Member Spotlight by Shelly Lewis, Chief Operating Officer
Provide us with a brief summary of your business’ services.
For eleven years, Harmony has been in the business of connecting people. People who may not have otherwise encountered each other. People who have different backgrounds and beliefs, but all strive for the power of connection. We are widely known for our 500 person community chorus which performs for audiences upwards of 10,000 attendees, but we also have many programs that truly speak to the heart of who we are. Our programs include working with students and youth, incarcerated men and women, people who have experienced homelessness, people who are differently-abled, and veterans. The impact of our work has generated the following:
• Community Impact: More than 65,000 hours of volunteer service is generated each year by Harmony’s community initiatives that put people to work in meaningful and measurable ways. This represents a total $1.5m in-kind value; an average $1,500 contribution to the community per volunteer.
• Education Impact: 100% of seniors participating in Harmony’s South High School program have successfully graduated compared to less than 60% of their peers citywide.
• Social Impact: Less than 5% of women who participate in the Tapestry/Harmony Project program at The Ohio Reformatory for Women return to prison, compared to 15% of the general prison population statewide.
• Economic Impact: Roughly 50% of Harmony’s annual budget is invested in salaries for local artists and musicians including band and orchestra members, muralists, photographers, videographers, designers, and production artists.
• Individual Impact: 1,000-plus people participate each week, including individuals representing every dimension of our community’s diversity; elementary through high school students; differently-abled adults; men and women who have experienced homelessness and incarceration; veterans; and restored citizens.
Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
Harmony Project’s mission is to connect people across social, cultural, and geographic divides through the arts, education, and volunteer community service. Working together, we are building a united community, connecting through the shared vision of a world where indifference is replaced with empathy, intolerance is replaced with kindness, and discord is replaced with harmony.
What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
We are in the business of connecting people. As a newer member to the Columbus Chamber we are eager to focus on the connections that are possible. We want to inform more people in the Columbus area about Harmony and we are also interested in learning more about what Columbus has to offer. We see Columbus as one neighborhood and all of us as neighbors.
How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
We pay attention to what’s happening creatively, but also what’s happening socially so that we can respond in an artistic way. We use a lot of historical reference to speak to the present through our music and programs. Staying engaged with what is happening locally and nationally, helps us to stay current and creative in how we carry out our mission. Even with the tremendous growth that we’ve experienced over the last decade, we remain focused on the grassroots approach so that we can react when there is need.
Please describe your company culture.
Our culture is creative, inclusive, flexible and fun. We have a supportive environment where everyone is valued and treated with respect. We are committed to excellence in everything that we do so that we can be the best for our community and for those that we serve.
What defines a successful employee at your company?
Successful employees are confident, fun and engaging. They are team players and committed to helping move the Harmony mission forward by creating the best in class programs and community service. As part of the nonprofit sector, a successful employee is one that is able to wear multiple hats.
What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?
Columbus is a great place to do business because of it’s great diversity of the population and easy access to corporate and foundation leadership. There is a collaborative spirit among for profit and nonprofit organizations and a vibrant arts culture. The Columbus community is always eager to get engaged to help others through service. We are able to partner with organizations and create meaningful and impactful service projects that benefit those who need it most.