Structures that endure over time are built on sturdy foundations.

For communities to grow over time, new foundations that harness charitable passions with good ideas is how to drive forward-looking partnerships that enable civic minds to fashion the future.

Recently created, the Gahanna Foundation Inc. is designed to do just that, starting with its first bright-idea project: Light up the historic bell tower atop the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary to help Gahanna outshine the competition.

Illuminating the 1895 Gothic-style bell tower, located one block east of Creekside in Olde Downtown Gahanna, is the first of other Sanctuary-centric projects on the foundation's civic-minded menu.

Chris Apfelschtadt of "Light Up Columbus" will install circular-exterior lights that accentuate the unique workmanship of the eight arches and crown built 123 years ago. For a one-time investment of $7,700, foundation donors can deliver good-vibe dividends for years or decades to come as growing Gahanna establishes its brand.

Structured for charitable purposes, the Gahanna Foundation Inc. intends to seek grants, gifts and endowments for both its current menu of projects, with others to follow as minds and money meet to craft exciting new projects, programs or initiatives. It may also serve as fiscal agent for Olde Gahanna Sanctuary to seek capital improvement funding not previously available, based on Olde Gahanna Sanctuary's social 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status.

As a retired development and communications professional who played a major role in developing the Short North and the Neighborhood Partnership Program back in the mid-1980s as the director of neighborhood development for the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, I have no doubt that flipping the switch to put power on the tower will also help flip the switch for new business coming to Creekside and beyond.

Economic development pros know "induced jobs" from a small but intensively bright projects like lighting the bell are equal in value to jobs created from more direct sources. The multiplier effect is alive and well for a growing community such as Gahanna, where new synergies for arts and more are developing.

Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland isn't shy about expressing his support for the project. "The Sanctuary has been that 'silent' historical icon that would literally 'come to life' with this lighting project," he told me recently. "Olde Gahanna and the Creekside District will shine brighter with private investment projects like this. My family and I will be contributing to the lighting effort because it's a great project."

Whether you're born and raised in Gahanna, have a business presence here, or have moved here as my wife and I did a couple years ago, your generous donation to the Gahanna Foundation Inc. for this and future projects will help Olde Gahanna Sanctuary and its nearby neighborhood. Please help if you can, so you can be proud of what you've done to put Gahanna on the map in a new way.

Go to to learn more.

John Spinelli is the president of the Gahanna Foundation Inc. and treasurer/secretary of Olde Gahanna Sanctuary Inc.