HandsOn Central Ohio
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195 North Grant Avenue
Columbus, OH 43215
Mr. Ernest Perry, PMP
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CEO/Executive Director
Mr. Ernest Perry, PMP
President & CEO
Board Chair
Mr. Christopher L. Miller
Ice Miller, LLP

To inspire, equip, and mobilize people to create meaningful change in their lives and in their community.

Organization Overview

Impact Statement


  • We transitioned the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to HandsOn Central Ohio from Lutheran Social Services, ensuring the sustained operations of crisis funding for rent and mortgage assistance.

  • We launched a corporate volunteer service initiative in partnership with The Columbus Foundation and L Brands.

  • We grew the strength and profile of our board by adding Larry Costello, president at East Central Region at Humana; and Melissa Blount-Gardner, assistant vice president of Community and Economic Development at Fifth Third Bank.

2014 GOALS

  • We will challenge greater Columbus employers to enroll in the corporate volunteer service partnership.

  • We will close gaps in services for greater Columbus residents.

  • We will champion collective approaches to impacting greater Columbus' key issue areas and priority neighborhoods.

Background Statement

HandsOn Central Ohio traces its roots to the mid-1980s merger of two existing organizations: the Volunteer Action Center (VAC), a clearinghouse of activities to engage volunteers in central Ohio, and; CALL, Columbus’ first community information and referral provider. The result was a one-stop shop for information on both nonprofit and government program, and volunteerism. As the organization continued to grow to meet the spectrum of community needs, in 1995 CALLVAC launched a new brand identity and was renamed FIRSTLINK.

The agency’s volunteer programs continued to grow, and FIRSTLINK developed ties with national organizations, including the National Council of Volunteer Centers and the Points of Light Foundation (POLF). From there, the relationship grew with the HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer network in the nation. In 2010, FIRSTLINK became the HandsOn Network affiliate in central Ohio.

Today, HandsOn Central Ohio inspires, equips, and mobilizes people to create meaningful change in their lives and in their community. The agency is the region’s premiere information, resource referral, and volunteer mobilization organization, serving greater Columbus for nearly 30 years. HandsOn Central Ohio serves more than 500,000 people across 29 Ohio counties each year by providing community insights, access to critical needs, and volunteer support to provide access to safe and warm housing; nutritious meals; improved academic, social, and emotional outcomes for young people; better public health; and stronger central Ohio neighborhoods.

Statement from Mr. Ernest Perry, PMP, President & CEO

HandsOn Central Ohio is a dynamic social enterprise organization with a rich history of service in our home community. We are proud of the partnerships we have that make central Ohio a great place to live, learn, and lead. We are even prouder of the work we do each day, with more than 1,000 program and service partners and nearly 10,000 volunteers, to sustain Columbus' success.

Statement from Mr. Christopher L. Miller , Ice Miller, LLP

Serving as president of the HandsOn Central Ohio board of directors has provided me with the opportunity to witness firsthand the great need in our community for human services and volunteer engagement. Thanks to the dedication of our board, staff, volunteers, community partners, and supporters, HandsOn Central Ohio has created a coordinated pathway for individuals and organizations to obtain needed resources and provide valuable assistance. I am proud that HandsOn Central Ohio continues to engage citizens, connect communities and initiate change to improve the lives of the residents of central Ohio.



Mr. Ernest Perry, PMP, 
Term Start 7/2013 
Compensated Yes 
Biographical Statement

Ernest was named President & CEO of HandsOn Central Ohio on July 1, 2013. He is a strategic and entrepreneurial nonprofit leader, having served as chief executive or in the executive leadership team of several organizations, including Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley, Junior Achievement of Greater Reading and Lehigh Valley, and Operation Respect in the greater Philadelphia/greater NY regions; as well as the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, KnowledgeWorks, and The Strive Partnership in greater Cincinnati. Ernest has also led The History Teaching Institute at The Ohio State University.

He is a proud alumnus of Miami University and The Ohio State University and has completed executive programs at Villanova University and Harvard Business School.

Ernest is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and the Columbus Rotary Club. He is a proud Buckeye and a native of Columbus, Ohio.

Ms. Shelly Lewis, 
Biographical Statement

Before joining HandsOn Central Ohio in May 2014, Shelly was the Manager of Corporate Volunteer Programs with The Columbus Foundation, where she assisted corporations and their employees with their community involvement. Previous to her role at the Foundation, Shelly was the Manager of Giving Programs and Volunteerism for L Brands, where she oversaw all aspects of volunteerism and associate giving programs. Shelly has also worked in various roles for Nationwide Insurance.

Shelly graduated cum laude from Franklin University and received dual degrees in business administration and human resources management. Shelly is also a 2013 graduate of Leadership Columbus, a class 4 fellow of the African American Leadership Academy, a member of the board of trustees for New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, co-leader of the Bread of Life Food Pantry, and a course facilitator for the Career Institute through the Expanding Visions Foundation.

Additional Organization Information
Number of Full-Time Staff: 27 
Number of Part-Time Staff: 21 
Number of Volunteers: 23 
Staff Retention Rate: 58% 


Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Fundraising Plan Yes
Management Succession/Training Plan No
Organization Policies and Procedures Yes
Strategic Plan No
Additional Organization Information

Franklin County Citizen Corps Council; Ohio Citizen Corps Council; Mentoring Center of Central Ohio; Franklin County Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security Advisory Committee; Central Ohio Public Information Network; Ohio 2-1-1; Ohio Alliance of Information and Referral Systems; Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition; Tax Time; Columbus Rotary Service Above Self; and Community Shelter Board.

