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Council Begins $19.7M Investment Youth for in Safer Summer for Local Youth

Collaboration with Ginther Administration to Advance City and Federal Grants to Area Nonprofits

[COLUMBUS, OH] On Monday, June 14, 2021, Council passed the first collection of legislation from more than $19.7 million in funding focused on the education, employment and empowerment of teens and young adults in the City. The goal, to keep them learning, earning and safe over the coming months.

“Columbus is in a defining moment as we slowly return to normal, and our youth need our support now more than ever,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “The American Rescue Plan dollars will directly invest in our youth by giving them opportunities for enrichment, stability, and success this summer.”

Council’s action uses a portion of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) initial allocation of $93 million in federal funding received by Columbus. Council joined Mayor Andrew J. Ginther today in announcing a variety of partnerships with area nonprofits and neighborhood groups working to reverse the negative impacts of COVID-19 and prevent violence, especially among young residents.  

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s (CRPD) total additional spending for summer programming is $4.8 million, with $4 million coming from City sources outside of the ARP allocation. Approximately $4.2 million will be used by CRPD to support qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that provide youth programming centered on addressing educational disparities and/or promoting healthy childhood environments. 

Requests for RFPs through CRPD have been posted on the City’s Vendor Services portal since June 11, 2021. Proposals are due at noon on July 2, 2021. Questions can be submitted via email to: [email protected].

The City is developing a process to determine how to best invest ARP funding to meet the community’s near- and long-term needs, informed in part by the work of the joint City-County Recovery and Resiliency Committee. Community organizations seeking financial support for proposals utilizing American Recovery Plan funding are encouraged to submit proposals online utilizing a standard form that includes a budget and description of how the funds will be used.


Examples of priority projects moving forward with partners:

We Can Bridge the COVID-19 Graduation Gap

In partnership with I Know I Can, ordinance 1390-2021 authorizes $5,855,232 to provide summer credit recovery, post-secondary education preparation, career readiness and youth employment programs for high school students. 

“Investing in our youth this summer is essential following an extremely difficult year full of COVID-19 challenges and disruptions,” said President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown. “The investments we make now will pay dividends into the future of our kids and our neighborhoods.”

COVID-19 caused significant disruptions to classroom instruction. As a result, graduation rates across the country declined. I Know I Can will create summer programming to give high school students another opportunity to graduate. They will provide multiple pathways to engage in productive educational activities in safe environments where students can renew the focus on their futures.


Expanding Employment Opportunities 

Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy is committed to rebuilding the community one step, one piece of trash at a time. 

The Cleaner Columbus initiative allocates $2,001,175 to provide teens with employment, education and volunteer opportunities that help reinforce neighborhood pride. Ordinance 1380-2021 enters into an agreement with the YMCA of Central Ohio to fund the Youth Litter Pick-Up and Earth Service Corps programs. During the summer and fall, these programs will employ 400 youth and young adults to collect litter and debris at various locations in the Hilltop, Linden, Near East Side, Far East Side, South Side and Northland neighborhoods. 

“During my tenure on Columbus City Council, one consistent issue residents have called, emailed and discussed is litter and debris on city streets, especially throughout our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Remy. “We began to think about how to take a more holistic approach to address litter and educate residents about the role litter has on the environment and neighborhood safety. This program has it all.”

Participants will earn above minimum wage and work an average of 20 hours per week during the inaugural 12-week session. 


Making Summer Camp Accessible

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio will use ordinance 1397-2021, allocating up to $500,000 to create summer programming guided by its strategic priorities: Opportunities to Lead and Be Heard; Pathways to P2 Success; Recovery & Redirection and Relax, Re-Create and Build Relationships.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a greater need to serve youth during this crucial time,” said Pro Tem Brown. “By providing additional programming opportunities, we are extending safe options for families.”


Working to Stem the Tide of Community Violence

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the violence seen in our community over the last year, the City is eager to partner with organizations that make life easier for residents. Ordinance 1585-2021 allocates $844,000 to the Community of Caring Development Foundation, Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children, National Center for Urban Solutions and the Urban Foundation Inc, which will serve seniors, single-family households and youth to help ease the challenges families are facing. 

“Too many mothers in our community are mourning the untimely loss of a child to violence,” said Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown. “I am proud of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children as they continue to work to address the trauma impacting those who have suffered such a terrible loss.”Specifically, Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children will conduct events and programming aimed at targeted areas of the City, utilizing their stories to stem the tide of community violence. 


Using Intervention to Reach Youth

Ordinance 1436-2021 allocates $105,000 to the Reaching Higher Heights 4 Life and 22nd Street Cookies violence intervention programs. 

Reaching Higher Heights 4 Life will offer academic programming and urban gardening to students aged 6 through 17. The organization will receive $85,000 to hire eight employees from within the community to provide 12 teenage students with mentoring, supervision, and experience in the Urban Gems program, a community garden initiative.

An organization called 22nd Street Cookies takes a multifaceted approach to address the needs of teens, 14 or older, living in poverty. The programs focus on teens who have failed at least one grade. This program will utilize $20,000 to serve these students and work to get them back on track. 

“We’ve witnessed the COVID-19 pandemic result in an increased need to support our City’s youth,” said Councilmember Rob Dorans. “I am optimistic that dollars from the American Rescue Plan are going to promote breaking down employment barriers, promote conflict resolution while developing people-centered crime intervention, and reinforce peace for our young residents this summer.”

Council will continue to focus its investments that create stronger neighborhoods, build pathways out of poverty and work to ensure every resident has equal access to personal growth. It starts with the children.