Medical Mutual and our co-founding partner, Smart Business, welcome you to the 13th annual Pillar Awards for Community Service. The Pillar Awards recognize organizations and their employees that are truly connecting with their communities through their time, commitment and giving, whether it be volunteering, charitable giving, pro bono work and more.
As we all continue to face the challenges of a global pandemic, this year’s honorees demonstrate that businesses go beyond the world of commerce and are truly invested community members. As neighbors helping neighbors, they are creating ties that bind communities together.
Medical Mutual, like many of this year’s honorees, makes a commitment to community part of our culture. This year has presented new challenges to our communities, but we have worked to face them. Our efforts include immunization education and advocacy, and working with partners to make COVID-19 vaccines more available to underserved populations. These efforts went hand in hand with our continuing work to address health disparities and our commitment to fostering diversity, equity and inclusion, both within our company and beyond its walls.
One of the annual Pillar Awards is a recognition given to a company whose employees best illustrate the values of Medical Mutual’s own SHARE program. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate. Medical Mutual employees are at the heart of our SHARE program, which is a cornerstone of our community giving efforts. Through the dedication and generosity of our employees, the program coordinated dozens of events to support nonprofit and community groups this past year. It’s an important way that Medical Mutual connects to our communities.
All of this year’s Pillar Award honorees demonstrate that connectedness to community. We are pleased to join Smart Business to honor these companies, because we know that when we work together, we can create communities whose members have a greater opportunity to thrive and prosper.
On behalf of Medical Mutual and Smart Business, congratulations to all our 2022 Pillar Award honorees.
Air Force One
Greg Guy, CEO
Air Force One is a family-owned regional provider of HVAC and facility solutions, serving thousands of commercial, educational, government, health care and industrial facilities. Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, it employs more than 250 people across the state.
Air Force One recognizes how incredibly important it is to give its associates the opportunity to give back to the communities around them. Not only does it enrich the community they are serving, it cultivates positive traits in the associates, as well.
To promote an atmosphere of service and giving back to the community, CEO Greg Guy created the Air Force One Service to Others (STO) philanthropic program to support activities that enhance and serve communities in which employees live and work and address issues that impact quality of life. Associates can donate up to 24 work hours per calendar year toward a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. In 2021, associates have logged 252 hours of volunteer work, with a significant impact on local communities.
STO hours have been logged at activities including volunteering at local churches to help with landscaping and volunteering to service HVAC units. A number of employees also participated in a volunteer day at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank Farm Collective, where they helped prepare the facility for the upcoming season.
In addition, Guy created the Air Force One Community Foundation in 2013. Since its inception, it has given more than $200,000 to charitable organizations. Some of the company’s larger contributions have been to Pelotonia, Columbus Humane and the United Schools Network.
Nathan Mott, President
CoverMyMeds has built a reputation for positively contributing to the communities where its people live, work and play. The company has a long history of supporting diverse nonprofit organizations that align with the four pillars of its giving strategy — racial equity and justice, health and wellness, education and workforce readiness.
CoverMyMeds, which helps people get the medicine they need to live healthier lives, looks to employees to help lead community engagement efforts among organizations that demonstrate the company’s core values and that meet the needs of its neighbors. That includes engaging with employee resource groups to select nonprofit partners and programming to focus on. It prioritizes organizations that its employees are involved with through volunteerism, philanthropic support and leadership positions.
Led by president Nathan Mott and inspired by employee feedback, CoverMyMeds collaborates with Dress for Success Columbus, which empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing support, professional attire and the development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. Dress for Success Columbus provides women with workforce readiness and employment retention programs, including interview and employment suiting, a career center to prep for job interviews with coaching and resume help, mentoring programs, professional women’s groups, a leadership conference and more. Nearly 70 percent of the women Dress for Success Columbus serves are BIPOC and more than half are single mothers. Moreover, 24 percent of the organization’s clients come from the Franklinton and Hilltop neighborhoods — neighborhoods that CoverMyMeds now calls home and where it focuses community giving efforts.
