Caption: IMPACT Community Action CEO Robert “Bo” Chilton with The Columbus Foundation Award. Photo provided by IMPACT Community Action.

Congratulations are in order for IMPACT Community Action, whose critical pandemic and eviction prevention efforts made them the deserving recipient of the 2021 Columbus Foundation Award and related $50,000 grant.

Established in 1943, The Columbus Foundation provides philanthropic assistance to donors, businesses, and residents in their mission to both improve and strengthen the Columbus community. According to their website, the foundation’s longtime history of dedicated and trusted service to millions of Ohioans has earned them a place in the top ten largest community foundations in the United States.

In addition to their service to the Columbus community, The Columbus Foundation strives to recognize the efforts of other local, leading figures and organizations in the philanthropic and nonprofit worlds during their annual Celebration of Philanthropy event.

This year, the Celebration of Philanthropy was a video compilation of recorded interviews with the recipients of the two presented awards including The Columbus Foundation Award. This award was created in 1986 to honor “organizations that have made a difference in the quality of life in [the Columbus] community,” according to the foundation’s website.

The Columbus Foundation Award was presented to IMPACT Community Action’s CEO Robert “Bo” Chilton. The award video features The Columbus Foundation’s Marchelle Moore, Governing Committee Member, and Matthew Martin, Community Research and Grants Management Officer, presenting the award to Mr. Chilton.

While other organizations took great steps to respond to community needs, IMPACT Community Action became an example of how to effectively respond to an unprecedented crisis.

“[IMPACT Community Action’s] work and their leadership couldn’t be more timely, especially in the realms of household sustainability, job training, emergency services, and youth services,” said Moore.

Both Martin and Moore commended Chilton for his role in the example set by the Community Action Agency. Chilton, who has been with IMPACT since 2008, explained that the support from his staff is invaluable to the continued success of the agency.

“I must give a debt of gratitude to my staff,” said Chilton. “They’ve been on the front lines fighting this war on poverty since day one. It’s been their spirit of resiliency and grit and determination that has inspired me.”

Chilton explained how drastically the pandemic increased the number of customers IMPACT Community Action assisted this past year. In 2019, the agency assisted 300 people and spent approximately $250,000. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the agency, in partnership with other nonprofit groups, has dispersed over $35 million, keeping over 16,000 people in their homes.

“[IMPACT Community Action and their philanthropic partners] really and truly embraced the idea that we are all in this together,” said Chilton. “Through those innovative ideas about how we could use the resource in a more flexible way, it enabled us to save a lot of people from being thrown out into the streets at a time when they really needed it.”