Medical Mutual, along with co-founding partner Smart Business, is proud to present the 11th annual Pillar Awards for Community Service. The Pillar Awards recognize organizations making a difference in their communities — organizations that give back in so many ways through volunteering, charitable giving, pro bono support and more. Our honorees prove that businesses can spark positive change.
At Medical Mutual, we believe we have a responsibility to support the local communities throughout Ohio where we live and work. We also believe in honoring the exceptional contributions businesses make, because we know that when it comes to improving the health and well-being of our state, a united business community is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Medical Mutual’s SHARE program is vital to our organization’s community giving effort. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate. Our employees did all those things and more through this year’s SHARE program, coordinating more than 50 events in support of nonprofits and community agencies and volunteering more than 6,000 hours. Given the program’s importance, one of the Pillar Awards that will be presented honors a company whose employees best reflect the values of Medical Mutual’s SHARE program.
We are privileged to be in the company of extraordinary organizations that uplift their communities. Together, we’re building a stronger, healthier and more vibrant Ohio.
On behalf of Medical Mutual and Smart Business, we congratulate all of our 2020 Pillar Award recipients.
Chairman, president and CEO
Medical Mutual of Ohio
Pillar Award honorees
Kimberly A. Shoemaker, CEO
Since its founding in 1968, Acloché LLC has maintained active involvement in the communities it serves — both internal and external. Led by CEO Kimberly A. Shoemaker, Acloché provides professional services including contingent staffing and human resources services, with a primary focus on people and teamwork. Its intimate knowledge of individuals and the community has empowered Acloché to implement a number of community-enhancing initiatives.
The company kicked off 2019 by rolling out a Volunteer Time Off program for staff. The program allows employees to complete up to 40 hours per year of paid volunteer work during business hours for 501(c)(3) organizations that inspire them individually.
Additionally, fundraising initiatives were carried out for the 2019 Susan G. Komen Columbus Race for the Cure.
For the 10th year, Acloché sponsored and paid all registration fees for a corporate team and provided shirts to each participating teammate and their guest. After extensive fundraising efforts, it was once again one of the top 10 corporate teams for fundraising.
As 2019 wound to a close, the organization implemented its fourth quarter charitable giving campaign. The Acloché: Mission for Nutrition consists of two parts: collecting food for food banks in its communities and delivering the food drive contributions.These campaigns, combined with individual volunteer efforts with company encouragement, have allowed Acloché to serve its communities for more than 50 years. Driven by community and client commitment, it has continued to invest in and enliven communities — and, through them, invest in a bright future for its clients, associates and communities.
American Showa Inc.
Toshiaki Shimazawa, President
Led by Toshiaki Shimazawa, American Showa Inc. is inspired by teamwork within the communities it serves across Ohio, Wisconsin and California. In fact, teamwork is ingrained in its very core, as the U.S. subsidiary of the Showa Corp. is jointly run by American and Japanese management.
While American Showa develops and manufactures automobile and motorcycle parts like shock absorbers and power steering systems, its employees also place a great deal of focus on teaming up to empower local youth. For over a quarter of a century, the business has been a supporter of the Delaware County program of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. Over 26 years, it has raised more than $500,000 through its annual golf outing. This has earned American Showa the honor of being the community mentoring program’s second-largest donor.
Its annual golf outing requires volunteer-driven year-round planning. Three out of five company representatives on the event’s 2019 planning committee have been involved in the golf outing since its inception. The event continues to attract support from all over the world thanks to international partners from as far away as Japan. These efforts have enabled American Showa to sponsor one-to-one mentoring relationships with 500 Delaware County children, lessening the likelihood of individual risk and strengthening interconnectivity.
In addition, the organization continues to support local endeavors, including Big Walnut Youth Athletic Association Football, Northridge Local Schools music program, the Morrow County Fair and the Knox County Fair. Though a global company, American Showa understands that home is where the heart is.
