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The Power of Field of Interest Funds

For 80 years, The Columbus Foundation has worked with passionate individuals, families, businesses, and organizations to help them achieve their charitable giving goals through the most effective philanthropy possible. One vehicle through which donors are helping to strengthen and improve our community is Field of Interest Funds.

Through this fund option, donors make contributions to specific areas of interest that have meaning to them—such as the arts, youth services, education, healthcare, or conservation. Once a donor establishes a Field of Interest Fund, The Columbus Foundation’s knowledgeable Community Research and Grants Management team identifies and makes grants to organizations that are making the greatest impact in the donor’s areas of interest.

Fueled by the generosity of donors who have established Field of Interest Funds, The Columbus Foundation awards grants to nonprofits twice each year through a competitive grantmaking process. These grants—known as Focused Funds grants—typically range between $1,000 and $10,000 and support a wide range of areas, from historic preservation and mental health to summer camp maintenance and end-of-life care.

“With a Field of Interest Fund, your generosity can join with others’ to affect organizations that align with your interest in a specific cause or social issue—heightened with the collaboration of our community research experts,” said Jeff Byars, CAP®, Associate Director for Donor Services at The Columbus Foundation.

In 2023, a record-setting number of nonprofits applied to receive Focused Funds grants from The Columbus Foundation, demonstrating the important and growing role these funds have in supporting the community—now and in perpetuity.

One such grant awarded earlier this year was to Canine Companions, a nonprofit that offers individuals with disabilities a means to enhance their independence by providing expertly trained service dogs at no cost to the recipient.

Jenn Smith of Canine Companions trains a future service dog at the organization’s training center in New Albany.

The grant, made possible by the Alfred B. Ashman, Jr. Memorial Trust #2 Fund and the Otto and Beatrice Knoll Field of Interest Fund, will help cover the overall costs of raising, training, and matching service dogs with people needing this support. Another organization that was recently awarded a Focused Funds grant is Hospice of Central Ohio to support the Pathways of Hope program. Pathways to Hope provides grief-focused mental health services to adults, families, and children at no cost. This grant was provided from the Arthur and Sara Jo Kobacker, Alfred and Ida Kobacker Fund.

To learn more about Field of Interest Funds, click here or email The Columbus Foundation’s Donor Services team at



Canine Companions train future service dogs at the organization’s training center in New Albany.