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Generosity Propels Record-Setting Year at The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation and donors set new records for grants, gifts, and scholarships; annual philanthropy awards announced

COLUMBUS, OH (September 7, 2022) — The Columbus Foundation announced its grantmaking totals for 2021 during the organization’s annual Celebration of Philanthropy events today. In a year of firsts and records, The Columbus Foundation and its donors gave more than ever to assist nonprofit organizations in the central Ohio region and beyond in 2021, providing much-needed support to thousands of nonprofits as many grappled with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants distributed from The Columbus Foundation in 2021 reached a remarkable $243,904,218—an all-time high for the organization—benefiting 4,439 nonprofits. Additionally, gifts made to new and existing funds and foundations held at The Columbus Foundation totaled $363,639,571 in 2021, also a record in terms of gifts received during a single year. Meanwhile, a record-breaking 224 new funds were established by individuals, families, nonprofit organizations, and businesses in 2021, each representing diverse interests and goals, and a record-setting $3.7 million in scholarship grants was distributed.

“The kindness and generosity of our donors and community members are a testament to the power of the human spirit to move our region forward. Through all of the changes, the challenges, the triumphs, and the unexpected, we remain inspired by and grateful for our generous community. The Columbus Foundation is honored to support our donors, volunteers, nonprofit partners, and neighbors as we continue to work together to strengthen our community, for good,” said Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation.

Since 1944, The Columbus Foundation has awarded $3.15 billion in grants to a wide range of causes, including social services, the arts, education, conservation, and more. The Columbus Foundation ranks in the top 10 among more than 750 community foundations in the United States in terms of assets.

The release of the 2021 numbers coincides with the announcement of The Harrison M. Sayre Award and The Columbus Foundation Award honorees for 2022. The annual awards recognize extraordinary philanthropists and standout nonprofit organizations in central Ohio.

Given in honor of The Columbus Foundation’s founder and 25-year volunteer director, The Harrison M. Sayre Award recognizes leadership in philanthropy in central Ohio. This year, The Columbus Foundation presented The Harrison M. Sayre Award to Larry and Donna James, whose incredible generosity and contributions to the community have transformed the lives of many. Through the Larry H. and Donna A. James Fund, a Donor Advised Fund at The Columbus Foundation, the couple has given generously to numerous charitable causes in central Ohio and beyond, including the Columbus Museum of Art, the Lincoln Theatre Association, United Way of Central Ohio, Marburn Academy, The Center for Healthy Families, and the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, among many others.

Created in 1986, The Columbus Foundation Award recognizes organizations that have made a difference in the quality of life in our community. The Columbus Foundation Award was presented this year to Directions for Youth & Families, in recognition of the important role the organization plays in bringing stability and opportunity to youth, families, and neighborhoods. For more than 100 years, Directions for Youth & Families has carried out its mission to build and inspire hope, healing, and resilience for youth and families—one individual, one family at a time. Through counseling, education, and support programs, the organization serves thousands in central Ohio each year.

As part of the award, Directions for Youth & Families will receive a $100,000 unrestricted grant from The Columbus Foundation. Directions for Youth & Families CEO Duane Casares, MSW, LISW-S, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

About The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation serves more than 3,000 individuals, families, and businesses that have created unique funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. The Columbus Foundation is Your Trusted Philanthropic Advisor® and is among the top 10 largest community foundations in the United States.

September 7, 2022