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July 06, 2016


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

Grants Support Opportunities To Strengthen Thriving Local Nonprofits

Columbus, OH (July 6, 2016)Two vibrant, growing nonprofits that provide opportunities for youth and adults in our community received grants from The Columbus Foundation as Continuous Improvement grantees.

Continuous Improvement grantees are high-performing nonprofits that receive Foundation grants for several years to help take an organization to its next level of excellence. United Schools Network (USN), a Continuous Improvement grantee since 2013, and Harmony Project, since 2014, will use recent grants to address evolving needs as both organizations continue to expand.

“USN and Harmony are outstanding grantee partners. Each is led by remarkably talented individuals who are passionate about improving the community and creating opportunities for young people,” said Lisa S. Courtice, Executive Vice President of The Columbus Foundation. “The Foundation, and our donors who co-invest in these organizations, continue to be impressed and inspired by Andy Boy and David Brown.”

United Schools Network (USN)

A grant for $309,567, thanks to the Margaret J. Bauermeister Fund and an anonymous fund, was awarded to USN  to fund a Chief Schools Officer, and an Alumni Services Coordinator; to support a Venture for America Fellow to help create and launch the School Performance Institute; and for executive staff development and strategic planning.


USN (formerly known as Columbus Collegiate Academy) was founded by Andy Boy, who currently serves as its Chief Executive Officer. It was launched as a middle school for disadvantaged students to help them achieve academic distinction and become citizens of integrity. High expectations for scholarship, behavior, and an achievement-oriented school culture ensure all students are equipped to enter, succeed in, and graduate from the most demanding high schools and colleges. For the past seven years, USN has had either one of the highest, and for several years, the highest, performing public middle school in Franklin County, according to its School Performance Index score on the School Report Card.

USN became a Continuous Improvement grantee in 2013 and received a $375,000 grant. This funding helped USN secure an $800,000 Inflexion Fund grant from the Walton Family Foundation. In total, as a Continuous Improvement grantee, The Columbus Foundation has invested $1.4 million in the expansion and quality improvement of the USN schools and programs.

Harmony Project

A grant for $90,000, thanks to the Robert Bartels Fund and William C. and Naoma W. Denison Fund, was awarded to Harmony Project Productions Inc. to strengthen fundraising, operations, and staffing.


Harmony Project, led by Founder and Creative Director David Brown, was approved for Continuous Improvement grantmaking in late 2014. Harmony Project’s mission is to connect communities across social divides through art, education, and volunteerism. It provides opportunities for individuals of different cultures, religions, ages, affiliations, and orientations to work together.

Over the past year, Foundation staff has been in communication with Harmony Project’s leadership, discussing pressing needs, strategic direction, and mission-related programming. Harmony Project became a Continuous Improvement grantee in late 2014 and received an $180,000 grant in 2015.


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.