Joe Kahn, Founder and CEO
There’s so much more to Condado Tacos than its street art-influenced, build-your-own-taco restaurants. Started by Joe Kahn in 2014, the Columbus-based restaurant was founded with the intent of shaping a place where everyone belongs. Even as it expands to 14 locations, Condado Tacos maintains this foundational core value.
As a sense of belonging is of particular importance to members of the LGBTQIA+ population, Condado Tacos fulfills its mission of fostering belonging by partnering with The Trevor Project — a national 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQIA+ youth. In celebration of Pride Month, they offered a fundraising pink margarita, just one of several monthly partnership drinks in 2019. The proceeds from these offerings have generated thousands of dollars for community partners, sponsoring a sense of belonging by providing support and resources to those most in need of care and empowerment.
In addition to corporate-driven efforts, Condado Tacos encourages individual stores and employees to support Central Ohio organizations and charities. As a result, many of its employees have volunteered in their respective communities, and store donations were provided to A&F Challenge, Pelotonia and Donate Life America, as well as a Columbus-based flag football team sponsorship.
Food naturally brings people together, but this young restaurant brand has taken social responsibility more intentionally. Condado Tacos continues to focus on impacting the Central Ohio community in a positive way. Planning for 2020 is under way, as the drink of the month program will be expanded to feature a quarterly partnership.
David Holladay, President
Solve a big problem in a way that everyone wins. This is at the heart of CoverMyMeds’ company vision. Helmed by David Holladay, CoverMyMeds became the first all payer, all-medication platform in 2008, and it has since expanded to help millions of patients get the medications they need.
Aside from empowering its public with the necessities for healthy lives, the organization has carried out philanthropic initiatives that align with its core values: Be Yourself, Do The Right Thing, Embrace Challenges, Results Matter and Be Selfless. Through partnerships with more than 50 nonprofits and engaging the support of more than 2,300 volunteers, CoverMyMeds has invested in community health and wellness as well as employee engagement.
With a focus on the future, the business has empowered the very root of the community: young people. Through a partnership with COSI, it has launched The Platform — a pipeline for student STEM engagement, inspiration and transformation. The Platform aims to serve a population traditionally not participating in STEM-based careers.
In pursuit of further youth empowerment, CoverMyMeds has also partnered with Columbus City Schools in Franklinton and Hilltop. With a focus on STEM-based education, it provides workshops, scholarships, mentoring and more to future leaders.
Deeply rooted in the Central Ohio community, CoverMyMeds donates more $2 million annually and its staff has contributed more than 2,500 hours throughout 2019. Always innovative and inspired, the organization strives to solve a big problem and help everyone win each and every day.
Goldfish Swim School
Lisa Armitage, Owner
Just add water. Sometimes, unlocking a child’s potential truly is that simple. Goldfish Swim School provides a safe environment and learning through play to assist in the development of young people’s essential life skills. Founded by parents, for parents, Goldfish Swim School invests in its community by helping local youth dive into life’s challenges with confidence.
Since 2014, local franchise owner Lisa Armitage has led Goldfish Swim School to serve Central Ohio. In addition to providing children the skills and knowledge to be safer in and around the water, the organization spreads awareness of safety within the communities it serves.
It regularly provides 30-minute water safety programs to community-based organizations at no charge, reaching over 35,000 students in the region with a program that’s both informative and fun. Goldfish Swim School has also placed significant focus on inclusion. In August 2019, it hosted the iCan Swim Camp of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio.
Complementing its education initiatives, Goldfish Swim School also operates a community awareness initiative to disburse safety tips through local news programs and area blogs. Most recently, the Goldfish RX program dispersed water safety-focused print and digital materials to patients visiting area pediatricians.During November and December, the organization operates two major giving projects focused around a food drive and providing pajamas and books to local children throughout the holiday season. While summer may be the season most associated with swimming, Goldfish Swim School’s donations, support of local nonprofits and education initiatives operate year-round.
Installed Building Products
Jeffrey W. Edwards, President, CEO and Chairman
Since its founding in 1977, Columbus-based Installed Building Products has expanded to more than 175 locations throughout the United States. However, the business has maintained a focus on building a better tomorrow within its communities, under the guidance of leader Jeffrey W. Edwards.