Tanny Crane, President and CEO
Crane Group’s mission is to foster a thriving family business that honors the company’s entrepreneurial roots while embracing new ideas for the future. By investing in people and partnerships, it seeks to improve the well-being of associates, family members and communities. It also seeks to create value through the combination of patient capital, forward thinking and a passion for developing people.
Crane Group’s leadership and its employees live by a set of core values: Respect. Family. Community. These values describe the behaviors and attitudes that guide its actions. The company treats everyone with respect and dignity and values a rich diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and styles. Led by President and CEO Tanny Crane, the organization strives to be the best place its associates have ever worked by encouraging teamwork and a sense of family. It acts as a leader and steward to the community and seeks to improve the quality of life for everyone where its associates live and work.
Business is what Crane Group does, but the community is what is serves. Each year, it awards approximately $1 million toward philanthropic endeavors that provide the opportunity to positively enhance the quality of life in Central Ohio. It invests time and resources to support and advocate for efforts and programs that seek to increase access and opportunities for historically marginalized and underserved people. Additionally, the company’s leadership believes in being a strategic partner to provide long-term solutions to address structural racism faced by groups in its communities, particularly black, indigenous and people of color.
GBQ Partners LLC
Darci Congrove, Managing Director
While GBQ Partners has changed in size and scope, its culture and the way it cares for its team members and communities have not changed. Amid the challenges of the pandemic, the firm has remained committed to responding to its communities’ needs.
Over the past three years, GBQ and its associates have contributed an average of more than 1,000 hours and $100,000 annually to nonprofits, understanding that when its people flourish, its communities thrive and business grows. GBQ’s “Committed to Community” initiative offers associates time to volunteer at charitable organizations, and once busy season ends in April, GBQ closes its offices at 2 p.m. on Fridays for the rest of the year.
In 2018, Vacation Time Off hours were implemented and are awarded annually to all associates to encourage and promote their philanthropic efforts. This gives them the opportunity to enjoy their lives outside of work and volunteer time and money during company-organized sessions at the Ronald McDonald House, United Way and Pelotonia, among others. Each year, employees contribute considerable time and money to more than 100 nonprofits.
GBQ, led by Managing Director Darci Congrove, also has a sponsorship/contribution process in which associates can submit support requests for an organization they are involved with and feel passionate about. This approach allows GBQ to impact organizations that associates are involved with but might not otherwise donate to. Requests aren’t always monetary; they range from the firm sponsoring a table at an event to an associate encouraging co-workers to volunteer for an organization.
Leah Westwater, Owner
GIVE Yoga is a community-focused yoga business with studio locations in Clintonville and German Village. GIVE Yoga employs dozens of teachers, offers thousands of classes annually, has trained more than 160 yoga teachers and offers international retreats. The company and its employees are committed to leaving the world better than they found it by promoting physical and mental well-being through accessible yoga and other resources.
After acquiring her home studio, Balanced Yoga, in 2015 — later rebranded as GIVE Yoga — Owner Leah Westwater set out to share the transformational power of yoga, not just with paying customers but with nonprofits, their employees and the populations they serve. Through volunteerism and financial support, GIVE Yoga has supported organizations including Youth Yoga Project, Huckleberry House, Africa Yoga Project, Flying Horse Farms, ROX, Local Matters, Zora’s House, the ACLU, Healing Broken Circles, Restoring Our Own Through Transformation, Compassionate Communication Center of Ohio and others.
In 2017, the GIVE Yoga Fund of The Columbus Foundation was established to serve as the business’s philanthropic arm. The fund, which empowers community partners to share the transformational power of yoga with the populations they serve, is financed through GIVE Yoga’s “You Practice, We Give” program, through which $1 of every class visit is contributed to the fund. The fund has advanced its mission of promoting physical and mental well-being through accessible yoga, and since its inception, it has granted nearly $90,000 to nonprofits. Grantmaking has evolved over time to reflect shifting community needs, including pandemic relief and social justice movement support.
