Jim and Francie Henry both grew up in modest, middle class families where helping others was not the exception, but the norm.
With strong, diverse cultures (Jim is Scottish/Irish and Francie is Greek) they gravitate toward supporting nonprofit organizations that appreciate gender, cultural, and ethnic differences.
“We were always taught these differences are what provide the spirit and vitality of a community,” Francie said.
Immigrants from Greece, Francie’s parents settled in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, where her mother and father owned a restaurant.
“We didn’t have a lot, but we were taught there’s always a way to use your talents to give back to those less fortunate,” Francie said. “The church was important to us, and our car always smelled like Greek chicken and lemon potatoes because my parents would cook all the time, taking food to the church for fundraisers.”
Jim, a native of Cincinnati, grew up with four siblings. His experience was similar.
“One thing I did know was the importance of contributing what we could,” he said.
Early in their careers, both worked for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati. They moved to Columbus in 2003 to raise their children, Charlie and Alexandra, in New Albany. Their jobs offered an opportunity to become involved in the central Ohio nonprofit community. This knowledge took Jim’s career into the nonprofit world, where he worked for Children’s Hunger Alliance and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.
“This involvement opened our eyes to the needs of the community, and we feel that’s important to pass along to our kids. We’ve tried to instill in them that, as a family, we give back what we can and help others.”
— Jim Henry
In 2016, the couple established the Jim and Francie Henry Family Fund at The Columbus Foundation to facilitate their family philanthropy. Both teenagers are actively involved in the discussions surrounding what organizations to invest in. The family’s current areas of interest include behavioral health, education, the LGBTQ community, and wellness.
Today, Francie is Regional President for Fifth Third Bank, and Jim serves as Director of Sales, Great Lake Region, for SCG Fields, LLC. They are both still actively involved throughout the community, with Francie serving as chair of the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Board, as a board member for Flying Horse Farms and STAR at The Ohio State University, and on the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Operating Board, among others. Jim serves on the Zoo Association Board and the board of Ohio Campus Compact.
The family loves Columbus, and the collaborative spirit that brings its residents together.
“That’s what makes this town great. It’s generous, diverse, and people rally around causes. And it’s all in the right spirit, for the betterment of the community we live and work in, and for the next generation,” Francie said.