IBP strives to support nonprofits that build and renovate homes or provide shelter to those in need. Notably, 2019 was an essential year in this mission — it was the year that the Installed Building Products Foundation was launched. The Installed Building Products Foundation focuses on framing futures, building homes and fostering communities, and supporting nonprofit shelter and affordable housing sectors. With a goal of donating $1 million in 2019, IBP hopes to provide grants for building and shelter, as well as scholarships and emergency assistance funding.
In addition to nonprofit financial support, IBP rallies its employees in the spirit of volunteering. As of 2019, corporate office employees in Columbus provided more than 400 hours of service since 2017, and national employees have volunteered thousands of hours toward improving their respective communities.
Of course, the public closest to the heart of IBP is its employees and their families, with 7,700 associates across its many locations. The organization assists employees facing hardship or disaster with the Employee Financial Assistance Program, and it offers professional development, financial education, English as a Second Language programs and a safety program to support its staff. Employees and their dependents are also awarded scholarships for higher education.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni Britton Bauer, Founder and Chief Creative Officer
Is anything more soul-igniting than ice cream? Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams combines ice cream and human interaction in a way that is, quite frankly, magical. Since its establishment by Jeni Britton Bauer in 2002, the chain has given back to the communities that have made it a success.
After all, it takes a community to make ice cream. Growers, makers, producers, suppliers and customers are all required to make ice cream a successful enterprise. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams acknowledged this with the creation and establishment of Jeni’s Fellowship Model. Under this model, the business annually donates to more than 125 nonprofits in Central Ohio. It is a Certified-B Corporation, acknowledged by the international nonprofit B Lab for rigorous social performance, accountability and transparency. By partnering with great and integral organizations like Experience Columbus, Short North Alliance and the Van Buren Shelter, Jeni’s has enjoyed a hands-on approach to community growth.
Additionally, Jeni’s has provided more than $60,000 each year to community-geared programs. Recently, the organization supported the national nonprofit She Should Run, providing guidance to women considering political campaigns. Funds for this endeavor were raised via the annual Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day campaign.
With staff having contributed 2,266 hours totaling $64,977 of community impact, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has made significant impact in the community. From providing goods baskets to refugees arriving in Columbus to assisting young athletes with Down Syndrome through Buddy Up Tennis, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is as sweet as they come.
Outreach Promotional Solutions
Nevin Bansal, President and CEO
The big thinkers of Columbus’ historic Brewery District can be found in Outreach Promotional Solutions. Founded by husband and wife duo Nevin and Sunita Bansal in 2012, this young team of marketers and designers has its focus set on community-driven approaches and campaigns.
Since its inception, Outreach Promotional Solutions has been a consistent supporter of causes throughout the region. Throughout 2018 and 2019, the organization led the launch of Small Biz Cares, spearheading website creation, branding and marketing efforts throughout 2019 with great success. This nonprofit not only serves the community — it also inspires other businesses to make a lasting positive impact in the communities they serve. By increasing collaboration in the interest of philanthropy, Small Biz Cares has empowered small businesses to prove that they are mighty. It has already raised funds and volunteer interest to assist in combating and preventing human trafficking.
With over 50 member businesses and hundreds of others involved in its programs, Small Biz Cares is poised for greatness in 2020. As its membership grows, the nonprofit continues to connect, mobilize and inspire small businesses to make a difference. In recognition of its success and his vision, President and CEO Nevin Bansal has been selected by Columbus CEO’s Columbus Future50 class for 2020.
Over the last five years, his and his team’s efforts have resulted in hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars in support of local nonprofits. Though still a young brand, Outreach Promotional Solutions has rooted itself in community enhancement and set its sights on ever-growing greatness.
Perez & Morris LLC
Sarah Perez, Managing attorney
Perez & Morris LLC’s founding partner Juan Jose “John” Perez was the mastermind behind the firm’s philanthropic mission. Inspired by a verse in the Bible, the business law firm supports local food pantries, provides fresh water to Indian communities and meets the needs of families both across the country and abroad.