John Ammendola, President and CEO
In 2021, Grange Insurance and its associates will have provided nearly $2 million in financial support to nearly 100 nonprofit organizations, many of which are committed to advancing racial equality and supporting health and human service initiatives. This amount mirrors last year’s financial contributions and doubles the amount donated in 2019.
Grange Insurance makes an impact by giving back to the people and communities it serves. Its philanthropic efforts are driven by the company’s promise to be a good employer and good neighbor and to support causes that provide tools and resources for a better life.
The company continually seeks ways to create opportunities in the geographic areas it serves because leadership believes that, beyond providing peace of mind and protection during life’s unexpected events, it can help build healthy and vibrant communities. Grange Insurance Gives, the foundation that carries out the company’s social responsibility efforts, is primarily focused on social and community investments in the areas of health and human services, education, arts, social justice and community enrichment programs. It responds to causes and programs with financial contributions, service on boards of directors, in-kind donations, volunteer time and rent-free use of its event space.
Its more than 1,200 associates are crucial to Grange’s philanthropic efforts, going above and beyond. Grange honors associate commitment to service by offering paid volunteer time off and matching financial gifts through the foundation, fueling economic prosperity, improving lives and creating sustainable solutions that will change lives for years to come.
Max Brickman, Managing Director
Heartland Ventures was founded in South Bend, Indiana, in 2016, and moved to Columbus in 2019. It has demonstrated a significant commitment to community service, with an innovative model of investing that directly improves access to technologies that can improve safety, sustainability and equity with philanthropic activities and volunteerism.
Managing Director Max Brickman founded Heartland Ventures when he realized there are dozens of billion-dollar private corporations throughout the Midwest that very few people outside of the region have heard of. These companies employ thousands of people, have become fixtures in the local community and are actively seeking new technologies to improve their business operations and retain talent.
While these Midwestern businesses play a foundation role in the economy, they face a tech gap. And when Silicon Valley ignores the Midwest, it loses out on potential valuable customers and skilled employees. Heartland addresses this by connecting Midwestern businesses with coastal technology, providing companies access to technology that will help them thrive.
Heartland Ventures also supports local philanthropic efforts directly. This year, it sponsored and hosted a pitch competition for sustainable enterprises at the RTRX conference, donating $25,000 to the most innovative local business, as well as raising $50,000 to support cancer research. Additionally, it brought startups from the coasts to participate in the charity event and experience Columbus.
Heartland Ventures has also contributed directly to causes that encourage technological learning in K-12 and opportunities for apprenticeships in fields like manufacturing for students, as well as economic development.
Craig A. Rogerson, Chairman, President and CEO
Hexion Inc. is more than just a specialty chemical company whose products are often used in the building and creation of new and exciting products and landmarks. Based in Columbus since 1972, it is committed to building a stronger community, resilient families, thriving children and a promising and healthy future.
Its predecessor companies can be traced to 1899, and with approximately 225 associates in Columbus, Hexion has been a strong and long-time supporter of many Central Ohio nonprofit organizations. Pre-pandemic, it hosted “Hexion Cares Day,” a full-day, company-supported volunteer event that allows associates to select from seven nonprofits in Columbus and participate in a unique and impactful volunteer opportunity. Associates built homes, paint murals, plant community gardens, host pop-up petting zoos for children, cook and serve meals for the homeless and much more.
In addition to its support of the Columbus-area community, the company expanded Hexion Cares Day to associates across the U.S. Its Columbus associates participated in events in more than 10 locations where Hexion has a presence — from feeding the hungry to providing bookbags and school supplies to children in need. They look forward to continuing Hexion Cares Day and one day expanding it globally.
The mission of Hexion Cares Day is to help organizations through volunteering. This year, while the pandemic prevented Hexion from hosting the event, associates raised over $177,000 to help those in Central Ohio through United Way. Despite COVID-19 limitations, associates still made an impact within the community by volunteering 71 hours over five days.
