Institutional Change

Institutional Change in Columbus, Ohio

Praxia Partners helps community groups enact impactful institutional change. When Ohio’s Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services was looking for a new home, Unity Partners, a nonprofit developer led by local African American churches, delivered. We’re proud to have played an integral role in the creation of the Unity Center of Ohio.

To expand access to its services, Job and Family Services identified Northeast Columbus as the ideal location for its new office building. Because Praxia Partners has deep ties to that community, we saw this as an opportunity to enact lasting, positive change by empowering local community groups to develop and own the new building. Unity Partners, formed in response to Franklin County’s needs, is a partnership between three community development organizations, all based in Northeast Columbus: New Salem Baptist, Mount Hermon, and Love Zion. Praxia Partners’ Community Building Partners helped Unity Partners form, win their bid, and build the 50,000 square-foot, multi-story Unity Center of Ohio, alongside our contractor, Lakeland Concorde. Our expertise with tax-exempt bonds, negotiated letters of credit, and financial underwriting helped the project come together rapidly, while also maintaining high-quality results. Not only did Unity Partners beat out six traditional for-profit developers, but the project also achieved the following:

  • The county’s standard for minority contracting was five percent. We reached seventy-two percent.
  • The Unity Center of Ohio was appraised at $6 million, a full $1 million above construction costs
  • The new location has improved access to vital social services
  • Today, Franklin County Job & Family Services leases the Unity Center of Ohio from Unity Partners, and Unity Partners reinvests revenue back into its community
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