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June 05, 2019


Contact: Amy Vick,, 614/251-4000

Columbus Foundation Announces $2.1M in Arts Support—Largest Amount in 75-Year History

Special grants to Besa and ROX also announced!

Columbus, OH (June 5, 2019)—The Columbus Foundation today announced record-setting investments in the central Ohio arts sector for 2019, as well as additional grants aimed to support the growth and innovation of visionary nonprofits in our community.

“Arts and culture in Columbus is a key component to the overall health and vitality of our community,” said Douglas F. Kridler, President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation. “From the smallest of arts organizations run by volunteers to the largest arts organizations producing world class events, the arts here are helping establish Columbus’ reputation as a truly innovative and forward-looking city.”


Thanks to the generosity of Columbus Foundation donors who have chosen to leave unrestricted gifts to help fuel a better future, the Foundation awards grants annually to high-performing arts organizations that meet community needs and expand arts and cultural experiences throughout central Ohio.

For 2019, 60 arts organizations received a total of $1,195,936 to support some of the community’s most treasured cultural institutions (see full list at end). The Foundation saw a 30 percent increase in applications from nonprofits for the Community Arts Fund, which primarily provides grants to organizations with budgets under $350,000.

In addition, seven organizations received a combined total of more than $800,000 as participants in the Foundation’s Big Explore, a community-wide celebration on December 29, 2018 that celebrated the 75th anniversary by offering free admission to these locations. More than 55,000 people attended one or more of the attractions and attendance records were broken multiple venues.

Additional arts grants include $100,000 to Harmony Project, to help build out its administrative infrastructure and community concerts and $50,000 to Experience Columbus, to support the hiring of local artists for the upcoming American Society of Association Executives conference.


In May, the Foundation’s Governing Committee also approved grants focused on helping build the capacity of growing organizations impacting a broad scope of good work, from volunteerism and service in the community to empowering young women.

Grants include:

  • $100,000 to Besa, to assist the growing organization as it connects businesses with volunteer activities.
  • $75,000 to Ruling Our Experiences (ROX), to support the early build-out of a multi-disciplinary institute to provide training and professional development for adults working with and caring for girls.


About The Columbus Foundation
The Columbus Foundation serves nearly 3,000 individuals, families, and businesses that have created unique funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. The Columbus Foundation is Your Trusted Philanthropic Advisor® and one of the top 10 largest community foundations in the United States.