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Newsletter - May 2024

A Welcome From Board President Kevin L. Boyce

WelcomeHello, and thank you for taking the time to read this latest edition of our Commissioner Connection newsletter.  Our community is growing faster than ever, so I think it’s even more important than ever that we, as elected officials, find ways to connect with our constituents.

April is National County Government Month, so it’s a great opportunity for us each year to let our residents know what we’re working on, on their behalf.  Just last week, we released the annual State of the County report, which details some of our successes from 2023 and priorities for the year ahead.  This year’s report notes that we were once again named one of the state’s healthiest employers for our size, that our Office on Aging supported more than 80,000 seniors last year, and that Job and Family Services works with 1-in-3 Franklin County families and fields 20,000 calls each week.

Another new way to keep up with what we’re doing in Franklin County is our brand new podcast called Talk of the County; which is all about the business of running Ohio’s largest county and features lively discussions with local leaders and newsmakers.  You can find it today anywhere you get your podcasts.

Elsewhere in this edition of Commissioner Connection, you’ll find stories about our new Rapid Resource Center that provides support for residents returning to our neighborhoods from incarceration, as well as the Local Food Action Plan, and our annual Health Equity Grants.  There really is a lot going on at Franklin County, and in addition to reaching out to let you know what we commissioners are working on, I am always glad to hear from you. I encourage you to attend the public meetings we hold each week or even just send an email to my office with your thoughts or concerns.

Thank you again for taking the time to read our county newsletter.  I hope that you are enjoying the spring, and to be able to see you out in the community this summer.

Signature of Kevin L. Boyce
Kevin L. Boyce
President, Franklin County Board of Commissioners

2024 State of the County Report

2024 State of the CountyEach year, the Board of Commissioners issues an annual State of the County Report to update residents on the health and progress of Franklin County.  In our ninth annual State of the County report, the commissioners are pleased to again be able to report that the state of the county is strong.  To see the full report, visit

New Resource Center to Help Residents Returning From Incarceration

Franklin County Rapid Resource CenterThis spring, the commissioners cut the ribbon on the newest iteration of their Rapid Resource Center concept at the new James A. Karnes Corrections Center.  It’s a welcoming, judgement free, space, which inmates and even their families are encouraged to visit upon their release, and its services are promoted on screens in the jail.  The center’s staff can provide referrals and linkage to health, mental health, and addiction treatment services, as well as Narcan, fentanyl test strips and other harm reduction supplies.  Visitors can also find help at the center with applying for benefits, obtaining a birth certificate or reinstating a driver’s license, connecting with emergency food, shelter, or transportation, or even finding workforce training or help applying for a job.

The Rapid Resource Center at the other county jail facility on Jackson Pike has been operating since 2021 and is staffed around the clock six days per week and 8:00 to 5:00 on Sundays.  More than 18,000 individuals have received services there, and Rapid Resource Center staff also follow up with recently released residents to ensure a continuum of care.  There’s even a Bridge Transitional Housing program that provides a limited number of recently incarcerated homeless residents with a place to stay for a few days while they work with staff on a longer-term housing plan.

The Rapid Resource Center supports our residents and their families as they leave incarceration and return to the community, it and helps address the causes and challenges that brought them into contact with the criminal justice system in the first place.

Commissioners Fund Grants to Make Healthcare More Equitable for Franklin County Residents

Rise TogetherIn January, the commissioners announced grants totaling $1,683,000 to community partner organizations for the purpose of promoting equity in healthcare for Franklin County residents.  The nine grant recipients and their initiatives were chosen because of their focus on reducing disparities in health outcomes primarily for populations that have been historically underserved by high-quality healthcare and health services.

Recipient organizations include the Children’s Hunger Alliance which is expanding its nutritional support for at-risk youth, and the Cancer Support Community of Central Ohio and Physicians CareConnection, which are working to reduce barriers to care, including by providing education and other culturally appropriate services to non-native English speakers.  In addition, Catholic Social Services will use the funding to provide a variety of health and social services aimed at Central Ohio’s Hispanic population, Lutheran Social Services will use it to provide medical, dental, behavioral health, and vision care for residents experiencing homelessness, and OhioHealth’s grant will go to maternal health and infant mortality efforts.

Recipients of this year’s health equity grants are required to not only show that they are providing healthcare to residents in need, but that they are also focused on long-term improvements in health outcomes, and also on moving health equity forward within the organization and with its partners.  The commissioners’ 2019 Rise Together Blueprint for Addressing Poverty in Franklin County identified disparate health outcomes as both a symptom and cause of poverty in our community.

You can find a full list of this year’s Health Equity Grant recipients online.

Local Food Action Plan Helping to Create Fairer, More Sustainable Food System for Central Ohio

Franklin County Rapid Resource CenterThe commissioners collaborated some years ago with the City of Columbus and other partners to create a Local Food Action Plan to provide common goals and action steps to unify efforts in growing, processing, transporting, selling, consuming, and disposing of food in order to address inequities in access to healthy, affordable food.

The latest version of the Local Food Action Plan’s annual report shows the ways in which the community is focusing on building resiliency, centering racial equity, strengthening networks and neighborhoods, enhancing local food investments and infrastructure, and sourcing locally for long-term sustainability and food security.  Specifically, it highlights four community goal areas and the progress that is being made toward them:

  • Enhancing Coordination and Communication by strengthening local networks to build a broader community and economic development in historically underserved neighborhoods.
  • Improving Access to and Education About Healthy, Affordable Food, including the Mid-Ohio Food Collaborative and other partners providing nearly 40 million pounds of emergency groceries to families in need.
  • Increasing the Role of Food in Economic Development, for which the Franklin Park Conservatory and other local partners facilitated millions of dollars in new sales for local farms and vendors.
  • Preventing Food-Related Waste, which is aided by the new food waste drop-off programs initiated by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, and other initiatives by Food Rescue-Columbus and OSU Zero Waste.

You can find the full Local Food Action Plan annual report online.

Talk of the County

WelcomeDon’t forget to check out Talk of the County, the new county podcast all about the business of running Ohio’s largest county.  Recent guests have included Brook Minto of the Columbus Art Museum, Dr. Frederic Bertley from COSI, Tom Katzenmeyer, CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and LC Johnson of Zora’s House.  You can find it today wherever you get your podcasts, and new episodes are available every other week.