One of The Columbus Foundation’s most significant funding initiatives, The Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB) is a web-based, counselor-assisted program that helps Ohioans apply for and receive benefits including health coverage, energy assistance, food assistance, tax help, and most recently, veteran’s benefits.
An effort to launch The Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB) began in 2006 when the National Council of Churches (NCC) approached The Columbus Foundation to support the introduction of the Benefit Bank in Ohio. The Foundation issued a Critical Need Alert to donors, asking them to help fight poverty among the working poor. More than $114,000 was contributed by donors, $100,000 of which was matched by the Foundation. In total, $214,500 was awarded to NCC. Soon after, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks (formerly Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks) assumed responsibility for the program.
As of July 31, 2015, OBB has received nearly $3.2 million in support from The Columbus Foundation and its donors and served hundreds of thousands of individuals and households. Thousands of trained counselors are helping individuals and families across Ohio at more than 1,350 OBB sites. The Ohio Benefit Bank had returned nearly $1.4 billion in potential income enhancements to individuals and families in need throughout Ohio, and it has become the most successful application assistance program across the nation.