Homeport’s newsletter highlights companies, governmental entities and organizations that support in various ways Homeport and its affordable housing mission. The Easton Community Foundation is the 10th in the partner profile series.
HOMEPORT: Easton was recently named the #1 Retail Experience in America. Who came up with the idea of creating a Foundation in conjunction with Easton Town Center and how long has it been around?
EASTON: From Day 1, the meter money raised has been used for supporting our community and non-profit partners through community events, specialized programming and charitable donations. The Easton Community Foundation was officially set up with the Columbus Foundation in 2003 by the founding partners of Easton – Steiner & Associates, L Brands and Georgetown.
HOMEPORT: How many organizations have benefitted from the Easton Community Foundation, how much has been donated by the foundation, and is there an area of need the funds are targeted? Is housing, particularly affordable housing, a concern of the Foundation?
EASTON: The Community Foundation has contributed more than $7.5 million in support of the central Ohio community in the following ways:
— More than 78 youth, family-focused, health and education organizations have been supported through the Change for Charity Meter program
— 150 local non-profit organizations have received support through donations and community event partnerships
— Annual Cornerstone Charitable Events are held in partnership with Easton that have raised exponentially more funds for organizations such as The James Cancer Hospital, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the Ross Heart Hospital, and more
— More than 125 2-year, renewable scholarships have benefited students from central Ohio area high schools
Yes, affordable housing is a concern for us, especially as we expect hundreds of thousands more people moving to Columbus over the next decade. That will greatly affect Easton and in fact, we ourselves, are looking at expanding the Easton property to include housing in the coming years.
HOMEPORT: Homeport for September and October 2019 will be the recipient of income derived from parking meters and parking tickets at Easton Town Center. Has that always been the source of revenue for the Foundation grants? What criteria is used selecting the organizations that benefit?
EASTON: Yes, the parking meter money has always funded the Change for Charity program. We are interested in helping fund the work of impactful, local non-profit organizations that are child, family, health and/or education-focused. We are excited to have Homeport as our September/October recipient of a portion of the meter money this year!
HOMEPORT: Beyond the grants, how else do the chosen organizations benefit?
EASTON: Our goal is to connect our Change for Charity partners more deeply in the community. We can do this through promotion, events, and support at Easton. There are a variety of ways they can benefit. Firstly, their name is listed as the Change for Charity recipient on the meters, so when someone is paying to park, they see that their dollars are going, in part, to the Change for Charity recipient. The organization is also able to advertise on all digital signage on property for two full months, and the advertising value is extremely high. We also support organizations in having an event on property during their 2 months we are celebrating them, and we do whatever we can to help spread the word about the amazing things they do in the community! We consider these extra “perks” of the program as additional in-kind donation.
HOMEPORT: Looking to the future, can you foresee any changes in the foundation in terms of its commitment to the community and the organizations selected to benefit from the parking funded program?
EASTON: We are extremely proud of the program and will continue to help elevate organizations that are doing great work in the community through the Easton Community Foundation’s parking meter-funded programs!