YWCA To Honor Amy Klaben

Homeport Leader Named 2016 'Women of Achievement' Recipient 

Homeport President/CEO Amy Klaben has been named one of six recipients of the 2016 Women of Achievement for the Columbus YWCA.

Klaben will be recognized at the YWCA’s Women of Achievement Luncheon on April 6 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. It is the YWCA’s largest annual fund-raiser, helping support key services and initiatives including housing for homeless families, race relations, child care and youth development.

“It is an honor to be recognized by an organization so committed to making a difference here in Central Ohio,” said Klaben. “It is remarkable to be sharing the stage with five other women who have positively impacted our community, day in and day out, for years, if not decades.”

Joining Klaben on the stage of the Battelle Grand Conference Hall will be:

·         Kimberly Jacobs, Chief of Police, City of Columbus

·         Christine Ballengee Morris, PhD., Professor, American Indian Studies Coordinator, Arts Administration, Education, and Policy, The Ohio State University

·         Karen Morrison, President, OhioHealth Foundation, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Ohio Health

·         Kathleen Murphy, President, MurphyEpson

·         TyKiah Wright, Founder/CEO, WrightChoice, Inc.

The Women of Achievement Award has recognized 243 women over 30 years who have shared a deep commitment to breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for women in Central Ohio.

They have come from various backgrounds in business, politics, arts, health, philanthropy and volunteerism.

Previous winners include Donato’s Pizza Chairwoman Jane Grote Abell, former Columbus City Council member Cynthia Lazarus, television personality Angela Pace, and state Sen. Charleta Tavares.

Among those who nominated Klaben for the Women of Achievement award is Kathy Espy, Mount Carmel College of Nursing’s Director of Diversity and Community Initiatives, a YWCA Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

“Amy Klaben, in a word, has made a difference in the lives of so many,” Espy said. “Amy has made it her life's work to work on housing for all  . . . providing hope to so many who thought they would never have a home for them and their children.”

To be considered for the Women of Achievement award, nominees must:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women
  • Provide leadership in her profession and community
  • Give back to the community through her time, talent, and/or resources 
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Klaben’s service to help others began over 40 years ago in high school when she was youth representative to the board of the Springfield (OH) YWCA. She ultimately became co-chair of the organization’s youth leadership development conference.

When she moved to Columbus, working in the Ohio General Assembly, she collaborated with advocacy groups and lawmakers to pass a law making domestic violence a crime and requiring police officer education.  

After graduating Northeastern University Law School in Boston, Klaben returned to Columbus and wanted to volunteer at an organization that enhanced the lives of women and children.

While practicing real estate and corporate law at Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, she became involved with Columbus Housing Partnership (now Homeport). In 1997 she became a Board member, and in 2000 was chosen to run the organization.

During her 16 years as President and CEO, Homeport has grown from providing 800 affordable apartments and single family homes to over 2,200 in 32 communities.

Providing access to an array of financial and education services, Homeport’s 5700 residents stay an average of 4.5 years -- triple the average of market rate apartment renters. The stability helps residents in their work and in the classroom.

This past year Klaben helped form the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, an 11-member organization dedicated to engage and inform community, policy and business leaders on affordable housing solutions and the need to find resources to solve the problems. 

(Click here to learn more about the award and to purchase tickets for the Women of Achievement event.)