Historic Gift Propels The Columbus Foundation to Record Year; Plus, Award Winners Announced

Share Article

Today, The Columbus Foundation celebrates a record year at its Annual Celebration events.

The Columbus Foundation, the nation’s ninth largest community foundation, celebrated a remarkable year of philanthropic firsts, including a record-breaking gift, believed to be the largest outright gift to a 501c3 charitable organization in Ohio’s history, during its annual Celebration of Philanthropy events held today in the Foundation’s Davis Hall.

The Foundation recognized Limited Brands, Inc. and its founder, Leslie H. Wexner, for an extraordinary act of generosity—a $163.4 million gift to Limited Brands Foundation, a Supporting Foundation of The Columbus Foundation—the largest gift ever received by the Foundation. The Limited Brands Foundation, established as a Supporting Foundation in 1993 and chaired by Abigail Wexner, is an active anchor of the company’s philanthropic initiatives and, since inception, has awarded thousands of grants to organizations that empower women, nurture and mentor children, improve education, and support arts and culture.

“It has been a dream of mine to build an enduring business success, one that could generate benefits for our shareholders and our communities on a scale like this. It is very satisfying to see that dream come true—for us and for others,” said Leslie H. Wexner, founder and chairman, Limited Brands, Inc.

Giving to The Columbus Foundation reached an all-time high in 2011, with $249,222,257 in outright gifts made to new and existing funds and Supporting Foundations, and another $72 million in new planned gifts communicated to us. Giving history was also made in 2011 during the Foundation’s first ever 24-hour giving event in November—The Big Give, leveraging more than $8.5 million for 501 central Ohio nonprofits.

During today’s events, the Foundation also announced the winners of three philanthropy awards, recognized retiring Governing Committee members Tanny Crane and David Meuse, and paid tribute to the late James I. Luck, president emeritus, who led the Foundation for 20 years.

“Today we celebrate many examples of how generous our community is, and we recognize philanthropic leaders who are so thoroughly committed to our region’s progress,” said Douglas F. Kridler, president and CEO of The Columbus Foundation.

Three philanthropic awards were presented to those making unique contributions to communities in central Ohio and beyond.

Bob and Missy Weiler received the Harrison M. Sayre Award for outstanding civic leadership in central Ohio. The award is given in honor of The Columbus Foundation’s founder and 25-year volunteer director. Mr. and Mrs. Weiler are community champions who for decades have dedicated their time, talents, and financial support to help strengthen our city. Mr. Weiler, chairman of the board of The Robert Weiler Company, has been actively involved in the community for many years, serving as a board member, trustee, or director for many local organizations, including the Columbus Board of Education, I Know I Can, Capital University, and COSI. Mrs. Weiler is a longstanding community volunteer, dedicating her time to organizations including Columbus City Schools and The Ohio State University Hospital East.

The Founding Board of the Pickaway County Community Foundation received the Leadership in Philanthropy Award from Community Foundations, Inc., a statewide affiliate of The Columbus Foundation that serves communities beyond central Ohio. The Pickaway County Community Foundation was established in 2001 to enable individuals, families, and businesses to invest in the future of the region. The founding board had a huge impact on the success of the foundation, laying the groundwork for a culture of giving and creating an organization that has become a critical resource for programs and services throughout the county.

Habitat for Humanity–MidOhio received The Columbus Foundation Award for making a significant difference in our community. Habitat is celebrating its 25th anniversary in central Ohio this year, and completed its 250th home this summer. The nonprofit organization is committed to making the dream of homeownership a reality for hardworking, lower-income families. In addition to building and restoring homes, Habitat also runs a successful retail operation, with two ReStore locations in Columbus offering new and used furniture, housewares, appliances, and more.


  • As of December 31, 2011, the Foundation had assets totaling $1.191 billion held in 1,924 funds and 29 Supporting Foundations.
  • The Foundation and its donors made grants totaling $106.2 million to support 2,395 nonprofit organizations in a wide range of fields, including the arts and humanities, conservation, civic affairs, health, education, and social services.
  • One hundred thirteen new funds were created by individuals, families, and businesses to support the causes they care about. Nearly 17,500 gifts were made to The Columbus Foundation, Community Foundations, Inc., and Supporting Foundations.
  • Since its first grantmaking year in 1945, the Foundation and its donors have granted nearly $1.3 billion back to the community.
  • More than $1.8 million in scholarships were awarded to 793 students attending colleges and universities throughout the United States.
  • Donors created 46 planned gifts, designed to support the community in perpetuity. These gifts have a projected value of $72.8 million. Today, planned gift expectancies known by the Foundation total $868.7 million.
  • Through the Foundation’s PowerPhilanthropy®, credit card gifts received from the community totaled $4,329,221. Forty-five percent of Foundation donors made grants using PowerPhilanthropy.

About The Columbus Foundation
The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to nearly 2,000 individuals, families, businesses, and communities that have created unique funds to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Serving the region for 68 years, The Columbus Foundation is the ninth largest community foundation in the United States today. The Foundation’s online resource, PowerPhilanthropy®, makes it possible for everyone to access valuable information about central Ohio nonprofits. For more information, visit http://www.columbusfoundation.org or call 614/251-4000.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Raquel Gober
Email >
Visit website