Now championed by John Perez’s daughter Sarah, Perez & Morris has expanded upon its commitment to community. It strives to provide assistance to women and minorities, groups not traditionally involved in the legal profession. The firm has also funded 60 wells and 50 biosand filters, and those efforts have resulted in fresh water accessible to more than 27,000 people in need.
Sarah Perez led the 2019 launch of the Overcomer Foundation. This 501(c)(3) enriches communities by providing education and, through it, economic stability to single mothers. By funding child care expenses for these single mothers — and underprivileged women of color in particular — the Overcomer Foundation hopes to foster success in young professionals and inspire a whole new generation of thinkers. However, this social initiative takes things one step further, also providing a community and networking resource to its audience. By rooting these mothers in the Central Ohio community, the foundation strives to ensure individual success.
The efforts of Sarah Perez are simply a piece of Perez & Morris’ success in community outreach. The firm’s attorneys also serve on the boards of local organizations and nonprofits, encouraged by the firm to give back to the community in which they are rooted.
Rick Ricart, President
For three generations, the focus of Ricart Automotive has been on family. Not just on family, but on community — after all, this Central Ohio family-owned business has served the community since 1953. The vision of Ricart Automotive founder Paul F. Ricart Sr. was to craft and foster an environment of education and family values. Ever since, the new and used car dealership has been much more than just a local business.
Inspired by the founder’s core values, current president Rick Ricart leads Ricart Automotive initiatives in three areas: family, education and the arts. Having partnered with more than 30 local charities and nonprofits, the organization has contributed more than $1 million in corporate financial contribution to organizations like After-School All-Stars and Canine Companions for Independence. Its partners are diverse, but service is a constant embedded in Ricart Automotive’s employee culture. Its employees are offered a paid service day every year to focus volunteer efforts on causes that individually inspire them.
Additionally, the business focuses on another community close to its heart: its employees. Per each pay period, its employees can donate to a One of Our Own account that raises money in the event that an employee falls on hard times and needs assistance.
Ricart provides personal contributions to the community, as well. In addition to a number of community-geared initiatives, he’s been involved with the Ronald McDonald house since 2010. Cars may carry families to their most cherished adventures, but the people that sell them are the true unsung heroes.
Value City Furniture / Schottenstein Stores Corp.
Jonathan Schottenstein, President, American Signature; Michael Broidy, Senior VP, External Affairs
Home is where the heart is, and nobody knows this quite like a furniture store. Since 1948, Value City Furniture has helped its communities beautify their homes via quality decor and a stress-free sales experience. But the dedication to community does not stop with a group like the staff at Value City Furniture.
Under the leadership of Jonathan Schottenstein and Michael Broidy, Value City Furniture and the Schottenstein Stores Corp. have collectively contributed more than $1.8 million nationwide to Susan G. Komen — the largest breast cancer organization in the United States, dedicated to ending the disease that’s responsible for an estimated 41,760 deaths in women and 500 deaths in men in 2019. VCF’s annual team of more than 250 highly energetic participants in the Susan G. Komen Columbus Race for the Cure is inspired by the company’s employee-focused approach to participation.
VCF, a family-focused company, rallies its internal family of teammates to undertake a number of grassroots initiatives to fundraise support for the Komen Columbus mission. With more than $100,000 in contributions donated each year, VCF is one of the top partners for the Race for the Cure in Central Ohio. Its efforts and the contributions of its staff have allowed VCF to assist in the fostering of local breast health awareness and education among women. Through its efforts, VCF has ultimately assisted in Komen Columbus’ greater mission of saving lives and eliminating breast cancer forever. That’s certainly a team with heart.
Lisa Ingram, President, CEO and Board Member
While known for its high-profile petite square burgers, White Castle has more quietly made an impact on the region through philanthropic efforts spanning decades under the leadership of Lisa Ingram. Serving its communities via the Ingram-White Castle Foundation, each year the foundation’s volunteers support more than 50 charitable organizations through the donation of time. White Castle and its foundation also contribute over $2 million a year to charities across the nation.
