A big-hearted fund powered by the
Columbus startup community


START, the Columbus region’s first-ever entrepreneur giving fund, is a unique charitable fund supporting BIG ideas that work toward improving the lives and opportunities of the people who live and work in Columbus.


START provides entrepreneurs and startup teams a collective and efficient way to contribute financially to the very community that supported their innovation.


Led by an entrepreneur advisory committee, START funds non-profit organizations in the areas of STEM education, Workforce Development, Connecting Communities, and Sustainable Food Solutions.  START is an ongoing donor-advised fund, set up at the Columbus Foundation.


START will target initiatives in four broad categories. The common thread is “starting up.”

  • Connecting Communities

  • STEM Education

  • Sustainable Food Solutions

  • Workforce Development


Franklinton Farms is a non-profit urban farm dedicated to growing and sharing healthy food, creating beauty, and building community with our neighbors.

The Overwatch Partnership provides mentoring and career development support to the veteran community, while supporting local veteran hiring advocacy efforts.

The Jay Richardson Foundation

The Jay Richardson Foundation (TJRF) is a non-profit organization that focuses on the long-term success of our adolescent youth. With a resounding motto to “breathe life into Team FAMILY”, this unique approach shifts the emphasis from our youth as individuals to a holistic, familial responsibility.



ROX equips girls with the knowledge and skills to live healthy, independent, productive, and violence-free lives. ROX exists to create generations of confident girls who can control their own relationships, experiences and decisions. ROX is committed to providing innovative, relevant and evidence-based programming that contributes to a safer, accessible and equitable world for girls.



No person should be bought or sold for sex. Freedom a la Cart brings hope and help to survivors of human trafficking so they can build a new life of freedom and self-sufficiency. Freedom a La Cart has created a safe place of restoration where survivors can heal, learn, and grow as they prepare for sustainable employment within our community.



Through electronic reuse PCs for People provides the opportunity for all low-income individuals and nonprofits to benefit from the life changing impact of computers and mobile internet.


Zora’s House is a space where women of color come to work, play, and socialize. Part social club, part co-working studio, part workshop and event space, at Zora’s House you can curl up with a new Toni Morrison book one day, attend a workshop on self-love or marketing a passion based business the next, and wrap up the week with a yoga class infused with jazz music and spoken word poetry.



Family Mentor Foundation seeks to help meet the unmet needs of children in our community through a variety of programs and resources that will help them to reach their full potential.



Blossom creates experiences that empower girls to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We envision a world where every girl, regardless of income, can feel welcome to pursue her passion for STEM.


Submit your initiative to be considered:


How to Give

Help the next big idea for helping our community take root and grow. Help START now. It’s easy to find out how good it feels to give.

Contributing Companies

Contributing Individuals

  • Erik Berg
  • Shannon Blair
  • Dann Bruno
  • Suzanne Bureau
  • Kristy Campbell
  • David Dillman
  • Jon Eesley
  • Alonzo Edmundo
  • Andrea Ewing
  • Dr. Jane Fife
  • Chaz Freutel
  • Bethany George
  • Kathleen Green
  • Mary Grinstead
  • Margaret Groh
  • Ryan Helon
  • Muyang Hu
  • Charles Hill
  • Michael Kindratt-Pratt
  • Ann Kneidinger-Flaherty
  • Ron Landthorn
  • Alison Lopriore
  • Betsy MacDonell
  • Parker MacDonell
  • Mike McCann
  • Trevor McCool
  • Elizabeth Menduni
  • Greg Pugh
  • Tim Roe
  • John Schroepfer
  • Ruben Vargus
  • Matthew Veryser
  • Tom Walker
  • Bob Wiggins
  • Terry Ziegler
  • Lora Zotter

Advisory Board

  • Phil George
    CEO & Founder MentorcliQ

  • Rachel Roman
    Director, Talent Management Updox

  • Hanad Duale
    CEO & Founder Kare Intellex

  • Jane Fife
    Chief Science Officer, 3 Bar Biologics

  • Steve White
    CEO & Founder Clarivoy

  • Kristy Campbell
    COO Rev1 Ventures


I’d like to participate directly to help make START a success. Can any startup help out? What about serving on the advisory board?

START is seeking broad and diverse participation from Columbus’ community of entrepreneurial founders, teams, and startups. Early advisors have helped us get the fund launched, coming up with a mission and a name. START welcomes additional input and support. To volunteer, contact Kristy Campbell at


What kind of initiatives will START support?

START’S mission is to invest in BIG ideas in the Columbus region that support “starting up.” START is targeting four inclusive categories: Connecting Communities; STEM Education; Sustainable Food Solutions; and Workforce Development.


What’s the process to apply for START funding?

START is in build mode. START has raised over $40,000 and has awarded $15,000 in grants since its inception.

The Columbus Foundation manages distributions from the fund.

If you have a good idea for an initiative that will improve our community, we want to hear about it.


How can I donate to START?

Here are the ways to give:


  • Non-Profit Organization Information

  • Applicant Information

  • In 500 words or less, tell us about:
    • your START initiative for making the CBUS Community better
    • how you would use a START grant and what you would hope to achieve
    • include up to 5 links to any relevant online material specific to your inititiave