Donation Areas2021-11-08T16:58:31-05:00
Area of Greatest Need2019-02-19T13:53:23-05:00

If you are uncertain about which scholarship or program areas you would like to support, you may always make an unrestricted gift. These gifts are vital to the Columbus Park Foundation because they enable funding to go directly to the area of greatest and most immediate need. In the past, unrestricted funds have been used to:

  • Help cover administrative costs that are vital for the foundation to succeed.
  • Provide sponsorship to non profit events that benefit our community.

Unrestricted gifts allow areas of giving such as youth scholarships, trees, pollinator parks, parks and facilities, recreation and playgrounds, and more, to continue to grow and make our community a better place to live and play for all!

Chuck Wilt Youth Scholarship Program2020-10-13T08:52:09-04:00

Support our Youth Scholarship Program
Recipients of the Chuck Wilt Youth Scholarship Program received more than just a chance to participate in their favorite activity… For many of these young people, this allowed them to indulge in their passion for a sport or program they may not have otherwise been able to experience!

The demand continues to rise as more and more children need financial assistance to participate in what many of us may take for granted but for some can mean changing the course of a child’s life. Between 2002 and 2011, the total dollar amount of scholarships given through the Scholarship Program has gone from close to $6,000.00 to over $15,000.00 per year.

So far this year, 229 children have received full or partial scholarships from the Chuck Wilt Scholarship Program. These scholarship awards impacted 108 families who otherwise would not have the means to allow their child(ren) to pursue their passion. There were 385 activities made available to these chidren which included: gymnastics lessons, hockey and ice skating lessons, swimming lessons, soccer, baseball, day camps, sports camps and more. As put best by one of our long time members of The Park Foundation, “I was fortunate to have parents who supported me in the athletics I chose to be involved in, and I don’t want to ever tell a child no!” stated John Elwood.

With a $140.00 donation to the Columbus Park Foundation’s Chuck Wilt Youth Scholarship Program, you can allow a child to pursue their passion.

What greater gift is there? The Columbus Park Foundation’s goal is to build the Scholarship Fund to a minimum of $300,000.00 so that scholarship dollars continue to grow and be available for young children. If a child’s participation in the great programs and athletics offered by Columbus Parks and Recreation is your passion, please consider the gift of a “Scholarship” today and change a child’s life with programs and athletics that build character and confidence!


Continue the Legacy
As a community, we support a truly exceptional parks system with spaces and programs available and accessible to all. Public funding, however, is limited. Annual tax supported funding for our parks keeps them open and available to the people of Columbus and our visitors, but it doesn’t provide enough dollars to expand services or cover the major expenditures to maintain our Columbus Parks and Recreation facilities, green spaces and programs.

That’s where The Columbus Park Foundation “fills in” by continuing the vision of the generations who bequeathed this legacy, dating as far back as 1916 when William H. Donner gifted a plot of land to the City of Columbus.

Since 1988, the Columbus Park Foundation has raised funds by providing donors the opportunity to make their mark on valuable programs and services provided by the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. These programs and services include our Special Swim Program for those with special needs, the Come Out and Play organized playground program for children during summer months, preservation of parks and green spaces, the Chuck Wilt Scholarship Program so all children can participate in athletics and programs, People Trails for our community to use for exercise and transportation and so much more…

An example of those who impacted our Columbus Parks and Recreation Programs and Services are included in the insert to our newsletter. In addition, we recognize the over 1500 hours of volunteer service by generous community members who have provided: an engineer analysis to improve energy efficiency, cleaning of trails and parks, high school senior projects to contribute to programs or green spaces, painting, planting of trees, and help with events and programs. What a great community we have!

If you would like to carry on the legacy of Columbus Parks and Recreation’s programs and services for years to come, please contribute to the Columbus Park Foundation Endowment Fund so that your dollars can grow beyond today and assure our future generations the access to quality parks and recreation. Your bequest or donation will help our parks and programs thrive. You can be sure your gift will be used to make a significant difference in the quality of life for our community, beyond just today.

James K. Baker Trees2019-02-19T13:55:10-05:00

Trees have numerous benefits including improved health and socialization, shelter and food for wildlife, and reduction of noise, pollution, crime and traffic speed.  Trees also save energy by shading buildings and reducing air conditioning needs as well as cooling the temperatures of cities with water evaporation.

It is more important than ever to replenish our parks trees.  The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) pest, which has spread through 33 states, was identified in Columbus during the winter of 2013.  Since then, the Parks and Recreation Park Operations team has identified all ash trees in the parks system and taken precautions to help stop the spread.  While there is no “cure” for EAB, these trees can be treated to reduce the risk of the beetle infestation.  Even with precautions taken,

The James K. Baker Tree fund has helped to expand and replace over 100 trees in our city parks every year. For every tree that is necessary to cut down, 2 are planted in its place.  This fund is essential to ensure a healthy tree canopy today and in the future!

Parks and Facilities2019-02-19T13:57:14-05:00

Celebrating Green Spaces
We celebrate the 23 Parks and Green Spaces, diligently maintained by Columbus Parks and Recreation staff members. These green, open spaces provide families and individuals a way to enjoy the great outdoors while creating memories, exercise and more. Our 19 playgrounds maintained by Park staff allow children to participate in fun activities, stay physical, and simply ~ play with other children.

