Major gifts officer, Mid-Ohio Food Collective
About: Bridget Tharp secures gifts of $10,000 or more as part of a team that annually raises $14 million to feed our hungry neighbors. Since the COVID-19 crisis, it has raised $23 million to meet the overwhelming need. Tharp has fundraised for Make-A-Wish, Boy Scouts of America and Bowling Green State University, and led an analysis of board diversity for Make-A-Wish. She previously worked seven years as a journalist for the Toledo Blade and is a foster mom.
Without adding new housing at mid-level and low-income rates, we are denying access to Columbus’s next generation of connectors, problem solvers and difference makers.
Outside of work: Vice president of Weinland Park Community Civic Association, CATCO board, volunteer youth mentor and camp counselor for Royal Family Kids, Volunteer with GiveBackHack and Green Columbus, Leadership Columbus Class of 2018.
What does Columbus need to thrive? Affordable housing. That includes access for people experiencing homelessness, which is a particular risk for foster kids aging out of the system, low-income and mid-range rentals and support for homeownership. Without adding new housing at mid-level and low-income rates, we are denying access to Columbus’s next generation of connectors, problem solvers and difference makers.
Tharp’s idea: There is a great need to improve food access to boost health for low-income working families who eat more fast food than the general population. Many are families of color, who are at greatest risk for COVID-19. To get these communities access to fresh produce, I propose food pantry vending machines to create 24-hour access to healthier food for working poor families. Future 50 participants could use Smart Columbus data to identify sites for the machines, work their networks to fundraise and get support from the Mid-Ohio Food Collective.