The Jefferson Avenue Center owns and operates historic and newly developed properties that support a community of nonprofit organizations in central Ohio.

Our Mission

A Remarkable Collection of Organizations

Many of the buildings on the Jefferson Avenue Center campus have public spaces that draw visitors. There are two art galleries on the block, a reading garden, and the Thurber Museum House. The Jefferson Avenue Center maintains these buildings and funds the capital improvements to promote efficiency and to protect the fabric of these much-used historic buildings.

We provide shared conference space and office equipment, block-wide events, picnic tables for summer lunches, and public gallery spaces that foster collegial relationships amongst our tenants. 

When nonprofits can save money on overhead costs, they have more to allocate to the programs and services that directly impact individuals and local communities, increasing direct program and service delivery. 

Our current tenants are busy dealing with both today and tomorrow. They include a literary center that teaches adults and children to write; a mix of organizations working on international programming and global issues; agencies whose mission it is to protect children and/or assist vulnerable women; small performing groups; a historical organization; the county's largest provider of literacy services; and a museum.

An Inspired Concept

The Jefferson Avenue Center was chartered in 1975, decades before the concept of “multiple tenant nonprofits” had become a buzzword and a national movement in the charitable and philanthropic sector. Our founding members recognized that nonprofit organizations were finding it increasingly difficult to secure and maintain quality workspace that was stable and affordable and also enhanced the mission and operations. The Jefferson Center campus was an inspired concept that provided below-market rate space to nonprofits, and provided a solution to the deterioration of an inner-city neighborhood. 

The vision of our founding members has been validated by a robust national movement to replicate the concept. According to the Kellogg School of Management”s Center for Nonprofit Management, “Multi-Tenant Nonprofit Centers” are currently serving a diversity of organizations and can be found in a mixture of locales that includes small towns, inner cities, in national parks, on reservations, and in the downtown areas of major cities. The consistent factor is the end result – the nonprofit organizations, the constituents they serve, and the communities at large in which they reside have all benefited from the construction of these multi-tenant centers. The Nonprofit Centers Network is a program that provides training and technical assistance for nonprofits and their partners as they create and operate quality nonprofit workspace. The Nonprofit Centers Network, which began with 25 member nonprofit centers 10 years ago, today has more than 250.


Funds for restoration and enhancement projects have been generously provided by these organizations, which are committed to historic preservation and building the capacity of the nonprofit sector: Bank of America Foundation; The Columbus Foundation; The Gordon Chandler Fund; The Jeffrey Fund; The Reinberger Foundation; State Auto Insurance Companies; Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLP; and Wolfe Associates.