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Chelsea Kiene, 614/251-4000,


The Columbus Foundation Introduces a Dynamic Group of Organizations as 5 Nonprofits to Watch in 2022

Columbus, OH (March 18, 2022) Since 2014, The Columbus Foundation has honored five remarkable nonprofit organizations working to strengthen and improve our community. In 2022, in alignment with a comprehensive shift in the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy, it is introducing a new cohort of five exemplary nonprofits with an intentional focus on small- to medium-sized organizations. 

Pictured (l-r): Co-Leader & CEO of Restoring Our Own Through Transformation (ROOTT) Jessica Roach; Co-Leader & COO of ROOTT Dorian Wingard; Director of Martin de Porres Center Yahaira Rose; Executive Director of Muslim Family Services of Ohio Nicol Ghazi; Founder & CEO of Halt Violence Thell Robinson III; and Executive Director of Sanctuary Night Hannah Estabrook.

“5 Nonprofits to Watch is an important opportunity to celebrate, as well as learn about, pressing community needs and the organizations doing meaningful work to help all of our neighbors. Our goal is not just to elevate the stories, but to invest deeply in the missions.”

Dan Sharpe, Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management

With this distinction, each nonprofit will receive a $20,000 grant. In addition, this year the Foundation is also offering each organization a consulting engagement to help address growth, capacity building, and sustainability. Over the course of 2022, each of the 5 Nonprofits to Watch organizations will have the opportunity to work with a local strategy consulting and project-based delivery firm. Capacity-building projects will be selected by the organizations themselves, and reflect the organization’s greatest need. 

“The Columbus Foundation is thrilled to be able to provide funding and services that get these already impactful organizations to the next step in their development,” said Danielle Tong, Director of Capacity Building and Community Knowledge at the Foundation. “The ability of a community to serve its neighbors is really dependent on the capacity of each individual organization within that community, and the Foundation hopes to honor these spectacular nonprofits in a way that expands their reach.”

The Foundation recently evolved its grantmaking strategy—the 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. It identified three fundamental components upon which to build the Foundation's 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 support and flexible program-specific funds; and 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. 

The 5 Nonprofits to Watch in 2022: 

Halt Violence is committed to helping mediate disputes ahead of violence and to creating a solid foundation for youth, young adults, and adults in our community. Its Moral Therapy Initiative is a program designed to support the development of coping mechanisms and life skills that can help end cycles of poverty and violence for community members. The program helps individuals develop skills in various areas, with an emphasis on mental health, academic, and cognitive skills.

Martin De Porres Center serves Latinx families and youth, supporting intergenerational connection, reducing trauma, and using evidence-based strategies to stem violence in Latinx youth. Its program, Dare to Live in Peace, has helped produce a 25 percent reduction in violence since inception in the area it serves and has resulted in more youth graduating high school and going to college. 

Muslim Family Services of Ohio provides culturally centered community care coordination for Muslim residents in need. Its services range from basic needs assistance and resettlement support to job skills training and Janazah (Muslim funeral) services. During the pandemic, Muslim Family Services of Ohio saw a 40 percent increase in service utilization over just a twelve-month period.

Restoring Our Own Through Transformation (ROOTT) is a Black Family-led community-based organization dedicated to “collectively restoring our well-being through self-determination, collaboration, and resources to meet the needs of women and families within communities.” Its notable Perinatal Support Doula model focuses on combating the disparately high rates of infant and maternal mortality among Black families in Ohio. Since its inception in 2017, ROOTT has served hundreds of families and has a 0% Black maternal and infant mortality rate.

Sanctuary Night serves vulnerable women who need a place to rest, eat, connect, and get desired resources. The organization started by hosting a Monday night drop-in but quickly realized that the demand was greater. In January 2022, the organization opened a drop-in center open multiple times per day, with the goal of being open 24/7 by the end of 2022.

Each year, the 5 Nonprofits to Watch are announced to mark the takeoff of Jerrie Mock’s historic around-the-world flight in her single-engine Cessna named Spirit of Columbus. Mock's journey started at Port Columbus International Airport on March 19, 1964, and culminated on April 17, when she became the first woman to fly solo around the world. These five nonprofits promote the bravery, boldness, and determination that Jerrie illustrated and we are proud to honor her spirit along with the work they do in, and for, our community.
March 18, 2022