September 2021

The Columbus Foundation makes Foundational Investment in CUL

The Columbus Foundation is dedicating a foundational $500,000 investment to seed a more inclusive economy and strengthen the core operations of the Columbus Urban League (CUL). The unrestricted gift will be dedicated to advancing social justice and racial equity by shoring up key organizational infrastructure needs, including personnel, technology and management systems.

The Foundation sees the gift as critical to a more inclusive economy, according to President and CEO Douglas Kridler. “We are proud to stand alongside the Columbus Urban League in the pursuit of a more just and equitable community. As a longstanding pillar of our social sector, CUL and CUL President and CEO Stephanie Hightower demonstrate exceptional tenacity and resolve to improve the lives of African American community members,” said Kridler. “Through their comprehensive array of initiatives, they address a broad spectrum of needs and provide valuable resources that improve
the lives of those they serve as well as the well-being of our community overall.”

Hightower noted that CUL was both “delighted and honored” by The Foundation’s recognition and generosity. “Every successful organization must recruit and retain great talent and constantly reinvent systems to deliver services efficiently and compassionately,” she said. “Too often, donations are linked solely to certain programs. These strictures can inadvertently starve the strong core needed to staff appropriately, manage thoughtfully and measure objectively.”

Hightower also pointed to research from Echoing Green and The Bridgespan Group that found that historic philanthropic red-lining practices and programming-only grants play a role in limiting and diminishing the ability of Black-led organizations to fulfill their missions. Specifically, this research documented that unrestricted net assets of Black-led organizations are 76% smaller than their white-led counterparts.

“It is a credit to The Columbus Foundation that they deliberately and intentionally want to move Central Ohio away from long-standing inequities,” she added. “We are excited to have them as allies, partners and leaders in advocating for social justice innovation, economic empowerment and organizational capacity for strategy and management.”

Dan Sharpe, Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management at The Columbus Foundation, elaborated further: “The Columbus Foundation recognizes the importance of unrestricted support in empowering our community’s nonprofits to do their best work. Talented staff with appropriate workloads, modern technology and administrative effectiveness are critical to a successful and innovative organization. We are excited to see this funding accelerate CUL’s momentum in attaining economic mobility, racial equity and social justice in Central Ohio.”

Watch the video announcement below:

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