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Investing in People: Celebrating Franklinton’s Gladden Community House

By Kate Bauer2022-02-25

CoverMyMeds is proud to support Gladden Community House’s mission to strengthen the wellbeing of Franklinton’s children, families and community, and build a thriving equitable neighborhood. We recently dedicated our 100-foot wallscape facing Ohio 315 to celebrate the nonprofit’s 117-year legacy of investing in the potential of people.

CoverMyMeds’ Columbus campus is surrounded by historic grounds — our neighborhood of Franklinton was founded in 1797 as Central Ohio’s first official settlement.FRANKLINTON HISTORY, Franklinton Development Association Today, it’s a diverse, close-knit community of west side residents — a place supported in a major way by Gladden Community House.

Gladden Community House was established in 1905 as part of the United States’ settlement-house movement that began in the 1880s. At that time, most settlement houses were “large buildings in crowded immigrant neighborhoods of industrial cities, where settlement workers provided services for neighbors and sought to remedy poverty.”Settlement Houses, Encyclopedia of Chicago

More than a century later, Gladden Community House continues to diligently serve the families of Franklinton by providing and enabling emergency assistance, food security, early childhood education and housing stability to those in need.

We want to be a true community center where people from all walks of life come together to lift each other up.

Nick Bankstonpresident and CEO of Gladden Community House

Celebrating Gladden’s 117-year legacy

To celebrate Gladden’s noteworthy legacy in Franklinton, we recently dedicated our 100-foot wallscape facing Ohio State Route 315 to Gladden so we could make the organization’s impact known — in a big way — to anyone driving by the neighborhood.

On the wallscape, our shared objective shines clear: to invest in the potential of people.

To honor the occasion, we sat down with Gladden House President and CEO Nick Bankston to discuss the nonprofit’s upcoming plans.

Upholding the movement for modern day

Nick, a self-proclaimed born and bred “Columbus kid,” officially became president and CEO of Gladden Community House on Jan. 11, 2021, but he’s been aware of the organization’s offerings since he was a child.

“Settlement houses are entwined with Columbus’ history — for me, growing up, their names were synonymous with certain neighborhoods,” Nick said. “The original movement encouraged people of means to live in the settlement houses, close to those they were trying to serve — that proximity is so important.”

In addition to addressing poverty from an economic standpoint, settlement houses also enabled people to share culture and spread education — a concept that evolved into modern-day social work. Although Nick and his Gladden Community House colleagues don’t live in the nonprofit’s headquarters anymore, he joked that sometimes it feels that way.

“Moving forward, we want to continue to evolve — not just into a place folks think of when they’re in crisis, but also into a place that continually invests in the potential of people,” Nick said. “We want to be a true community center where people from all walks of life come together to lift each other up.”

A venture made possible by volunteers

Currently, Gladden Community House’s five key pillars include youth services, adult and family support, senior outreach, crisis and community services and a food pantry — all of which require assistance from volunteers to stay up-and-running.

Since 2017, 132 CoverMyMeds employees have volunteered 400 hours at Gladden Community House through a variety of activities, such as providing STEM education to local students, pitching in to revamp the nonprofit’s community gym with fresh paint and new lighting, and delivering food packages to homebound seniors during holiday seasons.

One CoverMyMeds employee who’s currently involved with Gladden Community House is Kelsey Langdale, an associate software developer. She officially joined the organization's board in January 2022.

“The first time I walked into Gladden Community House, one of the directors asked if I wanted to volunteer as a cheerleading coach — I loved him immediately,” Kelsey said, adding that she appreciates how Gladden Community House helps kids be kids. “When you walk through the doors, you feel that nostalgia of playing with friends in the gym, doing arts and crafts and running carefree through the halls.”

In 2022, Kelsey is excited to help with several key initiatives including hiring more staff members, coordinating building improvements and planning a springtime fundraising event.

“Every staff member at Gladden dedicates their whole heart to the nonprofit’s programs,” she said. “Their passion for our community is contagious.”

CoverMyMeds employees considered Franklinton their home before they even moved in.

Nick Bankstonpresident and CEO of Gladden Community House

Design inspired by pictures old and new

Kyle Fordrung, senior graphic designer at CoverMyMeds, worked closely with Gladden Community House to help design the new wallscape.

"Gladden has been an important part of the Franklinton community for more than a century, and we wanted to visually represent its diverse history on the wallscape," Kyle said. “The juxtaposition of new and old photos, I think, really drives home the fact that Gladden isn’t going anywhere — they’re here, investing in people, for the long-haul.”

CoverMyMeds has similar goals. When we announced our plans to build our campus in Franklinton in 2018, we also reinforced our commitment to give back to the surrounding community. Four years later — with the help of our employees’ selfless volunteer efforts — we’re working diligently to continue fulfilling that promise.

“Gladden Community House has been a foothold in Franklinton for over a century, and CoverMyMeds recently put down roots here, too,” Nick said. “Even before CoverMyMeds broke ground, we had a lot of employees volunteering with us — that goes to show they considered Franklinton their home before they even moved in.”

The only way to combat and eliminate poverty is for the entire community to get involved.

Nick Bankstonpresident and CEO of Gladden Community House

Hopefully making in-person plans for 2022

Due to the events of 2020 and 2021, many in-person volunteer efforts with Gladden Community House were put on hold. However, Nick remains optimistic about what’s to come. In 2022, he’s looking forward to Gladden Community House opening its doors for more folks — from CoverMyMeds and elsewhere — to participate in the nonprofit’s programs.

“It’s critically important for companies like CoverMyMeds to support organizations like Gladden Community House because we’re all part of Franklinton,” Nick said. “The only way to combat and eliminate poverty is for the entire community to get involved — not just the people in poverty. It takes everyone working together towards that common goal.”

Want to get involved with Gladden Community House? Visit the nonprofit’s volunteer page to begin.

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