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In the spirit of celebration, our philanthropy awards honor incredible legacies of generosity and innovation in our community.



Harrison M. Sayre Award

The Harrison M. Sayre Award, given in honor of the Foundation’s founder and 25-year volunteer director, recognizes leadership in philanthropy in central Ohio. As Mr. Sayre so well stated, “the best way to extend your life is to give to the community.”



The Columbus Foundation Award

Created in 1986, The Columbus Foundation Award recognizes organizations that have made a difference in the quality of life in our community.


Leadership in Philanthropy Award

Established in 2011, the Leadership in Philanthropy Award of Community Foundations, Inc. is awarded periodically to recognize outstanding philanthropic contributions to communities beyond central Ohio.

The Spirit of Columbus Award

Created to recognize individuals who have exhibited an exemplary community spirit through their accomplishments, this award, also known as The Jerries, represents the true spirit of our community. In 2013, Jerrie Mock was named the first honoree for her trailblazing spirit. 

Acorn Award

The Acorn Award recognizes a Columbus Foundation fund that displays a generous spirit of giving and inspires others while supporting community. 

5 Nonprofits to Watch

The '5 Nonprofits to Watch' platform debuted in 2014 as a program to celebrate local nonprofit organizations that offer critical services in our community and are poised for an exceptional year of growth and progress. 


Harrison M. Sayre Award
2023 Renée and Dwight Smith
2022 Donna and Larry James
2021 Tom and Nancy Lurie
2020 Catherine Willis
2019 Joseph and Linda Chlapaty
2018 Founders of The Women's Fund of Central Ohio
2017 David and Mo Meuse
2016 American Electric Power and American Electric Power Foundation
2015 Don and Nancy Kelley and Family
2014 The Crane Family
2013 Robert Jr. and Mary Lazarus
2012 Bob and Missy Weiler
2011 Bob and Peggy Walter
2010 Limited Brands, Inc. and the L Brands Foundation
2009 Barbara and Al Siemer
2008 Ann I. Wolfe and John F. Wolfe
2007 Richard J. Solove
2006 Don and Thekla Reese Shackelford
2001 Maj. Gen. Raymond E. Mason, Jr. AUS (ret.) and Margaret E. Mason
2000 John H. McConnell
1999 Elizabeth M. Ross; Shirle N. Westwater; John G. McCoy
1998 John B. (Bernie) Gerlach
1997 Battelle
1995 Leslie H. Wexner
1994 Ingram-White Castle Family
1993 Early Donors:
  Olga Anna Jones
  Preston Davis
  H. Russell Culp
  Robert W. Stevenson
1992 Robert S. Crane, Jr.; Walter English
1991 Nationwide Insurance Companies
1990 Richard Heer Oman
The Columbus Foundation Award
2023 Jewish Family Services
2022 Directions for Youth and Families
2021 IMPACT Community Action
2020 Human Service Chamber of Franklin County and Michael Corey, Executive Director
2019 Alvis, Inc.
2018 Community Development for All People and Rev. John Edgar, Executive Director
2017 Lutheran Social Services
2016 Columbus Museum of Art
2015 Goodwill Columbus
2014 Wexner Center for the Arts
2013 Furniture Bank of Central Ohio
2012 Habitat for Humanity—MidOhio
2011 Jazz Arts Group of Columbus
2010 Mid-Ohio Foodbank
2009 Franklin Park Conservatory
2008 Columbus Housing Partnership
2007 LifeCare Alliance and its Volunteers
2006 Maryhaven and Paul H. Coleman
2005 Columbus Metropolitan Library
2004 Virginia O’Keefe and Amethyst, Inc.
2002 YMCA of Central Ohio, Volunteers, and Staff
2001 Jimmy Crum and Recreation Unlimited
2000 Early Leaders of the YWCA, Karen Schwarzwalder, and the YWCA of Columbus
1999 Cee Cullman and Action for Children
1998 Volunteers Who Saved the Ohio Theatre, Doug Kridler, and the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA)
1997 Leslie A. Bostic, Buckeye Ranch Service Board, and The Buckeye Ranch
1995 Nancy Jeffrey, Melvin L. Schottenstein, and the Community Shelter Board
1994 Sister Mary Andrew Matesich, O.P. and Ohio Dominican College; Arthur G. James, M.D., and The Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute at The Ohio State University
1993 Children’s Hospital Early Leaders: F.O. Schoedinger, Dr. Earl Hayes Baxter, Ms. Truitt (Daisy) Sellers
1993 Contemporary Leaders: Ann I. Wolfe, Dr. Grant Morrow, Stuart W. Williams
1992 United Way of Franklin County, Inc. and the People of Franklin County
1991 Thekla R. Shackelford, Arthur J. Kobacker, and I KNOW I CAN
1990 Melvin B. Dodge, Jack Hanna, and Columbus Zoological Park Association
1987 Fran Haskins, Operation Feed, and Nationwide Insurance Companies
1986 Sanford N. Hallock II, Walter English, and Center Of Science and Industry
Leadership in Philanthropy Award
2017 Louise (Omie) Warner, M.D., and Clyde W. Gosnell, Jr.
2016 Patricia Duke Robinson
2013 John D. and Jane Kidd
2012 Founding Board of the Pickaway County Community Foundation
2011 Evan and Elizabeth Davis