American Electric Power and American Electric Power Foundation were named the Harrison M. Sayre Award winners for their extraordinary leadership and support of the Scioto Mile, and their passion for making a difference in a variety of areas throughout central Ohio. Read more
  • The Columbus Museum of Art was named The Columbus Foundation Award recipient for its recent nationally-acclaimed expansion and ongoing commitment to make it possible for residents of all ages to experience art. Read more

Those gathered also recognized members of the Foundation’s Legacy Society, who have indicated they intend to leave a future gift to the community. More than 700 Foundation donors have established planned gifts to create a lasting legacy to support the community and the organizations they care about most. Planned gift expectancies known by the Foundation now total more than $910.2 million.

For example, the late John E. Peyton, a postal clerk, left a bequest that established the John E. Peyton Family Foundation in 2009. Today this fund provides for animals in Delaware County and supports programs that advance agriculture and natural resources education at The Ohio State University. Read more


About The Columbus Foundation
The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to more than 2,400 individuals, families, businesses, and communities that have created unique funds to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. More than 70 years strong, The Columbus Foundation is the seventh largest community foundation in the United States. The Foundation’s online giving marketplace, PowerPhilanthropy®, makes it possible for everyone to access valuable information about nonprofit organizations in central Ohio. Visit to learn more.


August 31, 2016