CBUS Entrepreneurs Give Back; START Fund Progress

The START fund continues to grow and provide entrepreneurs a collective way to give back to the community that supports them. Launched in late 2016, the fund has raised over $40,000 from nearly 50 companies individuals.

START has gifted $15,000 thus far, with $5,000 each granted to Franklinton Farms, The Overwatch Partnership, and The Jay Richardson Foundation.

On behalf of START, I am excited to report that the organization’s first three grantees are producing the kind of results envisioned by the entrepreneurs who support the fund.

Franklinton Farms (formerly Franklinton Gardens)

Nick Stanich, Executive Director

Who We Are: Franklinton Farms is a non-profit urban farm dedicated to growing and sharing healthy food, creating beauty, and building community with our neighbors. The farm is a scattered site, non-profit urban farm with 12 locations that are managed collectively as an urban farm and distributed throughout the neighborhoods they serve. Over the past 11 years, it has grown from an entirely volunteer basis to an organization that has two full-time staff members and another five under contract. In 2018, more than 1,000 people volunteered more than 3,500 hours of labor.

How START Helped: The START grant helped to build out the Learning Garden, which is where they hold gatherings and educate youth and families around food and food systems. It is near the Avondale Elementary School and the Gladden Community House. Holding educational tours on the working farms was hard. This is a more comfortable space and they are excited for a strong 2019 to anchor education programs here.

Our 2019 Ask: Franklinton Farms is looking for funding to support a full or part-time educator to offer a consistent experience in the Learning Garden. Another ask is in-kind partner support. The farms have a large footprint, with a lot of perimeters that offer an opportunity for landscaping and beautification. There are currently not enough resources to build out and maintain all of the areas, so they would welcome donations of landscape plants, nicer hardscaping, or even assistance in grinding down and replacing broken sidewalks. And, of course, they always welcome volunteers to help weed and plant. Contact Franklinton Farms here.

The Overwatch Partnership

John Hrivnak, Board of Directors President

Eric Gentzel, Board Member and former Board President

Who We Are: The Overwatch Partnership, a grassroots non-profit organization founded in 2016, provides mentoring and career development support to the veteran community, while also supporting local veteran hiring advocacy efforts. Local business leaders and professionals (veterans and non-veterans) volunteer as mentors, and are paired with a veteran who signs up as a mentee. Over the course of nine months, the mentor and a talent specialist work with the mentee to help build his or her professional network, refine resumes, and prepare for the workforce. Overwatch Partnership has attracted 90 mentors who have supported about 120 mentees. Overwatch also sponsors quarterly networking and social events.

How START Helped: The START funding supported Overwatch through its earliest mentee programs and provided resources to hire a part-time student veteran to help manage the program.

Our 2019 Ask: The Overwatch Partnership runs lean. The success of the mentoring program – and the enthusiasm among veterans and volunteers – is significantly greater than current resources can provide. The group is looking for funding to hire a full-time manager, which could significantly increase the life-changing support that Overwatch provides to the veteran community. Additionally, more mentor volunteers are always needed.

The Jay Richardson Foundation (TJRF)

Deborah Jonson, Co-founder

Who We Are: TJRF is a non-profit organization that focuses on the long-term success of adolescent youth. The group’s unique approach, which focuses on helping high school students come up with a personal plan for their own success, shifts the emphasis from youth as individuals to a holistic, familial responsibility.

How START Helped: The support of START helped fund a two-day Teen Summit, a career expo where 60 companies participated to expose children to every possible career opportunity, students participated in workshops and heard from inspirational speakers. START also helped support the expansion of their resources to include materials for parents and journals for students.

Our 2019 Ask: Beyond donations, which are always needed, they are looking for resources like books that could stimulate a child’s interest in a career or that could provide parenting advice for families. They would welcome funding for small scholarships for students to garner coding skills – or for parents to attend a one-day seminar on parenting skills. They welcome companies to participate in their 2019 Team Summit on June 15-16.

To learn more above START, click here for FAQs.

To apply for a START grant, click here.

To volunteer, click here.

To donate, click here and click “continue as a guest”.

START, the Columbus region’s first-ever entrepreneur giving fund, is a unique charitable fund supporting BIG ideas that work towards improving the lives and opportunities of the people who live and work in Columbus. START provides entrepreneurs and startup teams a collective and efficient way to contribute financially to the very community that supported their innovation. Led by an entrepreneur advisory committee, START funds non-profit organizations in the areas of STEM education, Workforce Development, Connecting Communities, and Sustainable Food Solutions. START is an ongoing donor-advised fund, set up at the Columbus Foundation.