Downtown Mansfield logo

MANSFIELD – The Richland County Foundation Board of Trustees has approved a plan to invest in downtown Mansfield called Mansfield Rising.

The Foundation is spearheading the plan, previously known as SXSW419, based on its willingness to think about a civic investment strategy in a new and different way. The plan now will be presented to other organizations for adoption including Mansfield City Council, Richland County Commissioners, Richland Area Chamber of Commerce, Richland Community Development Group, Downtown Mansfield Inc., Destination Mansfield and Richland County Regional Planning.

It will be available to the public in February.

In 2017, the Foundation leadership took an unusual track to develop this investment strategy for Downtown Mansfield. Instead of a hiring a professional consulting firm, it had a citizen-led group create the plan.

With the assistance of Richland Area Chamber of Commerce President Jodie Perry and Idea Works President Jay Allred, Foundation leadership hand-selected a diverse and qualified group of 15 individuals to attend the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

SXSW is a world-renowned thought and ideas festival that brings the sharpest minds in government, technology, business, and entertainment together in one place.

Immersed in a world of innovation and excellence, the SXSW419 team publicly documented their experience with blogs in partnership with local media. The core team experienced hundreds of in-person and digital conversations, presentations, and meetings. This information was crucial to develop the plan along with input and oversight from 28 advisors.

The Foundation engaged the Greater Ohio Policy Center to provide guidance for the plan. GOPC develops and advances policies and practices that value urban cores and metropolitan regions as economic drivers and preserve Ohio’s open space and farmland.  Through advocacy, research, outreach, and education, GOPC strives to create a policy and political climate to allow communities to stabilize and thrive for statewide economic growth.

The Board of Trustees also approved $396,759 in grants from donor advised funds to meet emerging needs to the following organizations:

Alzheimer’s Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter

Ashland University

Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center

Catalyst Life Services

Catholic Charities

Children’s Cupboard

Cleveland Museum of Art

Community Health Access Project

Culliver Reading Center

Discovery School

Downtown Mansfield Inc.

Family Planning of South Central NY

Fenimore Art Museum

First Presbyterian Church, Cooperstown NY

Flying Horse Farm

Friendly House

Friends of Gorman Nature Center

Glimmerglass Festival

Harmony House

Heaven’s Gait Therapeutic Riding Center

Idea Works


Kents Hill School

Kingwood Center Gardens

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

Lucas Community Center

Mansfield Area Y

Mansfield Art Center

Mansfield Christian School

Mansfield City Schools

Mansfield Rotary Club Foundation

Mary McLeod Bethune Intervention and Enrichment Center

Mid Ohio Opera

Mt. Hope Lutheran Church

North Central Ohio Land Conservancy

Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Ohio Genealogical Society

Old Growth Forest Network

Otsego Land Trust

Pathfinder Village Foundation

Plymouth Shiloh Local Schools

Raemelton Therapeutic Equestrian Center

Renaissance Performing Arts Association

Richland Academy of the Arts

Richland Newhope Industries

Salvation Army, Mansfield

Shelby YMCA Community Center

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Museum

St. Peter’s Parish

Taking Root Farm

The Brookwood School

The Family Service Association

The New Store

The Springbrook Foundation

United Way of Ashland County

United Way of NCO – Crawford County

About the Richland County Foundation

The Richland County Foundation, a not-for-profit 501c3, was established in 1945 as a way for individuals to pool and invest their gifts for the long-term good of Richland County and its residents.

The Foundation helps people in Richland County give back to their community by investing their gifts for charity wisely so that grants can be made to improve the quality of life for all of the county’s citizens. Working together with donors, the Foundation meets important needs today and plans for a strong future.

Support Our Journalism

Like local businesses, local journalism depends on community support. Do you enjoy our coverage of the latest in local business? Become a member for the price of one large vanilla latte.