The economic climate was identified as a top local challenge in the 2016 Central Ohio CEO Survey by Capital University for Columbus CEO. Here is how some past CEO of the Year honorees are addressing it.

Doug Kridler, President and CEO

The Columbus Foundation

Newsflash: Central Ohio's economy is booming! In the past year, we have experienced net job growth in all major categories, and the total number of employed persons in central Ohio rose by 27,000.

But not all of our residents are beneficiaries of this growth. Despite the strong economy, we have seen increases in evictions, homelessness and demand at food pantries.

The reasons? Many do not possess the skills required to do the jobs for which there are openings. And many jobs in our region do not pay a living wage or offer benefits, leaving those wage earners to have to seek resources from government agencies or the nonprofit sector to fully meet their needs.

So, even when there is a robust economy and a strong stock market, for many, challenges remain. As a community, we will only truly prosper when we care—for all.

Chuck Gehring, President and CEO


In the not-for-profit world, we continue to see reductions in funding at all levels of government. Fortunately, the central Ohio corporate foundation donors and individual donors are very supportive and allow us to continue our work.

However, on the state and national levels, we are seeing similar organizations either develop huge waiting lists for critical needs services, or go out of business.This trend is greatly disturbing, but will continue during the next decade.

Not-for-profits must continue to take care of themselves, through increased volunteering, fundraising, social enterprise efforts, endowment development and mergers.Mergers are key to reducing administrative costs and preventing overlap of services, but many agencies hang on until they are too close to the edge, creating even greater community issues.

Doug Ulman, President and CEO


The vitality of the Pelotonia movement, which has raised more than $130 million for life-saving cancer research in Columbus since 2008, has been a mirror image of the central Ohio economy and its thriving multi-sector growth.

Pelotonia is known in the Ohio philanthropy and business communities as more than a cancer fundraising organization. We are also a partner to academic and corporate allies, whose teams treasure having a noble cause to devote themselves to together. Pelotonia, and service to others, becomes part of their culture and value systems.

To me, this is significant. It means that our movement rides the tides of market ups and downs fairly smoothly.

Nowhere but here would we be celebrating the contributions to the cancer fight Pelotonia has achieved in eight short years.

Kenny McDonald, Chief Economic Officer

Columbus 2020

In these extraordinary times, as sci-fi movie staples likeflying carsand thinking robots become reality, revenue sources for governments, businesses and individuals may change drastically.

The unpredictability is a challenge for civic, political and economic development leaders.

Rather than overwhelm us, these trials can also be an advantage. With greater access to information comes greater ability to analyze and predict problems. If we take time to assess large data sets, we can see trends and understand what is predictable.

It has never been more important to use technology and deep research capabilities.This creates an opportunity for universities to engage with their communities, and it should challenge economic developers to engage advanced analytics firms to assess opportunities and risks.

Marjory Pizzuti, President and CEO

Goodwill Columbus

You could say we are living in strange economic times, but that seems to be the constant state of affairs.

In any economic climate, the only certainty is uncertainty. We need to embrace that notion—going toward fear—focusing on what we can control, so we can nimbly respond to our ever-evolving environment.

Goodwill's social enterprises help fund our workforce development programs. With a focus on offering a hand up to individuals with disabilities and other barriers, we provide job readiness boot camps and industry-recognized certifications to help clients secure employment and a pathway to a living wage.

For Goodwill, the stakes are high and diversification is critical to maintaining earned income streams that achieve our true north of supporting our most vulnerable citizens.

Central Ohio corporate and nonprofit executives can provide contact information to participate in the 2017 CEO Survey The survey will be available in August.