About the Legacy Fund

The Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation is a unique endowment fund created by and for the central Ohio Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender / Queer / Intersex/Ally (LGBTQIA) community.

With the advice of trusted community leaders, The Legacy Fund:

  • Makes strategic investments in the form of grants to help new and existing
    organizations become financially sustainable and achieve programmatic excellence;

  • Provides technical support to develop strong LGBTQIA community leadership and
    strengthen community institutions; and

  • Seeks to ensure through permanent, planned gifts, that the LGBTQIA community can
    face any challenges that confront it—now and for generations to come.


About The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic adviser® to more than 2,500 individuals, families, and businesses that have created unique funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. More than 70 years strong, The Columbus Foundation is the eighth largest community foundation in the United States. The Foundation’s new Giving Store is a one-stop shop for easy and effective philanthropy. Learn more at columbusfoundation.org.


Our History

On December 12, 2000 after years of planning, The Legacy Fund, a Field of Interest Fund of The Columbus Foundation, was created and funded with initial start up contributions from the OK Foundation and Greer Foundation.  Many people in the LGBT community were actively involved in these developmental years of The Legacy Fund in a variety of roles as principles, advisers, interim board members, ex-officio members and initial donors.  Without “years” of meetings and planning, The Legacy Fund would have never seen the light of day.

The founding members of The Legacy Fund included:
Bill Brownson, Randy Carr, Lynn Carter, Marco Capalino, Michael Caven, Sheila Clark, Karen Cookston, Stamp Corbin, Michael Council, Scot Dewhirst, Elliot Fishman, Bobbe Fulton, Lynn Greer, Jeff Jones, Kevin Kowalski, Joe Kurzer, Mollie Levin,   LeeAnn Massucci, Sue Mayer, Scott Owens, Steve Shellabarger and Ric Wanetik.


1998 – December 2000 – Meetings, Planning, Brainstorming, Development

December 12, 2000  – The Legacy Fund, a Field of Interest Fund of The Columbus Foundation, is created and funded with initial start-up contributions from the OK Foundation and Greer Foundation.

2001-2002 – A Founding board is assembled and interim operating guidelines adopted. Lynn Greer and Elliot Fishman elected as the first co-chairs of the Interim Board.

November 20, 2002–  A free seminar was held at the Columbus Foundation …designed for accountants, attorneys, financial planners, bankers and others who have clients or customers who may be interested in making charitable lifetime gifts or bequests to The Legacy Fund.

December 2, 2002 – The Interim Board unanimously votes (15-0) to elect 18 members to the permanent board effective January 1, 2003 to staggered one, two and three year terms.  The first permanent Board is:  Bill Brownson, Marco Capalino, Stamp Corbin, Randy Carr, Lynn Carter, Michael Caven, Sheila Clark, Karen Cookston, Michael Council, Scot Dewhirst, Bobbe Fulton, Lynn Greer, Jeff Jones, LeeAnn Massucci, Scott Owens, Steve Shellabarger, Ric Wanetik, Sharon Wiggs.

2004-7/2006 – Gill Foundation provides $20,000 grant to fund administration through Gay and Lesbian Fund Affiliates Program

5/2004 – United Way approaches Legacy to be a funding partner of the LGBT Census

12/2002-2006: Ric Wanetik and then Scott Owens succeed Elliot as male co-chairs

2004-7/2006 – Elliot Fishman serves as administrator through outside grant funding.  Gill Foundation provides $20,000 grant to fund administration through Gay and Lesbian Fund Affiliates Program

2005 – 4-year board member pledges exceed $350,000

January 2006 – Policy on pass-through donations adopted

June 2006 – The inaugural Legacy Fund Honors pays tribute to Rhonda Rivera at an event at the Columbus Foundation; attendance exceeds all expectations

September 2006 – Ohio Outgiving held in conjunction with the Gill Foundation

Initial Projects in the early years…

  • The Legacy Fund:Utilized an anonymous gift to fund $50,000.00 for the start-up of the Equality Ohio Education Fund and attract other foundation and institutional support for Equality

  • Invested $25,000 in endowment and donor-directed support for the purchase by Stonewall Columbus of the eventual site of our Central Ohio LGBT Community Center; and

  • Provided $6,000 in endowment and donor-directed grant money to ensure the continuity of Kaleidoscope Youth Center, during a gap in grant support for its executive director’s salary.

