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Columbus leaders announce $5 million for area nonprofit organizations

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther Elevate Program.JPG
Matthew Rand
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announces $5 million for area nonprofits focused on infant vitality, homelessness and housing stability for immigrants and refugees.

Focusing on infant vitality, homelessness and housing stability for immigrants and refugees is the idea behind Columbus' Elevate grant program.

On Monday, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and other city leaders announced spending $5 million from the American Rescue Plan funds on the program through 48 nonprofit human service agencies.

"Here in Columbus, we believe every resident deserves to be stably housed, and we believe that every baby deserves to reach his or her first birthday and beyond," Ginther said.

Ginther said the city saw 60 reported infant deaths in 2021. The infant mortality rate for Black babies was nearly three times that of non-Hispanic white infants.

He added that 62% of Columbus residents that used the emergency shelter system during the pandemic were either Black or Hispanic.

"The reality is this: the lingering economic fallout of the pandemic disproportionately impacts our Black and Brown neighbors," Ginther said.

Council President Shannon Hardin said he sees the funds as part of the city's long-term plan to help organizations that support residents recover from the pandemic.

"We see the work that they're doing, we see the impact, and then we see the data that shows that more investment is always needed. And so we hope today that these dollars will help these organizations get on a firmer foundation and allow them to be more creative as we continue to work with them and serve more people," Hardin said.

Columbus City Council will vote on the $5 million proposal Monday night. Below are the proposed agencies and the amount of funding they'd receive from the grant program.

Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.