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Racial Equity

This year, the commissioners added the pursuit of Racial Equity as one of their core principles of governance

The Franklin County Commissioners have long fought for “Every Resident Every Day” by promoting racial equity, inclusion and diversity in every aspect of county government; but that motto proved especially meaningful in 2020. The Board of Commissioners instituted bold initiatives, with several that were recognized by other leaders across the country.


Not only do one in five kids in Franklin County live in poverty, but the rate is nearly double for African-American children. Alarming disparities like this led the board to commission the Rise Together: A Blueprint for Reducing Poverty in Franklin County, which recognizes racial inequities as a root cause of poverty in our community.


Franklin County officials increased their efforts in 2020 by:

  • Adopting “Racial equity” as a core county principle.
  • Declaring racism to be a public health crisis.
  • Discarding historic recognition of Columbus Day and acknowledging commemorations of Juneteenth instead.
  • Creating a Racial Equity Council for their office, which reviews personnel policies and organizational structures, identifies biases and inequities, and works with leadership to correct them.
  • Creation of a Chief Economic Equity and Inclusion Officer to lead these efforts.
  • Creating the Rise Together Innovation Center, which will study big ideas for reducing poverty.
  • Addressing health inequities with Franklin County Public Health and providing targeted communications to those adversely impacted by the pandemic.
  • Developing job training which links graduates to middle class jobs in the building trades, information technology, professional truck driving, and other occupations.
  • Creating the Franklin County Small Business Growth and Equity Alliance with the Columbus Urban League and One Columbus to provide grants and loans, which are targeted to minority-owned businesses.
  • The commissioners have also put the weight of the county checkbook behind efforts to ensure equity in new jobs created, evident in two legacy construction projects - the new Forensic Science Center and James A. Karnes Correction Center. Local civic and business leaders worked with county officials to ensure diversity among the construction workforce, helping the county to nearly double its participation goals.
  • Bringing a new level to diversity training, by offering implicit bias training to more than 550 people through a partnership with Raising The Bar Consulting Group. The training brings greater awareness by examining institutional barriers and the damage they caused.

The commissioners teamed up with other local officials to calm tensions during a year of unrest

Small & Emerging Business Enterprise

The Franklin County Commissioners recognize the benefit of competing business opportunities and recognize that there are a greater number of minority, female and disadvantaged businesses that are classified as Small and Emerging Business Enterprise. To increase involvement of these groups, the commissioners have set goals for their participation in Franklin County construction projects.

Franklin County Corrections Center

Aspirational Goal of Small and Emerging Business participation 

SEBE representation to date

$39.6 million
SEBE spending

Franklin County Forensic Science Center

Aspirational Goal of Small and
Emerging Business participation

SEBE representation to date 

$5.7 million
SEBE spending

The commissioners stood with local African American leaders this year in their call for action to address racism and bias in our community.