Chief among White Castle’s contribution efforts is an alliance with LifeCare Alliance that extends back to the 1970s. Another unique local brand that provides health and nutrition services to more than 30,000 Central Ohio clients without a waiting list, LifeCare Alliance’s much-needed services are unique in lacking any major wait — a defining feature that is made possible through corporate support and a dedicated volunteer base. Most recently in 2019, White Castle hosted the Big Wheels fundraising gala, which raised nearly $500,000 for LifeCare Alliance.
Outside of monetary support, since 2012, White Castle has been an effective and consistent source of volunteering for LifeCare Alliance’s many programs. While several other charitable efforts are carried out each year, one of White Castle’s most heartfelt endeavors focuses on meal programs for those in need. White Castle employees have assisted with Meals-on-Wheels, Groceries-to-Go Pantries and other programs by LifeCare Alliance.
Programs like Autism Speaks, Gladden Community House, New Directions Career Center and the Westerville Area Resource Ministry have also benefited from White Castle’s generosity.
Medical Mutual SHARE Award
Scott White, President and CEO
Scott White is the president and CEO of IGS, a provider of residential and community energy services. He leads the organization in following the Conscious Capitalism movement, with the ultimate goal of making a positive impact on the world. IGS does this both through its business services as well as its philanthropic efforts within the community, embodying the full meaning of the SHARE award.
Through IGS’ product line, which spans electricity, natural gas and solar, White strategically drives sustainable energy offerings that ultimately help customers reduce their carbon footprint. The impact of this corporate initiative, which incorporates energy education as well as supply, is impressive. In 2018, IGS solar assets alone produced 84.9 kWh, which equates to removing 12,744 passenger vehicles from the road.
Just as IGS seeks to improve the health of the planet through clean, efficient energy solutions, it makes strides to improve the health of the local Central Ohio community through philanthropic investments. Under White’s guidance, the organization donated $1.4 million to charitable organizations as a whole last year — while individual employee efforts amounted to 9,753 hours of volunteer service.
Key among these charitable initiatives is IGS’ partnership with Community Shelter Board, a nonprofit driving strategy and collaboration to achieve the best outcomes for those facing homrelessness in Columbus and Franklin County. The IGS creative team contributed their time and skills to help the organization create branding and messaging deliverables around a new campaign, Homeless, set to launch in 2019 to engage more citizens and businesses within the community with CSB’s mission.
Other skills-based volunteer projects undertaken in 2018 included building apps for Down syndrome walks, creating a database for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, facilitating human resources audits for a senior living facility, performing an IT audit for St. Vincent Family Center, creating IT security for a halfway house for young women and more. These contributions helped local nonprofits save tens of thousands of dollars.
Yet IGS goes even further than lending its employees’ skill sets to empower charitable organizations. It also invests in those IGS associates serving in a leadership capacity with a nonprofit through its Employee Leadership Grant Program, which provides funds to employees to support nonprofit work while in their leadership role. Organizations that have benefited include the Mental Health America of Franklin County, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Dayton Arab American Forum, Columbus Pittie Committee and more.
These contributions don’t cover the full extent of IGS’ corporate initiatives to embody the Conscious Capitalism movement, whether through the support of local nonprofits or sustainable energy solution initiatives. Under White’s leadership, IGS truly has a heart as well as a conscience.
Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Award
Board Chair, Community Shelter Board
Barbara Benham, chief public affairs officer for Huntington Bancshares Inc., has a life-long history of leadership and support of Community Shelter Board, dating back to its foundation in 1986. Joining the CSB board of trustees in 2010, she today serves as the nonprofit’s board chair, overseeing its mission to coordinate community efforts to combat homelessness in Columbus and Franklin County — making sure everyone has a place to call home. Last year alone, CSB’s system of care served more than 12,000 people with homelessness prevention, shelter, street outreach, rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing.