  • Invested in a Partnership with The United Way of Central Ohio, The Columbus Foundation, and Abercrombie & Fitch, to underwrite the costs of a Community Needs Assessment, commonly referred to as the LGBT census.

January 2007 – Strategic Planning Session held: signaled shift toward planned giving from annual giving

January 2008 – Frank Strausbaugh hired as administrator in newly defined role

July 9, 2008 – Ohio State Bar Association CLE Program for Attorneys-Financial Planners

September 2008 – The 2nd Legacy Fund Honors pays tribute to Fred and Howard at an event at the Columbus Conservatory.   The Mayor and the CEO of the Columbus Foundation both attend and participate in honoring Fred and Howard.  Attendance is over 200.

April 2009 – Legacy Fund holds Planning meeting for our Board and representatives of The Columbus Foundation.

July 27, 2009 – a bequest of$352,572.16 is received from the estate of Burdette Augsburger to establish the Howard T. Short and Burdette Augsburger Scholarship Fund.

May 11, 2010 – The Legacy Fund awards it first 5 scholarships of $2,000 each.

2010 –  Lynne Greer named as 3rd recipient of The Legacy Fund Honors in a ceremony at the Columbus Foundation.

June 2011 – 3 scholarship of $5,000 each are award at the Pride Brunch…$15,000 total

Summer 2011 completion – The Pride Leadership Council in 2010 raises $20,000 in the name of The Legacy Fund and makes $20,000 in youth program grants.

January 2012 – The Legacy Fund awards a $17,500 grant to the Trailblazers Program of Stonewall to create programming, education and assistance to senior members of the LGBT community of Central Ohio.

September 13, 2012 – The Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation was pleased to welcome hundreds of Central Ohio residents to the 2012 Legacy Fund Honors Award event. At this event Steve Shellabarger was honored for his thirty plus years of dedicated service in furtherance of LGBT rights. Distinguished guests included Columbus Foundation President and CEO Doug Kridler, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, Columbus City Council President Andy Ginther, Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown, Columbus City Council Members Eileen Paley and Zac Klein, Ohio State Representatives Mike Stinziano and Ted Celeste, and Franklin County Court of Appeals Judge Lisa Sadler.

2012 – The Legacy Fund awarded 3 college scholarships of $6000 each …totaling $18,000

June 14 2013 – Legacy announces an award of $25,000 in scholarships to 5 students

August 14, 2013 – The Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation announces it has received a gift of $98,093.26 from the estate of Sue Eckhart Greer who passed away on December 5, 2012.

As Of November 18, 2013

  • We have raised a total of $1,378,718.30 since December 22, 2000 (in gifts and income.)

  • We have to date paid out a total of $535,672.74 in grants, scholarships and expenses…with approved future payouts of $30,000 in grants and $12,500 in scholarships still due to be made.

  • As of November 18, 2013, the two endowment funds had a combined current balance of $843,045.58

  • We have made grants to 25 different entities

November 2013 – The Legacy Fund awards a $3000 grant to the Safe Zone Project at The Ohio State University, Multicultural Center. The Safe Zone Project seeks to create a safer and more inclusive environment for all members of the campus community.

December 3, 2013- Legacy awards organizational grant awards of $30,000.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders Association, Inc., Central Ohio Chapter , to provide matching funds to support services for LGBT families.

  • Buckeye Region Anti Violence Organization, to support the “Building a Safer Ohio” programming

  • Equality Ohio Education Fund , to support the creation of a Central Ohio Campus Organizing Fellowship position.

  • Kaleidoscope Youth Center Inc. , to increase the fundraising capacity of the Center.

  • Stonewall Columbus Inc. , to support a veterans support group and veterans awareness month

October 1, 2014 – Gloria McCauley and Chris Cozad honored as the 5th recipient of The Legacy Fund Honors in a ceremony at the Columbus Foundation.   Legacy awards BRAVO a $20,000 grant in honor of the lifetime work of Chris and Gloria.

December 2014 – 2 Scholarships of $1000 each are awarded

May 2015 – 4 scholarships totaling $17,000 are awarded.

June 2015 – Stonewall awarded a $10,000 Emergency Grant in response to the rainout of the 2015 Pride event.0

August 2015 – The Legacy Fund Board Retreat

November 2015-Legacy awards $15,000 in grants to:

  • ARC $5000

  • Kaleidoscope $5000

  • Lifecare Alliance $5000

December 8, 2015 – The Legacy Fund holiday reception held.