Pearl Interactive Network, Inc.
Merry Korn, CEO
Merry Korn, CEO of Pearl Interactive Network, is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, an association that is nationally viewed as one of the most women business supportive associations in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She is also a member of the Ohio Women’s Coalition, which draws attention to the unique challenges that women encounter, especially underserved women of color and women who live in underserved areas of the state, helping them to gain access to economic opportunities to achieve financial stability and prosperity.
Pearl’s executive team is active in volunteering and encourages employees to do the same, with paid days off for volunteering time. Pearl employees have been active volunteers with groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Wreaths Across America, Wounded Warrior Project, Hospitality House, National Coalition for the Homeless, and each quarter, they volunteer at LifeTown in Columbus, where they help children learn life skills from grocery shopping to balancing a checkbook.
Pearl’s philosophy regarding community service is interwoven within its social impact goals: “To remove barriers to employment for challenged populations, provide opportunities and champion support for our employees, and deliver outstanding service to our customers.” Within this goal is the opportunity to help challenged populations obtain gainful employment. The organization has impacted the lives of thousands of Pearl team members by providing jobs, training, hope and opportunity to those with challenges or geographical barriers to employment. By removing barriers to employment, the organization lifts up generations and communities.
Rick Ricart, President
As a family-owned and operated business for 68 years, community support has continued to remain a key pillar of Ricart Automotive’s business model and focus. As the Columbus community works to withstand impacts from the pandemic, businesses have shown their true colors when it comes to local support. And it starts at the top.
As president and a third-generation family member, Rick Ricart is an inspiring, genuine leader who has made it his personal responsibility to build a values-driven company that makes a substantial impact in its community. He and Ricart Automotive continue to go above and beyond to ensure the company has a positive impact on the local community and its people.
COVID-19 has limited its in-person community efforts, but Ricart and his employees have adapted to support and provide relief to others in one of the greatest times of need. Amid the pandemic, Ricart Automotive jumped in to help the community and teamed up with Can’t Stop Columbus to offer Curbside Concerts, which provide live, traveling concerts for older adults and those at highest risk of testing positive for the coronavirus.
Ricart Automotive prioritizes supporting family and education philanthropies and services in Central Ohio and works with local schools to educate students about automotive technician trade programs. As the demand for qualified automotive technicians continues to grow, Ricart Automotive has partnered with three career centers/colleges to encourage students to pursue a career in automotive. It has also provided apprenticeship opportunities for 10 apprentice technicians who are now employed at the dealership.
The Champion Companies
Brian Yeager, President and CEO
The Champion Companies has developed a true giving culture during its 11 years in business and is dedicated to making Central Ohio a better place to live for all.
Led by President and CEO Brian Yeager, Champion was founded in 2010 on six core principles, including Community and Service. Even in its infancy, the small team found ways to volunteer, like walking for the American Heart Association and serving dinners at the YWCA Family Center, to give back. In 2014, it created The Champion Cares Foundation to further its impact by supporting people within the community who are in need, with the help of business relationships, residents and team members.
At the core of The Champion Cares Foundation is a desire to support the growth of the community that has supported the growth of Champion. Champion’s leaders often say they feel it’s their purpose to empower people and make a difference in the lives of others, especially children and those who lack basic needs.
In 2021, The Champion Cares Foundation surpassed more than $2 million donated since its inception. Its success is attributed to the culture of giving, which includes not only its business partners but also its team members and apartment residents. The company empowers its resident base and team members to give back. Champion created the Round Up Your Rent Program, which allows residents across nearly 4,000 apartment homes to round up their rent $1 per month to benefit The Champion Cares Foundation, with Champion matching each $1 donation.
