We have so much to celebrate – such a significant impact to report in the past 12 months.
Our new, all-digital Annual Report is here. Click to view a year’s worth of accomplishments.
We are just a couple of days past our annual meeting. Click for photos from the annual meeting.
Our 2013 annual report had a theme of celebrating our accomplishments, and we rebranded it as an “impact report” because we know we’re moving the needle with our projects and programs.
How? I’m so glad you asked. (And if you want to know more, go to germanvillage.com and click on “impact report.”)
We’ve welcomed more than 6,000 people through our Visitors Center this year who just wandered in during their tour of German Village. These are folks from all over the globe who had a friend or travel consultant or social media link tell them: if you’re headed to Columbus, you have to stop in German Village. Our 45 regular Visitors Center volunteers greet them, imbue them with a sense of our history and send them out the door armed with a map and a better understanding of why they were recommended to us. Add to that more than 1,250 visitors who took one of 41 guided tours from our dozen volunteer docents.
In the past 12 months, we reaped grant money totaling nearly $525,000, and sponsorships totaling more than $110,000. Taken together, that is a story of Central Ohio understanding the unique urban gem we are and choosing to invest in our future. We expect those relationships to continue to grow and underwrite the critical needs list we have created here together – things like hiring an historic preservation expert and creating an historic signage plan – that we know undergird our ability to stay an authentic, 21st-century neighborhood dear to residents across the region.
Our parks and our public spaces are part of what makes us so unique and so sought-out by neighbors from across downtown and the South Side. Those residents and business owners voted with their checkbooks during the first Bloomin’ Fund fundraising project this spring – a combined ask on behalf of Friends of Schiller and the German Village Garten Club, who work together to keep the neighborhood beautiful. The Bloomin’ Fund raised more than $6,000 from folks who want to see it stay beautiful.
Our Historic Preservation Committee has listened, researched and guided a conversation about the principles at the core of our mission. Civic Relations has undertaken a parking solution, and is about to dive headfirst into the details that will finally restore safety and historic fabric to the Third Street corridor. Membership is growing – both in dollars raised and numbers participating. Organization Development is thinking in fresh ways about how we recruit, nurture and train our emerging leaders. Long-Range Planning has partnered with COTA, Car2Go and CoGo to think through transportation options, and turns next to how we become relevant as a Society to renters and landlords.
Our business community, an amazing resource and compliment to our residential neighbors, has also attracted new members, thrown two amazingly successful events, and has stepped up as a group and individually to more fully perpetuate and support the work of German Village Society. The leadership our entrepreneurs show in their investment, pride and service to our neighborhood is a cornerstone element is what drives people to German Village and makes us so special.
And, by far most importantly, all of these things happen through the drive, dedication, time, talent and treasure of more than 350 regular volunteers. The above list of tremendous accomplishments simply can’t happen with only two full-time staff and a handful of contract workers. This neighborhood and this organization bounds forward thanks to the dedication of volunteers who care. I am humbled to serve them and carry out their vision. They are the biggest gift and have the biggest impact that any nonprofit could ever hope to attain.
Check out our committee accomplishments:
All matters that involve the interaction of the Society with government
officials.This mainly involves the City of Columbus in its efforts to regulate
such matters as repairs and improvements to streets, curbs, lighting, signage,
street furniture, waste removal and parking.
• The ongoing effort to improve Third Street, which is the major route through
the heart of the Village. We won UIRF funds for an engineering study due to
begin in January. Now we are working with the City and the engineers who
will be doing the study that will lead to major capital improvements to Third Street.
• Efforts of the Society’s Parking Committee to evaluate and improve parking in
the Village so that the interests of residents, businesses and visitors are
balanced. This involves efforts by the Parking Committee to mediate disputes between residents over permit parking and parking in tight spaces that were not
designed for public parking and working with the City on drafting revised
regulations that will affect parking in the Village.
• Efforts to monitor the major changes that are planned for the next 8-10 years in the
highway system, mainly through the rerouting of access to I-70 and I-71, with
particular concern that access to the Village by way of the three bridges over I-70
(Main Street, Third Street and Grant Street) not be cut off at the same time.
Concept of packaging events a big financial success.
• Committee transition from policy advice to active fundraising coordination.
• Preparation work for active fundraising campaign beyond events ready to launch,
delivering on the promise of the Step-Up Campaign.
Art Crawl: Over 3,000 people, undeterred by rain, attended Art Crawl
supporting 30 artists and keeping 65+ volunteers busy. This GVBC fundraiser
brought in over $5000 to support the marketing of our members.
• Village Lights: Over 50 GVBC members participated including 12 that set up
for the second year of Striezelmarkt. 11,000 luminaries lit the Village for a
magical evening that included carolers and a horse drawn carriage.
• Marketing: The GVBC website is in the final stages of a remodel that includes
more information on each business. Affordable combined marketing packages
for signature events were created to offer members more marketing opportunities.
• Membership: There are 132 members: 58 retail/restaurant, 74 non-retail.
From Oct 2012 to Oct 2013, there were 28 new business members.
• Maps: 60,000 tourist maps printed and distributed between 11 travel centers
throughout Ohio, downtown hotels, Port Columbus, and member businesses.
• Village Valuables and Village Lights offer sponsorship packages for the first time,
exposing partner companies to 10,000 consumers per event.
• Haus und Garten Tour and PreTour exceeded budget goals by 24 percent and
attracted more than 320 volunteers who chose to give their time and talents to this 54-year-old community event.
• Tea 43206 raised more than $20,000 in 2013, bringing the total over three years
to more than $45,000.
• 2013 Monster Bash exceeded net income expectations by more than 60%.
