Vice president of global philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase
About: Courtney Falato is responsible for directing Chase’s local philanthropy dollars to causes including neighborhood revitalization, jobs and skills, financial health and small business expansion. She has a history of innovation in the organizations she’s touched, including having led Ohio State University’s engagement with Smart Columbus, including its $15 million commitment; design and implementation of Ohio State’s corporate engagement model; and the reimagining of the Dublin City School District’s high school model with a focus on college/career readiness experiences.
How can we truly be a smart city of the future without the democratization of tech tools, digital infrastructure and digital literacy to support it?
In the community: Smart Region Task Force member, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission; Smart Columbus Executive Committee; adviser, Smart Campus student group; adviser, HackOHI/O; member, Strategic Growth and Outcomes Committee, Columbus Council on World Affairs; Central Ohio Hub Liaison, Ohio STEM Learning Network; and Ohio Department of Education STEM designee applicant reviewer.
What does Columbus need to thrive? When COVID-19 forced local schools online in the spring of 2020, inequities became clear. In some school districts, students went online overnight with little problem, while 5 miles away other districts were weeks behind in pulling together the technology and curriculum. We must leverage this pandemic as an opportunity to innovate our educational system so all students have access to 21st century educational opportunities, regardless of their ZIP code. Educational transformation is the long-term key to our community’s continued growth and will require a public-private-nonprofit partnership like we have not yet seen in this town. At the end of the day, how can we truly be a smart city of the future without the democratization of tech tools, digital infrastructure and digital literacy to support it?
Falato’s idea: I’m drawn to the work being conducted by the Columbus Foundation and the Stanford D.School arming our human services leaders with design-thinking skills to propel collective action and broader impact. Bringing the diversity of thinking and background of this Future 50 class, we could take the learnings from this pilot and scale it across the top three to five most important issues here in Central Ohio.