The Wendy’s Company
Todd Penegor, President and CEO
Dave Thomas founded Wendy’s in 1969 with a simple vision that the organization remains passionate about today — serving fresh food customers love, in a restaurant they love to go to, while providing an experience that brings them back and with the quality that only Wendy’s can deliver. This is not just Dave’s Way, it’s The Wendy’s Way.
The brand has remained steadfast in adhering to Dave’s traditions and legacy. Wendy’s is a people business, and respect, equity and fair treatment are central to what it does. Its founder believed the impact its people make on others and their communities is just as important as the food it serves. It strives to bring the values Dave established — Do the Right Thing, Treat People with Respect and Give Something Back — to life daily with team members and customers and in the communities where it does business.
Dave Thomas was adopted as an infant, and family was always important to him. In 1992, he established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption as a national nonprofit public charity with one primary goal: To help every child in foster care waiting to be adopted find a loving, permanent family. He leveraged his business and corporate brand to advance the mission that he cared about so deeply.
In 2004, the foundation launched Wendy’s Wonderful Kids in response to the national crisis of children lingering in or leaving foster care without a permanent family. Today, 11,000 children are in safe, permanent homes due to the success of the program.
K. Zulene Adams, CEO
Each quarter, the staff of Z Promotions volunteers time to a local organization. As the company’s values state, its employees try to be involved and give their time and service to local organizations to make a difference in their local and global environment. Organizations served include Ronald McDonald House Charities, LifeCare Alliance, HeroBox, Cancer Support Community Central Ohio and Small Biz Cares. These events also allow the staff to relax and build their friendship outside of the office.
With COVID-19 throwing a wrench in most group activities over the past year, the team at Z Promotions has continued to volunteer their time individually. One team member works with victims of sex trafficking in the Columbus area, distributing clothing (much of which are donated by the Z Promotions team), food and medical supplies to those in need. A second team member works with a local food pantry, helping to sort food, pack bags and help those shopping for items.
Another team member spent Thanksgiving Day packing backpacks with handmade hat/scarf/glove sets, food, toiletries, medical supplies and a new fleece blanket. Eleven kits were made — one for each family member. The packs stuffed for children also included a toy picked out and paid for by the team member’s children. Finally, many team members volunteered coaching and overseeing their local sports organizations.
Each staff member is unique, and so are their passion projects. Z Promotions embraces uniqueness and challenges the staff to be the best they can be.
Medical Mutual Share Award
PENZONE Salons + Spas
Debbie Penzone, President + CEO
For over half a century, team members at PENZONE Salons + Spas have offered their time, talented hands and caring hearts to a multitude of philanthropic organizations in Central Ohio. During the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the company recognizes that the need to support the community is greater now than ever has before. The organization once again got creative with its usual philanthropic efforts throughout 2021 to uphold its commitment to paying it forward.
Although PENZONE Salons + Spa supports many organizations throughout Central Ohio, it is a strong advocate for causes that empower and support women and children. This year, the Girls on the Run 5k was back in person for the fall. It supported the event with a cash sponsorship and with volunteer hair artists who provided fun hairstyles for the young girls who participated. Girls on the Run is a local nonprofit that focuses on strengthening young girls’ confidence at a time when society tells them they can’t do it. The Girls on the Run program bridges the gap between physical and emotional health, and PENZONE is proud to support the organization.
The company also supports YWCA and has had very strong ties with the organization for years. CEO Debbie Penzone is a former YWCA Woman of Achievement and strongly believes in its mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. This year, PENZONE provided a cash donation to support its mission.
In addition, every year, the company supports the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. It typically provides a Gold cash sponsorship, has a presence in its expo area and supports breast cancer survivors at Hope Village. Its team volunteers to paint the town pink with pink hair paint and provides pink manicures and massages. This year, the race again shifted to a virtual presence to be mindful of a high-risk population. PENZONE pledged funds and supported the race from afar and is the first registered sponsor for the 2022 race.