National Accreditations Alliance of Information & Referral Systems (AIRS) - Accreditation
National Affiliations Points of Light Institute/HandsOn Network


Local Governing Board
Board Chair Mr. Christopher L. Miller,
Board Chair Term 6/2013 -  7/2015  
Board Members
Ms. Melissa Blount-Gardner,  
Ms. Betty Clark,  
Mr. Larry Costello,  
Ms. Stefphanie Harper,  
Mr. Ryan Hecht,  
Judge Timothy Horton,  
Mr. Daniel Hurley,  
Ms. Megan Kleinman,  
Ms. Amy Schultz Clubbs,  
Ms. Nicole Seals,  
Mr. Anthony Sharett,  
Mr. E. Phillip Smith,  
Ms. Tracy Townsend,  
Ms. Qiana Williams,  
Additional Organization Information
Board Meetings Annually
Board Meeting Attendance 74% 
Board Member Monetary Contributions 54%
Board Member In-kind Contributions 62%
Gender Female 46%
  Male 53%
Race African-American/Black 53%
  Asian-American/Pacific Islander 0%
  Caucasian 46%
  Hispanic/Latino 0%
  Native American/American Indian 0%
  Multi-Racial 0%
  Other 0%
Advisory Board
No members in the Advisory Board.



HandsOn Central Ohio is responsible for the administration of the statewide Dental OPTIONS program in 29 counties in Ohio. As a joint partnership between the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Ohio Dental Association, the mission of the program is to assist Ohioans with special healthcare needs and/or financial barriers to obtain dental care (including dentures, partials, root canals, braces for children and teens, and wisdom teeth extraction). Dental OPTIONS patients are primarily adults, and many are the “working poor” or older adults with fixed incomes. To be eligible, patients must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, without dental insurance, and unable to qualify for Medicaid.

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Corporate Volunteer Service Management

Corporate Volunteer Service Management provides start-to-finish volunteer service management and associate engagement experiences for employers. Corporate and business communities represent one of the most powerful forces for change in our nation, and when their employees invest their expertise and financial resources, corporations can strengthen communities and solve critical social problems. HandsOn Central Ohio works with corporations and organizations of all sizes to engage employees in volunteer community service and help them achieve their corporate social responsibility goals.

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Community Engagement

HandsOn Central Ohio connects individuals, groups, and organizations with volunteer opportunities through the online project calendar, HandsOn Connect. The agency also coordinates National Days of Service, including Make A Difference Day, 9/11 Day of Service, MLK Day of Service, and National Volunteer Week.

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Information and Referral Services

A comprehensive information and referral line provides information on thousands of social service, government and community resources—to help find a solution to any need. Free and confidential, 2-1-1 is available throughout Franklin County 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers can also tap into Foodline, where referral specialists assess callers’ needs—including distance from a food pantry, time of day, and pantry preference—and connect residents with a food pantry or soup kitchen. Additionally, HandsOn Central Ohio coordinates taxi transportation for Franklin County Children Services and acts as the Coordinated Point of Access (CPoA) for the county's single adult homeless shelter system.

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Senior Corps

Senior Corps includes the RSVP and Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), two national initiatives that engage older adults in meaningful volunteer service. RSVP is the largest volunteer network in the nation for those 55 and over, providing volunteer opportunities for older adults to utilize their experiences and interests on a regular basis in a variety of settings throughout our community. Most volunteers are placed at sites that focus on the “healthy futures” of our community and help older adults maintain independence—generally through senior transportation, Meals on Wheels, community gardening, and teaching classes at senior centers. FGP provides opportunities for children with special needs to receive one-on-one tutoring and mentoring from low-income, older adults who receive a stipend for their service. FGP participants provide tutoring, mentoring, and emotional support in elementary schools, Head Start centers, and developmental disability agencies.

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Data reflects three most recently completed fiscal years.

Current Fiscal Year 07/01/2013 - 06/30/2014
Projected Revenue $2,933,881
Projected Expense $2,775,354
Endowment Fund No
Current Capital Campaign? Yes
Capital Campaign Start/End Dates 1/2013 - 12/2014
Campaign Goal $238,184

To upgrade our phone network technology, the critical infrastructure powering our comprehensive information and referral operations.

Revenues by Source

  2013   2012   2011  
Total Direct Support $262,034  $175,871  $256,918 
Direct Support Foundations
Direct Support Corporations
Direct Support Individuals
Direct Support Unspecified $262,034  $175,871  $256,918 
Government $1,470,689  $1,431,373  $1,547,478 
Indirect Public Support $327,619  $314,881  $296,885 
Earned Revenue $107,539  $182,662  $171,865 
Interest and Dividends
Membership Dues
Special Events
In-kind $28,412  $31,277  $42,021 
TOTAL REVENUE $2,196,293  $2,136,064  $2,315,167 

Expense by Type

  2013   2012   2011  
Programs $2,122,421  $2,168,376  $2,066,509 
Administration $161,138  $147,523  $163,885 
Fundraising $37,994  $19,376  $13,941 
Payment to Affiliates
TOTAL EXPENSES $2,321,553  $2,335,275  $2,244,335 

Assets and Liabilities

  2013   2012   2011  
Total Assets $935,005  $899,713  $1,077,396 
Current Assets $440,890  $346,316  $538,066 
Total Liabilities $337,868  $210,373  $236,310 
Current Liabilities $337,868  $210,373  $231,021 
NET ASSETS $597,137  $689,340  $841,086 


TCF Staff:
Documents Form 990 2013 Form 990 2012 Form 990 2011

All portrait information is provided voluntarily by nonprofit organizations. An organization may decline to participate. At a minimum, information is updated annually--sometimes more frequently. Documents indicated as available by an organization are verified by Foundation staff. The financial section is completed by Foundation staff based on available documents for a three-year period.