As Columbus Shuts Down, Local Businesses And Non-Profits Pitch In

Mar 25, 2020

This week’s stay-at-home order has pared back much of Central Ohio’s economic activity. But local businesses and non-profits are looking for ways to keep the gears turning.

The Columbus Partnership is urging companies to be flexible with leave or work from home policies. The Chamber of Commerce has put together a survey to discern local business needs.

And Danielle Tong of the Columbus Foundation says they’ve established an emergency response fund thanks to local donors.

“First, we received an anonymous donor that seeded this fund with a $1 million gift, and then donations came from all parts of our donor family,” Tong says.

She notes the Columbus Crew was one of the organizations to contribute, putting $500,000 into the fund. Tong says the Foundation has been quick to start dispersing funds.

“So far we have raised over $4 million for the fund, and we’ve been able to grant out over $1 million in 25 different grants,” Tong says. “Those are ranging from our very first grant that we were able to give to the Ronald McDonald house, to last night’s approval of $200,000 to help Life Care Alliance ramp up the number of meals that they can provide their residents through their meals on wheels program.”

Tong notes Middle West spirits is shifting production to make hand sanitizer, and L Brands has donated a truckload of Bath and Body Works soap for first responders.

The Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio will be hosting virtual hiring events throughout April for the newly unemployed or those laid off in the wake of the pandemic. Don DePerro from the Columbus Chamber of Commerce explains the first virtual hiring event is scheduled for April 2.

“Each of them will be live for three days from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.,” he says. "And businesses can set up a virtual booth to share their available positions and to chat with potential candidates.”