PENZONE is also involved in The Eryn Pink Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to challenge the narrative of what it means to be a girl in today’s society by inspiring girls to set standards and expectations that align with their values and morals, to encourage confidence so they can confront stereotypes and peer pressure, and to empower them to find and use their voices. This year, the company provided a cash contribution to Eryn Pink’s annual Give that Girl the Mic talent showcase, which welcomes girls to grab the mic and take the stage. The Eryn Pink mission aligns with its PENZONE values, empowering and supporting women and young girls in the community.
Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Awards
Secretary, board of directors, LifeCare Alliance
After caring for his aging parents, Dino Lanno recognized the need to help other seniors who struggle to remain independent in their own homes.
As a result of his experience, Lanno turned to LifeCare Alliance, an organization that works to keep older people safe, independent and living in their own homes. He has served as a board member since 2010 and now serves as secretary of the board of directors and is a member of the Executive and Finance committees. As secretary, he is willing to do whatever he can to help advance the agency and its programs and services. When he sees a need within the agency, he works diligently to bring the resources available to him to assist and address the issue.
In 2011, SafeLite Solutions — where Lanno serves as senior vice president of Industry and Alliance Partnerships — launched its own corporate delivery route for Meals-on-Wheels. Forty-five associates volunteered to rotate the weekday route using a SafeLite AutoGlass vehicle provided by the company. With Lanno’s support, the SafeLite route is still going strong. To date, SafeLite associates have delivered 206 times for an estimated 307.50 hours and 2,050 miles driven. Estimating about 15 meals per delivery, the SafeLite team has delivered approximately 3,100 meals this year.
Lanno previously served as a member of LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels Quality Assurance Committee. And with his expertise in logistics, LifeCare Alliance has streamlined its delivery of health and nutrition services to seniors and individuals with medical challenges across Central Ohio.
Denise M. Robinson
President and CEO, Alvis Inc.
Denise M. Robinson was named president and CEO of Alvis Inc. in 2005, but the impact she’s had on the organization and the people Alvis serves began when she joined the agency more than 35 years ago.
The mission of Alvis is to innovate and deliver evidence-based human service programs that empower those it serves to build successful and productive lives. The Alvis vision is that communities believe each person’s potential is more important than their past.
Robinson is an innovator in treatment services for individuals with justice involvement, which did not exist when she arrived at Alvis in the 1980s, working with individuals with developmental disabilities before moving to corrections. The first thing she said when she got there was, “Why don’t these clients have program plans?”
Robinson has never stopped asking why and continuously looks for ways to improve programs and services. Everything the organization does is supported by research and has demonstrated success. It offered the first program in the nation for individuals with developmental disabilities and justice involvement and created one of the first residential re-entry programs to meet the needs of veterans. It was also the first private nonprofit agency to get all of its programs accredited by the American Correctional Association.
Since Robinson became president and CEO, Alvis’ operating budget has nearly quintupled, as has the number of staff. Alvis is serving thousands more people, has a greater depth and breadth of services and operates in an efficient, cost-effective way.
Executive director, City Year Columbus
As a City Year Columbus AmeriCorps member beginning in 1995, Adero Robinson — now City Year Columbus’ executive director — began a journey that led him to a lifetime of community service. Over the last 26 years, his nonprofit experiences have provided him with skills, competencies and relationships that have served him well as he transitioned into his current role.
He has led the recruitment and hiring process for 100 percent of City Year Columbus staff members since 2014, with a focus on diversity. That has resulted in the organization maintaining 50 percent staff of color, an average staff tenure of three and a half years, and yearly increases in staff satisfaction scores.
As a member of the senior leadership team, Robinson has worked to help build private revenue and cultivate relationships designed to grow the organization. This includes assisting the development team in increasing private sector funds each year, overseeing its grant-writing process, and planning and executing five annual fundraising galas grossing over $1 million in revenue. He has also worked to build the organization’s marketing and communications efforts to increase the visibility and brand of City Year Columbus.
