In 2002, the Columbus Partnership was founded as a non-profit, membership-based organization of CEOs from Columbus’ leading businesses and institutions.  What began as eight CEOs has evolved into the Partnership’s current membership base of more than 70, providing representation across the Columbus business community.

The Partnership strategically considers how to uphold the vision to be the most prosperous region in the U.S.  To accomplish this purpose, leaders from member organizations and others convene to address opportunities to advance economic development, smart mobility, public policy, education, leadership development, philanthropy, community branding and downtown development.

Partnership founders Les Wexner and the late John F. Wolfe shared their thoughts on the early days of the Partnership during a Q&A with Columbus CEO magazine. Check out the transcript of their 2015 conversation here.


Economic Development

In 2010, Columbus leaders started a journey to transform economic development in Central Ohio. The Columbus Partnership commissioned an assessment that benchmarked the Columbus Region against peer communities throughout the United States. The Partnership also led the collection of input from more than 1,500 individuals representing large corporations, small businesses, government officials, young professionals and civic organizations.  This community-wide collaboration of both people and resources resulted in the creation of an aggressive new economic development strategy and organization called Columbus 2020. Now known as One Columbus, the public-private partnership is recognized as one of the top economic development groups in the country.


Smart City Initiatives

In 2016, Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, receiving $50 million in grant funding and the designation as America’s Smart City. Led by the City of Columbus and the Columbus Partnership, in partnership with The Ohio State University, American Electric Power and many others, Smart Columbus was formed to lead smart city initiatives in Columbus. Together, we are dedicated to becoming the nation’s leader in mobility innovation.