Upper Arlington is a community that values diversity, welcomes everyone and desires to ensure that anyone who lives, works or visits UA feels included and at home. To build on those qualities, the City created the Community Relations Committee in 2020. Comprised of nine community volunteers, the CRC’s purpose is to “promote understanding, mutual respect and a sense of belonging among all residents to affirm the value of each individual and foster a culture of shared community.”
Fostering a welcoming community requires involvement from community members and organizations. To that end, in 2022 and with guidance from the Community Relations Committee, the City established the Community Relations Innovation Small Grant Program to support community-based, innovative approaches to fulfilling the CRC’s Purpose, Mission and Vision.
This program is designed to create opportunity spaces for new initiatives, as well as enhancements to existing community programs and events and will provide grants of $1,000 – $5,000 to organizations seeking funding for projects that will achieve one or more of the following goals:
- INFORMATION: Increase knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of diversity within UA and throughout Central Ohio.
- INVITING: Increase the number, type, and quality of positive interactions by non-residents with the UA community.
- INCLUSION: Increase the sense of belonging and inclusion of all UA citizens with special focus on non-majority residents and those without pre-existing connections to UA.
As each year draws to a close, the City issues a call for following year grant applications. Three members of the CRC assist in the review and selection of the successful applicants.
Application Deadline: December 15, 2023
As 2023 draws to a close, the City has begun accepting applications for the 2024 grant cycle. This program is designed to create opportunity spaces for new initiatives, as well as enhancements to existing community programs and events and will provide grants of $1,000 – $5,000 to organizations seeking funding for projects that will achieve one or more of the following goals:
Applications will be accepted through Friday, December 15, 2023. Successful applicants will be announced at the January 25, 2024 Community Relations Committee Meeting.
We are pleased to report an increase in interest for the 2023 grant cycle, with 10 applications received. Of these, five programs were successful:
Upper Arlington HIstorical Society
The Upper Arlington Historical Society received $3,000 to support their History Speaks continuing presentation series, which supports the Society’s mission to discover, preserve and celebrate UA’s history. In February, the Series featured the Story of James Preston Poindexter, a conductor on the Underground Railroad and the first Black member of Columbus City Council. Future events include: the Sells Brothers Circus, which used to winter in the area and featured Native American Bill Moose, who is buried in Wyandot Park; the Newark Earthworks, one of the World’s Ancient Wonders, built by the Hopewell Native Americans who lived in this area from 1-400 AD. The 2023 schedule of events included:
- The Story of James Preston Poindexter: February 13 – Reita Smith, a local historian, founding chair of the James Preston Poindexter Foundation, and long-tine resident of UA, shared information about Poindexter, a leader for Columbus’ African American community in the time of Pleasant LItchford.
- The Sells Brothers Circus: April 25 – Fred Pfenning III, a UA resident and historical circus expert, discussed this prominent late 1800s circus, which wintered where Lennox Town Center is today. Native American Bill Moose, who is buried at Wyandot Park, found national and international fame with the circus.
- Why Preservation? – Susan Keeny, Preservation Director at Columbus Landmarks, presented on a topic that binds most in UA – how to take care of your home’s exterior and preserve the historical elements during repairs and renovations.
- The Newark Earthworks: One of the World’s Ancient Wonders: – Brad Leper, Senior Archaeologist for Ohio History Connection, discussed the Hopewell culture, people who roamed these lands from 1-400 A.D.
Upper Arlington Civic Association New Resident Welcome Event – Neighbors Night Out
Upper Arlington Civic Association
The Upper Arlington Civic Association received $5,000 for their plans to relaunch a welcome event for new residents, held on September 30 at Tremont Center. Held as a centrally located outdoor gathering, Neighbors Night Out was designed to bring residents from all parts of the community together. As the community’s oldest civic group, UACA successfully hosts a number of community events and programs each year, including the Fourth of July Celebrations, UA Stage, Golden Bear Scare, Christmas in the Park, the Golden Apple Awards, the Easter Egg Hunt and the Memorial Day Run.
St. Mark’s Church Culture and Artisans Fair
Saturday, May 6
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
2151 Dorset Road
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church received $1,000 for their inaugural Culture and Artisans Fair. Held in partnership with Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS), many of the artisans that participated in the event are refugees who are building a new life in the Central Ohio area. The event included food and music, and an opportunity to interact with the artisans and hear their stories.
Sunday, June 11
Sunny 95 Park
Rainbow UA received a grant of $2,500 for this year’s UA Pride event. This marks a 50% reduction in grant monies, as event planners work to grow and make UA Pride fiscally sustainable for the long-term, through fees and sponsorships. Founded in 2021, Rainbow UA’s mission is to serve and the Upper Arlington LGBTQ+ community through supportive and community building activities, advocacy for public and educational policy impacting LGBTQ+ residents, and resource sharing. Rainbow UA Community Pride 2023 – like Pride 2021 and Pride 2022 – provided a welcoming, affirming and celebratory space for Upper Arlington’s LGBTQ+ residents and allies to come together to experience community, learn about valuable resources, enjoy a family-friendly event, and celebrate what makes LGBTQ+ individuals and families a valuable and beautiful part of our community. Rainbow UA Community Pride included community speakers talking about their experiences coming out, and serving as role models, with positive messaging for the community.
hUmAn Connection Festival
Thursday, March 9
Upper Arlington High School
The Upper Arlington Schools received $500 to support their hUmAn Connection Festival (Celebrating Cultures & Diversity) at the UA High School, featuring performances that highlighted cultural diversity and inclusivity through music, dance and lyrical expression, as well as an exhibit space showcasing student-led clubs and community participants, sharing food, photography, traditions and other interactive opportunities.
Two entities received a grant in 2022: Rainbow UA received a grant of $5,000 in support of their UA Pride special event, held on June 5; and the Upper Arlington Schools received a grant of $2,500 in Support of its November 16 Longest Table event at the High School.