Throughout our 90 year history, the Lancaster County Community Foundation has been investing in Columbia through funds such as the Paris H. Meyers Music Endowment Fund. However, in 2010 the Community Foundation identified Columbia, along with Lancaster City, as focus of our Long Term Creative Solutions Program, one program of our Ah-Ha Project; Creative Solutions to Real Problems. Our focus on Columbia grew out of our concern for the significant number of individuals and families living at or below the poverty level within the Columbia community. Our goal was to encourage organizations to engage with Columbia residents to find creative ways to increase financial stability and quality of life for low-income residents.
When we began the Ah-Ha Project in 2011, only one of our partners was working in Columbia – the Community Life Network (CLN). CLN acts as an essential hub in the community for connecting people and services. It provides a trusted entry point for individuals and organizations who do not have a history of providing services in the Columbia community.
With our encouragement and funding, more of our partners began to focus their efforts and services in Columbia. Our early partnership with CLN was a key ingredient in the potential success of these programs and services. We continue to encourage our grantee partners to engage with the residents of Columbia and explore ways to expand their services through trusted partnerships.
Over the course of the past several years, we’ve been fortunate to support the following partners as they work together with the residents of Columbia:
- Community Life Network: Ah-Ha CSI youth program
- St. Joseph’s Health Ministry: early childhood dentistry
- CAP (Community Action Program): Circle’s Program
- LHOP: housing ownership & renovation
- RMO (Re-entry Management Organization): alternative sentencing
- Council of Churches: Food Hub
We believe that a prosperous and vibrant Columbia plays an essential role in creating a stronger Lancaster County.