• The 45 volunteers who staff the Visitor’s Center saw 5,304 walk-in visitors from
Jan 2013 to Oct 2013.
• So far this year, 41 guided tours have been booked bringing in a projected
income of $9,807 compared to the 2012 total of 42 tours with $8,241 in
income. Through the end of 2013, over 1,111 visitors will have taken a guided
tour down the brick streets of German Village.
• The remodel of Brent Warner Fest Hall helped with increasing our income from
$13,533 in 2012 to the projected income of $15,550 this year.
• Hired new bookkeeping company Accounting Solutions of Ohio LLC.
• Realized gains on new investments with Huntington Bank.
• Maintenance Subcommittee completed complete remodel of Fest Hall
• Historic Preservation Values – Of most importance is our ongoing dialogue with
our community in regards to preserving the fabric of our historic neighborhood.
• Oral Histories Project – Our ongoing video history of interviews with those who
have helped and continue to shape the legacy of German Village. This project is
possible with grant funding by the Ohio Humanities Council.
• Digitization Project – The documenting of German Village archives in a searchable
database of German Village house files, historical documents along with artwork
and donated artifacts. This project has been funded through proceeds of TEA 43206.
• Historical/Wayfinding Signage – This project in its early stages, hopes to identify
appropriate styles of historical markers that will give visitors additional perspective
on the history of our neighborhood. This project will be funded in part through
proceeds from TEA 43206.
• American Planning Association Conference – On the heels of our 2011 Designation
of “Best Neighborhoods in America” by APA, we will host a regional conference in
October 2014 to generate discussions on urban living and the benefits and challenges
facing our neighborhoods as they continue to evolve. The funding for this event
will be self-supporting through registration fees.
• Southside STAY grew to 200 member striving to improve all schools that feed into
South High School. Columbus School Board OK’d STAY’s request to have Stewart
School reopen in the Fall of 2014 as a partial neighborhood school and expand to
include 6th grade. STAY continues work toward establishing ties, garnering
feedback, and providing support to principals, teachers, students, and families on
• Rekindled Go Green Committee inspired Haus & Garten Committee to adopt
plantable wrist bands, established a community garden that has started to sell its
produce around the Village, and quickly worked to establish relationships with a
wide number of like-minded groups across Columbus from Hands Across Parsons
to CD102.5’s Green Team.
• Worked with COTA to increase the visibility of German Village throughout
• Facilitated the discussion and provided insight on the optimal roll-out strategy
for modern transportation alternatives that are new to Columbus, including CoGo
locations and Car2Go.
• Currently launching project to better engage Young Professionals and renters to get more involved and set down roots in German Village.
• Exceeded 2013 expected income budget by July 10.
• Added new resident appreciation events.
• Created new marketing materials.
• Register tonight to win a paid GVS 2014 Membership.
• ODC members are appointed for one-year terms; there are three board members and three non-board members.
• Developing board leadership through new board self-assessment and orientation/ training activities for board and other GVS leaders.
• Revised Trustee nomination process and materials to improve nominee solicitation
and to simplify election.
• Update GVS Bylaws to provide for future electronic communication.
Parks, Public Spaces, and Community Events is an umbrella group organized to foster cooperation among all groups and organizations that promote and care for the parks and public spaces in German Village as well as those entities that sponsor social, cultural, and community events. Meetings are monthly at the German Village Meeting Haus where news, calendars, and resources are exchanged and collaborations are forged. Highlights of the past year include:
• Actors’ Theatre of Columbus – Actors’ offered six productions this season and expanded performance venues beyond Schiller Park to
include The Columbus Commons and Easton.
• Columbus Recreation And Parks Department – Repaired significant storm damage,
planted trees, repaired bollards, and continued to work with great enthusiasm to
maintain Schiller Park as a destination.
• The Farm – The Farm enjoyed another successful growing season with twenty-two
gardeners tending individual plots and contributing produce to the Charitable
Pharmacy at Livingston United Methodist Church.
• Friends of Schiller Park – The Friends partnered with the German Village Garten Club
to launch the Blooming Fund in 2013 raising more than $6,000 for Village
beautification projects, hosted a maintenance summit and lobbied for City funds to
repair the Schiller statue.
• Arboretum Fund – Fourteen wonderful new trees planted and watered faithfully by
eleven volunteers twice a week May-September, a successful volunteer mulch project,
Ash Trees treated by City of Columbus to prevent Emerald Ash Borer.
• Highfield Garden – Another glorious season in the hosta garden and an endowment
fund that reached the $97,000 benchmark.
• Sunday Softball League
• Welcome Gardens – Ooo! Ahh!
• Tot Lot – Parents and grandparents helped to select new, state of the art equipment that
• Fun Committee – The Fun Committee had major fun at the Summerfest, Dime-a-Dog
night at Huntington Park, and Oktoberfest it IS the FUN committee, so expect just that.
• German Village Garten Club and Friends of Frank Fetch Park -
The Third Street planters never looked more glorious! Frank Fetch
Park is the Village’s hidden gem and published a brochures, hosted
Third Sunday Concert program and planted trees.
• Huntington Gardens – The Huntington Gardens was elected as a
Franklin County Master Gardener volunteer location, received funding
from the City of Columbus and the Columbus Foundation, and was
featured on a tour of gardening magazine editors
• St. Mary School & Church
• Stewart School Tutoring Program – Fifteen tutors work one-on-one or in small groups
with students in grades K through 5, now in the fifteenth year of work with Stewart
• Village Singers – In addition to performing, this community chorus established the
Village Singers Endowment Fund to benefit deserving students in the arts. They