Benham has been a critical partner in the community’s plan to redesign and improve the homeless crisis response system, leading the way with strategic guidance and providing instrumental support in securing community-driven funds. She’s made notable strides, including sponsoring CSB’s inaugural Wine Women & Shoes event in 2017 to further fundraising efforts and partnering with the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio to create a new $100 million fund to support the development of affordable housing in the local community.
Additionally, in 2015, Benham helped to create and launch a new leadership group called Women Leaders — connecting women and the power of philanthropy in a shared passion for those facing homelessness. Since its inception, the group has raised more than $290,000 for CSB’s nationally recognized programs, ensuring access to safe and secure shelter for expectant mothers and providing resources to families to prevent them from becoming homeless.
Board Member, The Alpha Group
Craig Conroy, plant manager with Luvata Ohio — a world-leader in metal fabrication, component manufacturing and related engineering and design services — has given generously of his time and resources as a board member for The Alpha Group since 2012. Starting his term with the board early to fill in for another member who needed to exit early, Conroy kicked off a legacy of supporting the organization through challenging times, and he has continuously guided its growth and evolution to ensure its longevity.
Passionate about the nonprofit’s mission to provide gainful employment, quality rehabilitation and adult day support services to individuals with disabilities in Delaware and surrounding counties, Conroy has occupied numerous board roles since his start with the organization, most recently serving as treasurer. He actively participates on multiple committees and regularly attends organization functions, such as staff recognition banquets, summer picnics for clients and staff, ribbon cuttings and fundraisers. He also supports community initiatives like the recent opening of a new location in the Dublin community.
The Alpha Group recognizes Conroy as a critical advocate for the members with disabilities it serves, a role model for other members of the board and a mentor for new board members. Through his tireless efforts, Conray has ensured that he will continue to have an impact on the nonprofit long after his board term ends, supporting his passion to see that people with disabilities have the same rights and responsibilities as all people — to ultimately live more successful, productive and independent lives.
Vice Chairman of the Board, A Kid Again
Nonprofit A Kid Again offers families who are raising children living with life-threatening illnesses the chance to make each child feel like a kid again. Led by Vice Chairman of the Board Rick Ricart, the Central Ohio chapter of the organization provides participating families with cost-free, fun-filled destination events throughout the year called Adventures. Ricart — president of Ricart Automotive — first became involved with the organization in early 2007. Since that time, he’s consistently volunteered 20 hours of his time each month and has also donated his company’s video production services and marketing team services, as well as funds, to support A Kid Again’s cause.
One of his first projects upon assuming his current role with the local chapter was a brand awareness and public knowledge campaign. Leveraging his company’s services to create video content that could be promoted across social media, Ricart’s efforts produced inspiring content, which includes the most-watched video on the chapter’s Facebook page, and has caused the nonprofit’s number of social media followers to increase dramatically.
Since Ricart joined the A Kid Again Central Ohio chapter’s board in 2017, family enrollment has increased from 715 families to 895 families, due in large part to Ricart’s awareness initiatives. His significant contributions — of time, resources and passion, both personally and through his business — earned him recognition in 2018 with the Board Member of the Year award, presented by A Kid Again Executive Director Chris Elliot. He continues to lead by example, ensuring every chapter goal is met and every child is cared for.
Philanthropist of the Year
Dr. Darrell Gray II, MPH
Associate Professor College of Medicine, The Ohio State University; Medical Director, Endoscopy and Gastroenterology Services, Ohio East Hospital; Deputy Director, Center for Cancer Health Equity, OSUCCC – The James Cancer Hospital, Wexner Medical Center
Dr. Darrell Gray II, MPH’s commitment and service to vulnerable populations has become a driving force in cultivating partnerships across public and private sector organizations to address health disparities and the social determinants of health. Gray serves in a number of capacities to achieve this momentum, including the roles of gastroenterologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
At the OSU Wexner Medical Center — a leader in Central Ohio for health care and medical research — Gray has notably created the Provider and Community Engagement Program for Health Equity in Colorectal Cancer Prevention, a nationally recognized initiative aiming to continually improve colorectal cancer screening rates through education to community members and health care providers, as well as increase access to screenings. Through this program, Gray and his team have provided nearly 200 low-to-no-cost colonoscopies for uninsured and underinsured individuals, more than 3,000 scripted, guided tours by using an inflatable colon exhibit designed to improve knowledge of colorectal cancer and an annual live phone bank and web chat with WBNS-10TV that reaches more than 50,000 households.
