Dear Family and Friends of Central,

It’s hard to believe we are already two months into the new year. The 2019 Holiday Season was packed with joy, giving, and fellowship, with Central Community House Staff supporting the community in so many ways.

Holiday Impact

  • 496 adults and 1,358 children were linked to FireFighters 4 Kids to ensure presents were under their tree for Christmas.
  • An additional 25 families, composed of 27 adults and 93 children, were adopted by Central volunteers who provided gifts to families we serve through our Family Strengthening and Youth Programs.
  • Over 200 families were provided with holiday meals, including a family feast with all the fixings, ready to go into the oven.
  • 252 adults (including 145 seniors) and 202 children joined us at Central for Holiday Celebrations which included Santa, family photos, music, dancing, activities, and food.

Thank you for your support that made this impact possible!

Central seniors enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together.
Central after-school kids receive build-a-bears on Giving Tuesday, thanks to a generous donation from United Way.
Families visit Santa’s Workshop to receive gifts and do crafts at our Holiday Open House.

As the holidays came to an end, we finally had a moment to breathe, and Central staff and Board Members celebrated all we accomplished together in 2019.

Central staff take a break to enjoy each other’s company amidst the holiday buzz.

Pilot Programs Proven Successful

Among the things we have to celebrate are two new programs piloted in 2019 that demonstrated great success and Impact, and will continue to operate in 2020 – The Academy for Entrepreneurs at Central (ACE) and Village Central. Their impact and growth would not be possible without the partnership and support of four funders, including two that are new to Central – Ohio CDC, PNC, Isabelle Ridgway, and the Franklin County Office on Aging.

In 2019, 181 individuals completed training at ACE. 31 businesses started or expanded, and 32 jobs were created/retained. 

Local entrepreneurs participate in an ACE Access to Capital Workshop

  • Over 400 seniors were served in 2019 through outreach, socialization, navigation/case management, and transportation services.
  • Village Central held its Grand Opening toward the end of 2019, and since August has recruited 40 members, including 9 Advisory Council members who guide the development of programming and recruitment of members, partners and volunteers.
  • In 2019, our Senior Transportation services grew by 25%, as we increased outreach to additional senior living facilities in the Near East – over 250 unique senior individuals received 1,358 round-trip rides, providing access to over 4,592 hours of programming.
  • In 2020, we will be implementing Village Central Arts, an innovative collaboration between TRANSIT ARTS and Village Central. Stay tuned for more details!

Central seniors participate in a Leadership Summit to cultivate and enhance leadership skills and civic engagement.

Village Central Manager, Jim Trickett, enrolls an individual into Village Central at an Open House.

Can you a support a senior through volunteer yard or home maintenance?
A social visit? A ride? Food delivery?
Could you donate or purchase an item needed by a local senior?
Would you like to sponsor a Village Central Membership or event?
To learn more, contact Alex at

Two other new grant investments – a Human Service Grant from the City of Columbus and a Catalyst Award from Franklin County — have allowed Central to increase our case management and crisis alleviation services to better meet local demand and address barriers faced by the community in which we reside and serve.

The Catalyst Award funds a unique, collaborative effort of the five Settlement Houses that make up the Columbus Federation of Settlements (CFS) – Central Community House, Clintonville CRC, Gladden Community House, Godman Guild, and St. Stephen’s Community House.

In just the first 6 months of this partnership, CFS has achieved 1,399 instances of barrier reduction, with the largest areas of focus including housing, employment, and health. Together we supported families and individuals that reside in 40 of the 44 Franklin County Zip Codes, a huge geographical reach!

Another critical partnership with the City of Columbus, and an associated CDBG award, will be resulting in $540,000 of investment in Central’s Main Street Facility – including needed updates to our HVAC, Security/Fire System, Roof, and much more over the next 1-2 years. We could not be more excited about this and thank you, in advance, for your patience and grace during the renovation process.

Creative Engagement Earns Notoriety & Leader Honored as True Original

As is the case with almost all Central programs, art and creative outlets are used to embrace assets and empower; and to create comfort, self-expression, and a process where participants can work through challenges or trauma. No program better exemplifies this than TRANSIT ARTS. And what a year has TRANSIT ARTS had! Over the course of 2019, they built or maintained partnerships with dozens of organizations, including Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks, Harmony Project, WAV, Columbus Museum of Art, and the King Arts Complex.

TRANSIT ARTS was named #5 in the Top 10 2019 Arts Organizations by Columbus Underground! 

TRANSIT ARTS performed in two sold out 10th Anniversary performances with the Harmony Project; and was featured in their 10th Anniversary video across all social media and in front of 10,000 people at Nationwide Arena! Watch their performance here.

And just last month, Jackie, along with her husband Robert Post, were honored by The Columbus Foundation as “True Original” awardees for 2020. True Originals shine a light on those representing the best minds and hearts in region. This award came with a $5,000 contribution to our TRANSIT ARTS program.
Watch the award video.

We are extremely fortunate to have Jackie as part of our team, and I am personally thankful to have her as a sounding block, advisor, and collaborator. Her leadership, creativity, and passion help strengthen our organization and community each and every day. Congratulations, Jackie!

Central Responds to Federal Policy Impact

Amidst all we have to celebrate are immense challenges faced by the non-profit community, Central, and the families we serve.

Currently, a rule change to the federal food stamp program has been proposed that would leave hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Americans, including those served by Central, without the monthly assistance of SNAP meant to provide those families with some savings so they can become financially secure and move out of poverty.

We urge you to take action and tell your representatives in congress not to take food from struggling individuals and families.   

Central is bracing for potential impact, and focusing on what we can do to lessen the burden on the Near East community.

  • Our Family Strengthening programs and staff are here to assist individuals with combating barriers that could help alleviate the impact of reduced SNAP benefits, including connection to food assistance, budgeting and financial education, and employment training.
  • We host monthly community dinners that are free and open to anyone to come enjoy a home-cooked meal, and build friendships and community.
  • Our after-school program for children provides healthy snacks and meals to help children be focused, nourished, and prepared to learn. Extra snacks, if we have them, are often sent home with children to take to their families, or made available to anyone visiting our facilities.
  • Our Senior programming includes weekly meals, and healthy snacks during events and excursions.

Thank you for continuing to travel this journey with us – one where fellowship and community are embraced, all have value and contribute, and collaborations and innovation support our growth.

Until next time…

Tammy Forrest, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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