Leading with the City Year value, “Students First, Collaboration Always,” Robinson has a strong understanding of Columbus’ Long Term Impact Plan, Whole School Whole Child implementation model, and strategies for achieving student impact and utilization of data to inform the organization’s practices. This work has led to increased program impact, strong data measures and solid school partnerships.
Co-founder and Director of Development, Femergy®
As co-founder and director of development of the nonprofit Femergy®, Maylin Sambois heads a small organization making a big impact. Its core team of six women wants to transform communities for the better and help girls and women succeed. Co-founders Sambois and Christina Vera-Reid met through a leadership development program and started with an idea of bringing women together to connect and provide each other with support and resources.
The duo identified similarities among participants in a monthly informal gathering and found that all wished they’d had more support and enrichment-based opportunities and access as girls. With a new-found passion and focus, Femergy® formed in 2014.
Sambois has committed to building up the organization and serving communities. Her experience in the corporate world consistently lends itself to her management techniques and processes. She began leading women’s workshops and discovered how many women were afraid of change and, as a result, tailored workshops to engage their fears and desires. She understood the larger needs in her community and knew it was no longer enough to assume others would help these girls and women.
Drawing from her corporate experience, Sambois helped create Femergy® programming that she knew would make a real-world impact for women. Under her direction, Femergy® has maintained an intentional focus on identifying career fields that have a shortage of women representation, and hosting career clinics for women’s professional development and leadership camps with a sports exploration focus to ignite interest among middle and high school girls.
President and CEO, Flying Horse Farms
Since onsite programming was suspended at Flying Horse Farms in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, President and CEO Nichole Dunn has been steadfast in her focus on the camp’s first core value, “Campers First.” She used this value to guide the organization throughout the pandemic, stabilizing it and keeping it financially healthy. At the same time, she leveraged the crisis to create more impactful camp experiences once children with serious illnesses and their families who call Flying Horse Farms home could safely return.
Dunn responded swiftly and thoughtfully to the change in program delivery and projected a 45 percent decline in revenue. She suspended onsite programming and launched a virtual program to deliver what families said they most needed — entertainment, connection and resources to help them navigate uncertainty. Campfires and cabin chats were transformed into virtual experiences and off-site, physically distanced events, providing the same trauma-informed care they would receive if at camp. FHF also launched a series of virtual Caregiver Cabin Chats, online conversations that provided parents and family members with resources and connections with a community that understood the difficulties of navigating the pandemic while managing the needs of a child living with a serious illness.
In 2021, Dunn led Flying Horse Farms toward its 10th anniversary of onsite camp when it welcomed 10 families back for the first Family Camp since 2019. More than 90 families attended this past year, including many who said FHF was the first place they felt safe visiting since before the pandemic.
Executive Director, Greater Columbus Sports Commission
Linda Logan, executive director of Greater Columbus Sports Commission, has been a leader in Columbus sports for nearly two decades. She’s spearheaded major projects that bring sports events to the region and helped create more opportunities for women in sports as head of the organization whose mission is to rally Columbus to compete in and win sporting events, providing a singular athlete and fan experience and positively impacting image, economy and lifestyle.
In 2021, as people across the community — and the world — struggled, she helped create a Community Youth Camp that provides equitable sports opportunities for children ages 6 to 12. The camp promotes confidence and personal wellness, while teaching life lessons like teamwork, sportsmanship and overcoming adversity. Campers sampled two sports in the morning and two in the afternoon over four days, for a total of 16 sports. Eighty percent of the children attended Community Youth Camp on scholarship, further emphasizing the need to create sports opportunities for everyone.
In the Greater Columbus Sports Commission offices, you’ll often hear this adage: “If it’s good for Columbus and our community, it’s good for us.” By constantly putting the community and its partners first, Logan has lifted everyone around her. The Community Youth Camp is a perfect example; it lacks the pizzazz and national appeal of other events Columbus has hosted, like the NHL All-Star Game and the NCAA Women’s Final Four, but it provides a huge benefit on the ground level.