Additionally, the PACE program has had broader impacts beyond Central Ohio via partnerships with the COSI for interactive conferencing with school systems, an annual cancer health equity conference for medical and public health professionals, and a social media campaign.
Gray’s efforts don’t end there. He also leads the Wexner Medical Center health equity steering committee, a multidisciplinary group that provides guidance to the health system on data-driven strategies to reduce health disparities. Under his leadership, this committee has contributed to implementation of implicit bias training for clinical and nonclinical staff across the Medical Center and established a partnership with Equitas Health Institute to provide training to staff and executive leadership centered around cultivating better experiences and care for LGBTQ patients. It was pivotal to the Medical Center being recognized as one of nine institutions across the nation as a “Pathway Leader for Quality Improvement in Health Care Disparities” by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Additionally, Gray serves on the board of Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, serves as the medical director for The National African American Male Wellness Initiative, is a key partner in the implementation of Columbus City Schools’ Health Science Academies and is involved in several national organizations. These include the American College of Gastroenterology’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, which he chairs, as well as the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable’s Strategic Planning Advisory Group and SelfMade Health Network Leadership Council.
Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year
Charles W. Gehring
President and CEO, LifeCare Alliance
Since 2001, Charles W. Gehring has served as president and CEO of LifeCare Alliance, a Columbus-based nonprofit that provides nutrition and wellness services to tens of thousands of seniors and people with medical challenges or disabilities. During his tenure, the agency has grown significantly in a number of areas, including budget, programs offered, clients served and staff employed.
Gehring has fostered this growth through strategic expansion of fundraising — while simultaneously vastly reducing the agency’s reliance on government funding — as well as acquisitions. He was instrumental in initiating and completing several mergers of similarly aligned not-for-profit organizations into LifeCare Alliance, including the Columbus Cancer Clinic, the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, Project OpenHand Columbus and IMPACT Safety.
Under Gehring’s direction, LifeCareAlliance’s largest and arguably most well-known nutrition program, Meals-on-Wheels, has also grown through assumptions of services in Madison, Marion, Logan and Champaign counties. He led the organization in purchasing and renovating a warehouse to create a Meals-on-Wheels distribution center, and in launching the Meals-for-Kids program, which provides lunch and afterschool meal offerings to schools.
This is indicative of Gehring’s larger diversification strategy. Today, he oversees extensive programs spanning home and community health care, corporate wellness, dining services, cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS services, senior pet care, immunizations and catering. These programs reach more than 30,000 clients compared to the 7,500 upon Gehring’s start in 2001 — a number that only continues to grow, with LifeCare Alliance positioned to thrive for many years to come.
CEO, Columbus Early Learning Centers
Gina Ginn, CEO of Columbus Early Learning Centers, has led the organization since 2015, providing high-quality early learning and care to Columbus children. She brings more than 10 years of previous experience in the nonprofit sector working in fundraising and development to the role, backed by a master’s degree in educational policy and leadership and a Ph.D. in workforce development. Equipped with this expertise, Ginn has led CELC into its next chapter by expanding the fundraising capabilities of the organization.
In just four short years at the helm, Ginn’s expansion efforts have seen CELC’s budget increase from $989,000 to $3.49 million. The organization has been able to double the number of early learning centers it operates, as well as double the size of two of its early learning centers. CELC staff has more than tripled and the board of directors more than doubled accordingly.
