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Critical Need Alert

Our World, Our Community


This Critical Need Alert will provide immediate financial resources to nonprofit organizations serving refugees in central Ohio.

RAISED TO DATE $586,500.00
With your generous partnership, we hope to exceed our goal of $500,000 to invest in seven nonprofit organizations providing critical, immediate funding to those on the front lines of welcoming, and continuing support for, individuals and families who are new to our community. Thanks to a grant approved by The Columbus Foundation's Governing Committee, we kicked off this Critical Need Alert with $100,000.

WE LIVE IN A DYNAMIC, WELCOMING COMMUNITY where our neighbors come from countries around the world. As Columbus’s demographics continue to change, we recognize that immigrants and refugees are an integral part of our present, our future, and our workforce. Franklin County’s foreign-born population has grown by 336 percent since 1990—and now makes up 11 percent of central Ohio’s population. These individuals help weave the fabric of our community. But oftentimes they arrive in the United States with little more than the hope for a better future.


Just as local refugee and immigrant-serving organizations have had to scale back and reduce staff in the past few years, there has been an increase in demand for their services due to recent world events.


Volatile situations in multiple countries, including Afghanistan and Ukraine, have resulted in individuals and families being airlifted out in a matter of days—leaving, in many cases, literally everything behind.


As a result, hundreds (and potentially thousands) of refugees are coming to, or are already in, central Ohio. This shift happened so quickly that local nonprofit organizations that help resettle them have had very little time to plan and ramp up resources and critical, basic needs like weather-appropriate clothing and housing.


The refugees eligible for resettlement services face tremendous challenges, particularly in the areas of housing, employment, transportation, and ongoing legal needs. The pandemic has exacerbated the most difficult aspects—from social supports, employment availability, and working conditions, to housing, family reunification, and the immigration process itself.


The Columbus Foundation’s Community Research and Grants Management team has been working closely with nonprofit organizations that address issues impacting refugees. We believe investing in immigrant and refugee communities supports the advancement of racial, ethnic, and class equity goals in our community.


This Critical Need Alert was launched to help refugees eligible for resettlement services by providing immediate financial resources to seven immigrant- and refugee-serving nonprofits that have been identified and vetted by the Foundation as best equipped to respond to this and future crises. 


A $100,000 grant was approved by the Governing Committee to kick off the Critical Need Alert: Our World, Our Community.  


We look forward to providing an update on grants made through this effort once it concludes.


Funds raised through this Critical Need Alert will help seven local nonprofits serve the hundreds, potentially thousands, of refugees coming into central Ohio.


Your gift will enable these refugees to receive assistance securing housing and employment, as well as be connected to services including healthcare and health insurance. Families will receive programming for their children and access to legal services as needed.


With your generous partnership, we hope to exceed our goal of $500,000 to invest in seven nonprofit organizations providing critical, immediate funding to those on the front lines of welcoming, and continuing support for, individuals and families who are new to our community.


Advocates for Basic Legal Equality dba ABLE


Protect and defend family unity and community stability through legal services to vulnerable, low-income immigrants and refugees. 

Community Refugee and Immigration Services, Inc.


Help refugees and immigrants reach safety and stability, sustain self-sufficiency, and achieve successful integration into the central Ohio community.

Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services


To be the focal point of integration for immigrants, refugee families, and low-income individuals in central Ohio in order to improve the quality of their lives, to facilitate their integration through education, training, supportive services, resettlement, self-development opportunities, and to increase the awareness of their culture and heritage in central Ohio.

Fugees Family Inc


Advancing educational justice for refugee and immigrant youth, Fugees Family empowers refugees and immigrants to integrate successfully into their new country by providing them the support and structure they need to realize their vast potential.

Jewish Family Services


Helping individuals and families achieve economic self-sufficiency and emotional stability.

Legal Aid Society of Columbus


Provide civil legal aid and advocacy to combat unfairness and injustice and to help people rise out of poverty.

US Together, Inc.


Assist refugees and immigrants who have escaped wars, violence, tyranny, and extreme poverty to find safe haven in central Ohio.

Critical Need Alerts (CNAs) were created for donors and community members to partner with the Foundation in a shared investment opportunity to support our community’s greatest needs.

CNAs have leveraged millions to support a wide range of initiatives, including childcare, food for families, basic needs, workforce development, fresh food, the arts, and youth experiencing homelessness. CNAs are identified by our Community Research and Grants Management team, which works closely with the local nonprofit organizations that address these issues.