Franklin County Commissioners award Besa $250,000 to support area’s most distressed neighborhoods
Columbus, Ohio — The Franklin County Board of Commissioners this week voted to award Besa $250,000 toward its Community Recovery & Neighborhood Initiative, which will direct resources to Central Ohio’s most distressed neighborhoods that have historically been redlined.
This matches a $250,000 grant that the City of Columbus awarded Besa in the fall of 2021 to support the initiative.
“No community has been immune to the impacts of the pandemic, but our lowest-asset neighborhoods have shouldered a disproportionate burden,” Deputy Franklin County Administrator Joy Bivens said. “We are proud to partner with Besa to help build community resiliency and support a strong, equitable recovery.”
When COVID upended every aspect of life, organizations around the area — from the City of Columbus to several of Besa’s 100+ nonprofit partners — called on Besa to rally volunteers to help pack masks, distribute food, support shelters and more. Because of Besa, $30,000 in supplies were raised for frontline nonprofits in COVID’s first desperate weeks. Because of Besa, 12,000 volunteers were rallied to give over 30,000 hours across Columbus during one of the nation’s largest documented volunteer shortages. Because of Besa, Bread of Life food pantry in North Linden was able to keep its doors open on Fridays throughout the pandemic. Because of Besa, over 3,500 seniors in need received $185,000 in Christmas gifts from Secret Santas through two years of painful isolation. Because of Besa, our neighbors in greatest need — typically those of color and living in places of concentrated poverty like the Southside, the Near East Side and the Hilltop — got extra help when they needed it most.
Now, Besa is expanding its COVID response into a long-term Community Recovery & Neighborhood Initiative to inspire thousands more volunteers to support the community in powerful ways, ultimately getting more people power, advocacy and support to where it’s needed most. The effort will cost $1M. Besa has also secured $450,000 toward the initiative from other major partners, including the City of Columbus, AEP Foundation, CoverMyMeds and NiSource, bringing the total to $700,000.
Through the initiative, Besa anticipates managing approximately 20 Community Recovery projects a month and achieving the following annual outcomes:
- 240 volunteer engagement events with basic needs and critical service providers
- 2,000 community residents activated through volunteerism
- 5,000 collective service hours dedicated to nonprofits providing essential services
- $100,000 in tangible goods and donations through community supply drives
“We are humbled and grateful that the county is placing this level of trust in Besa to help our neighbors in need in even bigger ways,” Besa CEO Matthew Goldstein said. “This investment will spark even more civic engagement, and it will create meaningful impact for individuals and families throughout Franklin County.”
Since launching in 2012, Besa has rallied 60,000 corporate and individual volunteers to give 145,000 hours on over 10,000 service projects and has made $50M in community impact.
Besa is a Columbus nonprofit dedicated to supporting those who need it most by connecting people and businesses to community service. Besa offers a portal at www.besa.org where Columbus residents can easily find and register for volunteer opportunities citywide and it helps corporate partners manage and strengthen their philanthropic efforts.
CONTACT // Kristy Eckert, Kristy Eckert Communications, 614.746.2787, email@example.com