Along with Ginn’s long-term strategic leadership of the organization by fundraising, the organization has also developed strategic partnerships with local businesses and community foundations to support its efforts to serve children and families in Columbus. Chief among these was Ginn’s role on the team that opened the first co-located intergenerational program in the nation — the Champion Intergenerational Center — as well as CELC partnerships with the Broad Street Food Pantry and Food For A Long Life to provide food in the local community after a settlement house closed.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Ginn continues to seek out new ways to provide the greatest high-quality early learning experience possible.
President and CEO, Maryhaven
Maryhaven is Central Ohio’s oldest and most comprehensive behavioral health services provider specializing in addiction recovery, serving more than 250,000 men, women and adolescents since 1953.
With more than 25 years of extensive experience in behavioral health and advocacy services — backed by a personal history growing up under government financial assistance with family members battling addiction and mental health — President and CEO Shawn Holt is well positioned to lead the organization in its mission. Keeping his childhood experiences ever in mind, Holt is passionately dedicated to bringing hope, innovation and compassion to people struggling with mental illnesses and addiction disorders.
His drive sees the organization continue to grow and thrive — even through 2017, when Ohio was in the middle of an opioid epidemic without enough treatment beds for patients who needed assistance. During that particularly challenging year, Holt proposed The Maryhaven Addiction Stabilization Center, a new 55-bed facility to offer immediate access to patients who, in most cases, were being revived by Narcan and overcrowding hospital emergency rooms. Today, the center — the only program of its kind in the country — has served more than 3,000 patients and gained national attention.
Working closely with peer-to-peer recovery groups to ensure long-term success for Maryhaven’s patients, Holt continues to actively oversee three campuses in Columbus — the main treatment and detoxification center, a women’s residence and the Addiction Stabilization Center, and gambling treatment offices — as well as five regional clinics that serve patients in Union, Delaware, Marion, Morrow and Crawford counties.
Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award
Founder and President, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea
At the young age of 23, Greg Ubert quit his unsatisfying corporate job to start his own business, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea — and has been roasting award-winning coffee in Columbus using organic, direct trade gourmet coffee beans ever since. His decision to start his own business stemmed from an unmet desire to not only realize an engaging work life in a fun environment, but to do so with an organization that embraced a culture of giving back.
Initially, giving back began at the customer level, with Ubert believing that investing in customers leads to stronger, longer relationships. By spending time helping customers improve their efficiencies and bottom line, he not only contributed to the success of their business but also realized his goals of creating an engaging work life within a fun environment. His passion led him to create the Seven Steps to Success, a program (and later book) that teaches independent coffee houses how to be successful in the specialty coffee business. Not only does it do so successfully — but it does so free of charge.
With the success he’s created with Crimson Cup, Ubert has been able to realize his third goal, to embrace a corporate culture of giving back, both locally and abroad. Within the area, Crimson Cup donates more than $89,000 annually to Central Ohio causes. Notably, it provides financial and in-kind support to the Cancer Support Community Central Ohio – Grounds for Hope program, donates to and volunteers with See Kids Dream and hosts a team in the American Brain Tumor Association’s Breakthrough for Brain Tumors 5K race. The organization also supports the local entrepreneurial community, including Leadercast, GiveBackHack, Startup Grind and TEDx Columbus. And Ubert serves on multiple community boards.
Additionally, Ubert gives back abroad, leading Crimson Cup to help coffee farmers and coffee-growing communities in Central and South America, Africa and Asia who make mere pennies for an average cup of coffee. Crimson Cup is working to change this through its Friend2Farmer direct trade program, which supports coffee buyers’ travel each year to meet farmers in coffee growing countries as well as local community projects.
Through the travel component, coffee buyers help farmers improve the quality of their coffee so it brings a higher price. In Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Ethiopia and New Guinea, the Friend2Farmer program has funded initiatives including building new homes, paying for school supplies, funding the construction of a community center and distributing water filtration devices, among others.
Epitomizing its company motto “Coffee+Community,” Crimson Cup was recognized for high ethical standards with the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio’s Torch Awards for Ethics in 2006 and 2017.