Leveraging social impact investments to help nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs achieve their strategic goals

Joint Ventures



Citra is the first communications application that stores its information in the cloud, allowing parents, teachers, and therapists to collaborate to provide vital consistency to a child’s communications therapy. This allows children to communicate and practice using the same images at home, school, and therapy.

Citra is the result of a collaboration between the Wells Foundation, the Columbus Speech & Hearing Center and The Ohio State University (all nonprofits) .



Ds-connex is a social enterprise with the goal of helping the Down syndrome community go from raising $12 million per year to $40 million per year through a combination of a peer-to-peer fundraising system, extensive social media support, and sharing of best practices through community building.

Ds-connex is a joint venture between the Wells Foundation, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio and GroundWork Group (all nonprofits).





CleanTurn is a social enterprise that has leveraged its business to provide nearly 300 training and employment opportunities for men and women returning from incarceration in its first three years. It offers groundskeeping, janitorial, demolition / deconstruction, and general labor services.

CleanTurn has used impact investing to help finance cash flow challenges that come with growth, including lines of credit and loans to purchase equipment.



The PAST Foundation combines anthropology and STEM to create transdisciplinary problem-based learning programs in school systems. These engaging learning labs transform the way children learn by connecting classrooms with the real world in very unique ways.

The PAST Foundation used impact investing to renovate a new building and turn it into an Innovation Lab in partnership with Metro High School. Traditional lenders were unwilling to finance the project.

After-School All-Stars

After-School All-Stars Columbus

After-School All-Stars provides programs, transformative experiences, and mentoring that support students in developing skills and habits needed to succeed in life, school, and their future careers. We deliver comprehensive, community-oriented programs to under-resourced students in five program areas: Health and Fitness, Academic Resources, STEM, Career Exploration, and Visual and Performing Arts.

The After-School All-Stars used impact investing for operational stability when a current funder delayed payments for several months. Traditional lenders were unwilling to finance a temporary loan without collateral.



The Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center Inc. (SQACC) strives to be a premier, regional, and Latino based organization that advances the important roles that art and education play in everyday lives. SQACC supports and gives voice to the artistic and educational expressions which advance community development, responsibility and social equity, cultural diversity, global awareness and stewardship, as well as the empowerment of the Latina and Latino identities.

SQACC used impact investing to build their social enterprise Nana’s Kitchen.



Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus gives young people the support, guidance, tools, and skills to succeed in life. It provides comprehensive, affordable afterschool and summer programming for youth ages 6-18 for just $5 per child per year. In 2016, Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus served over 5,800 youth.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus used impact investing to help finance the purchase, renovation, and re-opening of the J. Ashburn Youth Center in the Hilltop neighborhood.



Christ International Community Church (CICC) was the first church formed by Africans in Columbus, primarily to serve Africans who did not feel comfortable worshipping in the already established churches. Currently, CICC has members who originally came from Nigeria, Ghana, Burundi, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. CICC integrates each country’s traditions, customs, and languages into its unique ministries.

After two years of being rejected or offered unaffordable loans from traditional lenders, CICC was able to use impact investing to expand its church to accommodate a growing congregation.

Christ International Community Church



The L.I.F.E. Pregnancy Center offers women who are facing the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy accurate information regarding abortion, parenting and adoption. The center provides free and confidential care including pregnancy tests and ultrasound exams for women in need.

The L.I.F.E. Pregnancy Center used impact investing to turn multi-year capital campaign pledges into cash that could be used immediately to construct a brand new facility and provide higher quality care.

LIFE Pregnancy Center



EmpowerBus provides dependable, workforce-ready citizens with dignified, reliable, and on-time transportation to and from work. This solves a problem for employers struggling to find employees and for employees without the means to get to work.

The founders of EmpowerBus had a contract with an area manufacturer to transport 75 workers per day to and from work, but did not have enough funding to purchase a bus. The Wells Foundation provided them with a below market rate loan to purchase their first bus and officially launch their business, enabling 75 people to obtain employment.



Startup funding



Design Outreach is a humanitarian engineering firm whose first product is called the LifePump™. Compared to other water pumps that may require electricity or can only reach 100-150 feet into the ground, the LifePump™ requires no electricity and can reach water tables up to 325 feet deep.

Design Outreach used impact investing from its board of directors and the Wells Foundation to finance the manufacturing of its first 25 pumps so they could be installed and tested in Africa as part of a pilot project.



The Barn at Stratford has a rich history going back to the earliest settling of Delaware County. It was a working farm and it later gained national attention as a prominent antique center and auction house.

After it was donated to the Delaware County Historical Society, the organization saw it as an opportunity to make it available to the community while generating sustainable income. They used impact investing to renovate and turn the barn into a social enterprise event center.



GroundWork group (GWg) drives social impact by uniting innovative technology with business expertise to serve communities in need. GWg is a nonprofit organization with a history of investing into social enterprises, developing new social innovation models and providing sustainable IT solutions to other nonprofit organizations.

GroundWork group used social impact investing to launch a new service for nonprofit customers called Hardware as a Service that bundles brand new equipment with unlimited managed services including remote monitoring, anti-virus, and monthly on-site technical health checks. Nonprofits are charged a flat monthly fee, which helps spread out the cost.

GroundWork group



Western Reserve CDC breathes life into a community by building new homes, renovating older homes and providing physical development solutions to cities and neighborhoods in the Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties. WRCDC specializes in master planning, project development, and financing for affordable housing.

WRCDC used impact investing to expand its scope of services to include the purchase, renovation and sale of blighted properties as affordable housing. This activity is expected to generate quicker unrestricted funds (compared to rental income) to reduce long term debt and pay for operations.



The Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions is a community-based nonprofit out of Yellow Springs, Ohio. The programmatic focuses of Community Solutions include Regenerative Land Use, Community Economics, and Energy Democracy.

In early 2017, Community Solutions used a pooled group of social impact investors to purchase CDs at a local credit union. These CDs gave the bank the confidence to provide a line of credit to the organization, enabling it to purchase Agraria, a farm and soon to be research center. Community Solutions used a second line of credit from the Wells Foundation to renovate and repurpose the farmhouse.

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