- In 2020, ComFest awarded grants to six organizations doing essential work in Central Ohio.
1. Food Not Bombs – Columbus
Food Not Bombs (FNB) is a non-violent direct action solidarity dedicated to changing society so that food becomes a person’s given right, rather than a “gift” to be begged for. The organization reclaims food that would otherwise end up in a landfill and provides it to people via fresh produce and bread handouts, and prepared meal services.
ComFest’s grant will enable the acquisition of a walk-in cooler to expand safe refrigeration capacity. The improved capacity will allow FNB to reclaim a greater quantity of food, preventing it from going to waste and instead providing it to persons in need.
2. Summer Jam West, Inc. – Color Your World Green Summer Jam West is an arts and music organization in the Hilltop neighborhood. The festival is an annual event, and features the installation of permanent, public art as a gift to the community.
ComFest’s grant will support a commissioned mural to be painted at 3045 Sullivant Ave. Local artists Michael Boudreault and Chris McDaniels (Artisan Rooms) were selected to produce the mural. The design reflects this year’s theme of “Color Your World Green.” The mural depicts a “green goddess” dropping her veil of hair over a smog filled, industrialized area. The mural’s message is to protect and heal the earth.
3. VoiceCorps Reading Service – Reading for Blind Residents of Franklin County
VOICEcorps is a radio reading service that enriches lives by reading printed news and information to people who are blind, have low vision, or other conditions that prevent reading. Oftentimes, these are men and women who have experienced vision loss late in life – after a lifetime of independent reading. ComFest’s grant will support an awareness and outreach campaign to increase the number of persons served by VoiceCorps.
4. Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center – Community Homeless Kit Project
Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center (CRC) has been working with those facing homelessness since the agency started in 1971. CRC provides resources for this population including food, clothing, warm blankets, housing referrals, assistance in applying for benefits, and more. CRC is often asked by community members what they can do when they encounter someone who is homeless. In response, CRC developed the Community Homeless Kit Project. A kit includes essential personal care items and bus passes. ComFest’s grant will allow CRC to purchase supplies for 200 homeless kits. The kits will be available for anyone in the community to pick up and hand out when they see someone living on the streets.
5. Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS) – Survivor Support Services
A ComFest grant will assist ETSS in providing services for vulnerable populations escaping abusive relationships. Tragically, the majority of Central Ohio’s immigrant and refugee communities are isolated and often don’t understand the inner workings of social service support systems in the United States. Survivor Support bridges that disconnect by providing emergency services to immigrant and refugee survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. In 2019, ETSS Family Care served 83 primary victims and 187 secondary victims from 29 different countries.
6. IMPACT Safety, a program of LifeCare Alliance – Safe Bars 614
Safe Bars 614 is a restaurant and bar intervention program that teaches staff how to intervene in sexual assault, harassment, and other disruptive behaviors they see occurring in their places of employment. Safe Bars 614 uses an innovative bystander intervention curriculum to empower participants to stand up against sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other acts of inappropriate behavior to increase safety and comfort in Franklin County bars and restaurants.
A grant from ComFest will help market and publicize the workplace training program, produce promotional materials to build interest around the program and achieve buy-in from restaurants and bars, primarily those located in the Short North area.