The Columbus Foundation commits $500,000 to RAPID 5 Land Trust Endowment Fund

COLUMBUS, OHIO –June 4, 2024 – RAPID 5 announced today The Columbus Foundation has committed $500,000 to support and seed the nonprofit’s Land Trust Endowment Fund. This significant commitment by the Foundation represents the first gift to the newly formed Land Trust Endowment and brings The Columbus Foundation’s total support for RAPID 5 to more than $1 million, which includes a grant of $500,000 to RAPID 5 early in its development in 2022.

RAPID 5 is a vision to redefine Central Ohio’s quality of life by transforming how we use our abundant waterways and vibrant green spaces. Acting as a catalyst and convener, RAPID 5’s mission is to unite our region’s assets, knitting more than 80 communities together to create one of the largest interconnected park systems in the nation.  

“RAPID 5’s establishment of a land trust sets the stage for generational impact across central Ohio. This is a strategic direction that The Columbus Foundation feels confident in getting behind,” said Doug Kridler, President and CEO, The Columbus Foundation. “We believe in RAPID 5’s effort to expand access to central Ohio’s greenways, parks and waterways for all residents, and look forward to seeing this mission in action.”

RAPID 5 received its 501c3 status in July 2022, established its Board of Directors, and then focused over the past year on strategic and operational planning and building and sustaining the organization. This internal work led to the focus of forming a land trust to acquire acreage that will strategically maximize the community’s parks and waterways.

In February, the appointment of Luke Messinger as CEO of the nonprofit organization was announced and Messinger began working with RAPID 5 in May.

“We are grateful for The Columbus Foundation’s generous support of the vision of RAPID 5 and the work of the board in establishing a land trust as a foundational step in the organization’s mission,” said Luke Messinger, CEO, RAPID 5. “This leadership support from The Columbus Foundation is a great signal to others of the strategic value of the path we are on to enhance the quality of life in our region.”

The grant is one of several being made in celebration of The Columbus Foundation’s 80th anniversary to support organizations and projects that provide enduring significance in the realm of public space and cultural infrastructure.

Land trusts exist in over 90% of U.S. counties and in every major urban area in Ohio except Columbus. By creating a land trust, RAPID 5 will be in a better position to help central Ohio communities secure, restore and protect land, whether urban, suburban, or rural. The Board made this move to help all stakeholders on the journey:

  • RAPID 5 can now better help city leaders create public spaces and natural corridors that improve the appeal of their communities and extend beyond their jurisdictions.
  • RAPID 5 can assist interested private landowners and farmers with conservation easements that benefit families and the public at the same time.
  • By establishing a land trust,RAPID 5 can ensure that more land is protected and preserved.
  • RAPID 5, through its land trust, can better help connect communities to nature in underserved areas. 

Since the beginning, RAPID 5’s strategic goal has been to be a convener that helps create connections between communities and stakeholders that are often very difficult to establish. When complete, every resident will be within one mile of a park, greenways or a waterway. 

In addition to TheColumbus Foundation gift, RAPID 5 received a $250,000 gift from Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS), a local manufacturer of stormwater and onsite septic wastewater solutions, in October. In 2022, Thrive donated $1 million which was made through The RAPID 5 Fund at The Columbus Foundation.  

About RAPID 5

Formed by the ULI Columbus and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) with community input, RAPID 5 is a nonprofit with a vision for one regional park system along central Ohio’s five major waterways. RAPID 5’s goal is to connect all Central Ohio residents to the region's natural, cultural, and economic resources for purposes of recreation, commuting, commerce, education, and relaxation.

By connecting our five waterways, over 80 municipalities, nearly 40,000 acres of parks, and hundreds of miles of trails, RAPID 5 can create one of the largest interconnected park systems in the country. When complete, over three million residents will be within a mile of water or greenspace.

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