Many things about New Albany are unique, including its beautiful parks and open spaces, its classic Georgian architecture, its quaint but vibrant village-center district, its learning campus and its friendly neighbors.

One community characteristic that might at times be overlooked is the culture of giving that exists in New Albany.

The examples range from neighbors helping neighbors through difficult times, perhaps with a meal, to families and companies supporting community initiatives through their financial generosity.

Back in 2002, when New Albany aspired to have a public library but the lack of available funds prohibited any progress toward construction, donors rallied to raise more than $1 million to move the project forward.

Hundreds of families contributed in amounts ranging from $25 to $250,000. Today, the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is one of the busiest libraries in central Ohio, serving residents of all ages.

The New Albany Community Foundation acts as a conduit through which families and businesses support the community causes they care about.

Typically, these causes fall into four categories:

* Education and lifelong learning

* Health and wellness

* Arts and culture

* Sustainable environment and historic preservation

The community foundation now has more than 70 endowment funds. These funds were established by New Albany families, businesses and organizations who wanted to support local nonprofit organizations and create opportunities that benefit everyone.

Through their generosity, the foundation has awarded more than $12 million in grants over the past 15 years.

Many communities have generous people and impactful community foundations, but few of New Albany's size enjoy such broad support and few are able to advance such transformational projects.

Even more rare is the level of collaboration that exists in New Albany.

It has become routine for organizations like the community foundation, the city of New Albany, Plain Township, the New Albany-Plain Local School District, the New Albany Chamber of Commerce, the New Albany Women's Network, Healthy New Albany, the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, the New Albany-Plain Township Historical Society, the New Albany Co. and others to partner to achieve greater community outcomes.

Some examples include:

* The McCoy Center

* The Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany

* The library

* Rocky Fork Metro Park

* Wexner Community Park

* The local nature preserve and wetlands

* Rose Run Park

* The Ealy House

* The Phelps House

Beyond the facilities and parks, New Albany organizations also collaborate to create enriching programs, especially those that promote lifelong learning, the arts, healthful living and a sustainable environment.

At present, the community foundation is working with others to build an outdoor amphitheater near the McCoy Center.

This exciting venue will be situated within the Rose Run Park corridor.

City planners and leaders envision this area as a gathering place for the community -- a pedestrian-friendly destination that will transform the town center.

We appreciate all of the donors, sponsors and partners who help make New Albany such a special place to live, work and spend quality time.

Michael Marx is a member of the New Albany Community Foundation board of trustees.