What our Parks Provide
Our facilities such as Donner Center, Hamilton Community Center & Ice Arena and the Mill Race Amphitheater offer a place for events and programs that make our community a fun place to live and enjoy.

“Being healthy means access to the resources needed to live a healthy life, and many healthy resources are fundamentally dependent on the design of our neighborhood environments. Accessible and safe parks are one essential ingredient to a healthy neighborhood, providing a place to exercise, play, spend time with friends and neighbors or just relax and recuperate. Research tells us that parks matter for health; the effects of nearby parks range from increasing physical activity to improving mental health…” Rajiv Bhatia, MD, MPH, Director, Occupational & Environmenal Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCSF

So what makes Columbus a great place to live? Swimming at Donner Aquatic Center or family picnics at Donner Park… a quiet moment by the pond or an evening concert with friends at Mill Race…baseball and softball games at Lincoln…soccer at Blackwell Park…children enjoying the playground at Harrison Ridge Park…ice skating at Hamilton Center… These are the images that come to mind from the 23 parks and green spaces maintained by Columbus Parks and Recreation. These are your parks and green spaces and they provide healthy living and quality of life.

You can be a part of making our Parks even better by giving a gift to help preserve and enhance our valuable community green spaces for future generations and for the health and well being of all to enjoy.

People Trails2019-02-19T13:57:24-05:00

Expanding the People Trails
We celebrate the 21 miles of People Trails enjoyed by runners, bikers, walkers, those with special needs, commuters and more. The People Trails allow our community to participate in healthy activities as well as offer an alternative means of transportation for many. Help us to continue expanding Columbus People Trails by donating to the People Trail Fund!

Clifty Trail Extension
The proposed Clifty Trail Extension project will allow safe passage of trail users from the intersection of Marr Road and McKinley Avenue to Clifty Park and nearby trails. The proposed ten (10) feet wide asphalt trail will begin on the east side of Marr Road immediately south of McKinley Avenue and extend approximately 1,600 feet east where the trail will turn south and extend approximately 1,500 feet to Clifty Park. The east-west portion of the trail along the south side of McKinley Avenue will be constructed within the existing road right-of-way which consists of mowed lawns, a wooded area and an agricultural field. The north-south portion of the trail from McKinley Avenue to Clifty Park will be constructed in new permanent easement areas beginning at the residential property along the south side of McKinley Avenue where the trail turns south. The proposed trail will then be constructed along the edge of an existing agricultural field. This portion of the trail will also be encompassed in a new permanent easement for the recreational trail use. A trailhead with drinking fountain and benches will be included at the south end of the trail in Clifty Park.


Columbus Parks & Recreation Department has two Pickleball Courts which are located at Donner Park on Sycamore and 17th Street. Pickleball is a paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players.

Columbus Parks and Recreation Department and the City of Columbus are very fortunate to have a great partnership with the Columbus Pickleball Club who has helped us to grow the sport of Pickleball in our community. Most of the action you see at the courts is a result of the camaraderie and efforts of the club! They assist our department by hosting clinics, organizing play times, hosting tournaments and a variety of other Pickleball related events.

More Courts!
The Columbus Pickleball Club, along with Columbus Parks and Recreation and Columbus Park Foundation, is in the process of raising funds to build additional courts in the parks!

If you are interested in learning more about the club or Pickleball in general, we recommend you visit their Facebook page or email the club for additional information.

Pollinator Parks2019-02-19T13:57:51-05:00

Pollinator species have declined in numbers, become endangered, and even gone extinct due to the loss of natural food supplies and habitat. Pollinators are not only an essential for our food production, but they support healthy ecosystems. By helping create and restore pollinator habitats along with educating others of their importance, great strides can be made in their recovery.

Pleasant Grove Pollinator Park
During the 2008 flood, 48 homes in the Pleasant Grove area were damaged and then purchased by the city using a FEMA grant and later demolished.  The grant required the land remain green space and not be developed.  Interest has risen in the community for this land to become a pollinator park and join the Parks and Recreation Department as it’s 24th park!  We are currently waiting on FEMA approval for the design and a fundraising campaign will kickoff soon.

Recreation and Playground Programs2021-01-28T14:32:28-05:00

Recreation covers a wide spectrum of programs for a variety of ages from pre-school to adults.  These programs are a mix of free, low cost and fee-based activities.  Free and low cost programs include festivals, variety shows, concerts, family bingo, drive-in movie, and our playground program. Fee based programs include programs such as day camps, fishing derby, adult craft classes, rummage sales, and children programming.

Program Highlight
The Come Out and Play Playground Program is a free program offered from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at Parkside School (Blackwell Park), 9th Street Park, Pence Street Park, Morningside Park and Clifty Park and Monday-Wednesday at Harrison Ridge Park.  Any child between the ages of 6-12 can be dropped off and spend the next 3 hours playing on a playground, jumping rope, hula-hooping, going on field trips, enjoying a refreshing water fight, snacking on healthy treats and more!  Your donation helps to keep these types of programs free and available for all children in our community.

If you have a different donation in mind, or would like to discuss your options, please contact Celeste Reynolds, Parks and Recreation Resource Development Director, at 812-375-2759 or

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