First round of grant funding for YP programs announced today. Via the Create Columbus Commission:

The Create Columbus Commission (CCC) announces selections for its inaugural grants program. A young professional (YP) organization established by the City of Columbus and Columbus Chamber in 2007, CCC is distributing grant funds for local YP initiatives through its new Create Columbus Grants Program. In the first year of the program, $60,460 was distributed among eight organizations.

As an organization of over 30 young professionals dedicated to identifying and implementing strategies and tactics to help Columbus attract and retain young and talented individuals, CCC established this grant opportunity to support initiatives that further the development of the young professional community in Columbus.

The goals of the Create Columbus Grants Program are to:

Encourage and support residents to launch innovative, community-based initiatives with a specific young professionals component; Provide strategic financial support for one-time costs for events, initiatives or programs that impact young professionals; Improve the young professional experience in the areas of arts, sports and entertainment, careers, neighborhoods, and transportation.

"The commission spent a significant amount of time reviewing applications from several great organizations looking to make an impact in the Columbus young professional community", said Steven Michalovich, co-chair of the Create Columbus Commission. "We believe the eight groups awarded grants in this first year are representative of the diversity within the YP community, and we look forward to seeing the impact of their work on Columbus."

With support from Mayor Michael B. Coleman and Columbus City Council, all grant selections suggested by the commission were approved.

"I am extremely proud of the work being done by the Create Columbus Commission to help transform the way our city interacts with its young professional community", said Mayor Michael B. Coleman. "This new grants program is essential to our efforts to attract and retain the young and talented in Columbus."

The City of Columbus continues to have high hopes for the new program.

"The Create Columbus Grants Program is a great step forward for Columbus young professionals", said City Council President Andrew Ginther. "The initiatives supported by these grants will undoubtedly add to the vibrancy of our city, but will also help further establish Columbus' position as one of the best cities in America for young adults."

The $60,640 dedicated to the CCC's grants program was distributed to eight organizations for the described projects as follows:

Besa Community Inc., Capital City Impact


Connecting young professionals to community service opportunities through its volunteer portal, Besa Community Inc. seeks to engage a larger number of professionals to local community service via its new Capital City Impact program. The program will work with partners to develop volunteer opportunities in targeted neighborhoods to be launched with a grand marketing push, and has a goal of adding 100 volunteers to Besa's database during its first year of progress.

Community Research Partners, Envisioning Columbus Communities of Tomorrow


In partnership with The Ohio State University (OSU), Community Research Partners (CRP) acknowledges the importance of attracting young and talented individuals, and seeks to ask them what they want in a neighborhood. CRP and OSU will develop and execute a community visioning process, culminating in a day-long collaborative workshop. The event will bring together young professionals to engage in a series of exercises focused on active participation and creative visualization.

Mt. Vernon Special Improvement District, Near East Side Hop


The Mt. Vernon Special Improvement District created the Near East Side Hop to support its mission of cultivating a cohesive network among area businesses and residents to elevate the impression, encourage businesses and entrepreneurs, and stimulate economic performance of the Near East Side Community. The Hop will be a week-long series of events in the historic Near East Side community of Columbus geared towards the interests of young professionals, demonstrating to them that the neighborhood is a viable option as they decide where to live, work, play and raise a family.

Transit Columbus, Good Ideas Columbus


Transit Columbus' Good Ideas Columbus program seeks to facilitate a discussion about new ideas in transportation among young professionals and civic leaders while fostering an environment where creative solutions can emerge. Transit Columbus and partner organizations will connect Columbus' brightest young minds, such as designers, architects, engineers, students and artists, and pair them with civic leaders to work on real transportation problems affecting Columbus.

Short North Alliance, Viewpoints: Mini Murals by Working Artists Under 40


To celebrate and publicly showcase diverse viewpoints of working young professional visual artists, the Short North Alliance created Viewpoints: Mini Murals by Working Artists Under 40. Eleven public mini murals will be created and displayed throughout the Short North area of Columbus and curated by local galleries and museums, further instigating the development of the local young professional art industry.

Founders Factory, 10Xelerator


Focusing on catalyzing high-growth technology business in Columbus, Founders Factory's 10Xelerator project will strive to convert promising entrepreneurial ideas into viable businesses and sustainable companies. Partnering with Ohio's New Entrepreneurs (ONE) Fund, TechColumbus, The Ohio State University, Columbus2020 and others to support and accelerate 10 early-stage technology businesses with significant growth potential each year.

Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, Young Entrepreneur Recruitment Initiative


The Young Entrepreneur Recruitment Initiative program is intended to directly impact young professionals starting or expanding businesses in central Ohio. The ultimate project goal is to increase the number of signed office leases by young entrepreneurs in Columbus' Downtown area.

Greater Columbus Arts Council, SOUP Capacity


Columbus SOUP was founded to better connect and cultivate creative projects that make Columbus a great community. For SOUP's Capacity and Identity Building project, SOUP seeks to develop an image that is YP-focused and contract a professional graphic designer and website builder to help create a cohesive brand and identity for Columbus SOUP that reflects the mission and appeals to YP audiences.

All grant recipients are expected to update the CCC on the progress of their projects. Applications for the next round of the Create Columbus Grants program are expected to open in March 2014.