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


Columbus Gears Up to Host National CEOs for Cities Meeting

Columbus chosen for three-day collaboration that connects national thought leaders and local visionaries

COLUMBUS, OH (September 26, 2016)—Columbus is ready to welcome more than 400 leaders from 75 cities across the country when the 2016 National Meeting for CEOs for Cities convenes here on September 27. The prestigious, three-day event will bring together an innovative group of mayors, and civic, corporate, and nonprofit leaders who will share the smartest ideas and practices for city success.

Columbus: The Opportunity City will serve as the context for showcasing experiences unique to the city that have allowed it to grow and thrive in a time when other cities have struggled. Columbus changemakers will direct participants in a civic leadership immersion experience focused on a range of topics, including education, smart transportation, education, inequality, and new paths to prosperity. The Columbus Foundation led the effort to bring the national meeting here, as well as the local fundraising for it, and organized the local content. 

Corporate sponsor contributions came from Nationwide, American Electric Power, and Cardinal Health. Individual contributions for the event were made by Nancy Kramer and Christopher Celeste, Matt and Seanna Walter, Michael and Denise Glimcher, Hinson Family Foundation, and Doug and Monica Kridler.

Columbus is the ideal setting for leading doers making things happen in their communities and leading advocates for communities of opportunity, sustainability, and equity.

— Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO, The Columbus Foundation.

“Columbus is the ideal setting for leading doers making things happen in their communities and leading advocates for communities of opportunity, sustainability, and equity,” said Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation.

The presentation side of the agenda features an impressive lineup of nationally-known keynote speakers ranging from Harvard professors to mayors, venture capitalists, and artists. Attendees will get to experience firsthand what a remarkable city Columbus is, with receptions at the Pizzuti Collection and the North Market, and explorations planned to illustrate the vibrancy of the Discovery District, Franklinton, River South, Short North Arts District, and the Weinland Park neighborhood, among others.

“We have been fortunate to have many great national conferences in Columbus, with some even higher profile meetings coming up,” said Brian Ross, President and CEO of Experience Columbus. “Hosting the prestigious National Meeting of CEOs for Cities is a testimonial to the fact that Columbus’ strengths as a community and a meeting place are secrets no longer. This is one of the most comprehensive meetings about, not just in, our city, and we are deeply grateful to everyone who made this special opportunity possible for Columbus.” 

National speakers at the event include Angela Glover Blackwell, President and CEO of PolicyLink; Harvard Professor Jan W. Rivkin; Gabriel Metcalf, President and CEO of San Francisco-based SPUR; and Dr. Manuel Pastor, author of Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas and Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

“CEOs for Cities changemakers are eager to experience and learn from Columbus, a city that is known for its collaboration and is heralded for its innovative success,” said Lee Fisher, a former Ohio Lieutenant governor who leads CEOs for Cities.

Among Columbus-based influencers leading segments of the collaboration are: Nancy Kramer, Founder and Chairman, Resource Ammirati, an IBM Company; Alex Shumate, Managing Partner, North America Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, and Chairman of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees; Hon. Michael Coleman, Director of Business and Government Strategies, IceMiller Legal Counsel and Former Mayor of Columbus; Mark Kwame, Co-Founder and Partner of Drive Capital and the former president of JobsOhio;  Tanisha Robinson, Founder of Print Syndicate; Alex Fischer, President + CEO, Columbus Partnership; Michael Wilkos, Director of Community Research, The Columbus Foundation; Sharon Davies, Executive Director, Kirwan Institute and Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, The Ohio State University; Joe DeLoss, Owner, Hot Chicken Takeover; and Peggy Kriha Dye, Artistic Director, Opera Columbus.  Gabrielle Burton, Documentarian, Five Sisters Production; Larry Smith, Founder, Six-Word Memoir; Lilian Lowery, President + CEO, FutureReady Columbus; Andy Boy, CEO, United Schools Network; Hannah Powell, Executive Director, KIPP Columbus; and Daniel Good, Superintendent + CEO, Columbus City Schools are also participating.

Discussing how a number of the nation’s leading foundations are tackling inequality as a prominent part of their work are: Janelle Simmons, President, L Brands Foundation; Sidney Hargro, Executive Director, Community Foundation of South Jersey; Christine Marquez-Hudson, President + CEO, The Denver Foundation; and the Hon. R. T. Rivbak, President + CEO, The Minneapolis Foundation and former Mayor of Minneapolis.

For a complete list of topics and speakers, visit:

About The Columbus Foundation
The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to 2,400 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 the seventh largest community foundation in the United States. The Foundation’s online marketplace, PowerPhilanthropy,® makes giving mobile, easy, and smart. For more information, visit or call 614/251-4000.

About CEOs for Cities
CEOs for Cities is the nation’s premier city learning network. CEO for Cities connects cross-sector urban, civic, and entrepreneurial leaders with each other and with the smartest ideas and practices for city and regional economic growth and opportunity.

September 26, 2016