ECDC Grant Helps First Time Home-Buyer Family




First-Time Homebuyer

Grant Money Helps Family

Over the past seven years, Ms. Bills has struggled with accomplishing her number one goal of becoming a homeowner. No matter how hard she tried, it felt like there was always something or someone holding her back. Her low credit score was not helping her and moving from place to place showed instability and poor rental history. Ms. Bills’ situation turned for the worse, her car got stolen which caused her to lose her job as a forklift operator; her optimism toward her future was being tested.

In her efforts of getting a family home, Ms. Bills had taken first time homeowner classes at least three times, hoping and praying that she could purchase a home. She just could not seem to find the source of all her problems, and before she knew it, she slipped into poor health with depression. Just when she thought things could not get any worse, her youngest daughter was diagnosed with a long term and life changing health issue. Having a special needs daughter was truly an eye opener for Ms. Bills, she realized that she was the only one in her children’s lives who could provide them with a safe and stable home they deserve. By 2012, her health conditions had improved and her renewed spirit helped her focus on what was important for her children.

For the past three years of her life, she has worked extremely hard in rebuilding her credit score, she paid off her mini-van and stabilized her living arrangements to build an excellent rental status. In 2013, she received her CDL’s and is proud to be working for Columbus City Schools as a bus driver. As a member of East Columbus Development Company’s “RICH” IDA Program, she became more financially literate and a habitual saver. She completed Financial Fitness classes, and the First-Time Homebuyers classes. Ms. Bills expressed, “This has honestly been a challenging journey over the past seven years, but thanks to the ECDC program and all their support… I made it!” A single mother from Youngstown, Ohio who was determined to accomplish her number one goal and now owns her own home! Prayer Works!

Thanks to

ECDC, Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department, PNC Foundation & PNC Bank

Sawyer Manor Community Center

East Columbus Development Company, Inc.
940 Caldwell Pl.
Columbus, Ohio 43203

Grant Money Helps Student Attend College

Grant money for education

Grant Money Helps Student Attend College

East Columbus Development Company Individual Development Account – Kiana Gordon Story (Education)

It was 2010 when Kiana felt very strongly in her heart to attend Valor Christian College in Columbus Ohio.  She had heard about it a year prior through friends and at that time she lived in Camp Springs, Maryland so it was a shock that she was even considering to attend the college.  She knew it was the Lord drawing her to Valor because she struggled with so much fear of making this huge transition. Maryland was all she knew! She grew up in Maryland… went to school in Maryland…. her family and friends were in Maryland.  Torn between excitement and fear, she filled out an application and was accepted into Valor!  After prayer she moved from Maryland to Ohio in 2012 to attend.  It was a leap of faith as she did not know how she would fully pay for tuition.  Financial Aid was not offered for a school like this so some creative financing had to be done.

Her second and third semester were really tough because she did not have any financial support. She worked and put as much money as she could towards her balance but in the third semester, there was still a huge balance.  She met with a financial adviser at Valor who introduced her and led her to East Columbus Development Company (ECDC) IDA program where she could save $1000 and be matched  2:1 so that $3000 could be applied toward her tuition.  Kiana took advantage of this opportunity and once she saved $1000 dollars, all funds ($3000) were paid to Valor Christian College! “What a relief” she said.

With just a semester away from graduation, through a work study program, ECDC and sponsorship from her church, family and friends she was able to pay for room and board along with her education.

Kiana already has a degree in Sociology from a University but she knew completing the 2 year Bible College was part of God’s plan for her.  Her concentration is in Pastoral Leadership and we are excited to show support from ECDC and help her achieve her goals.

Kiana stated “Not only di dthe ECDC IDA program help her pay off the third semester balance, but it also gave her the opportunity to attend classes that taught her how to budget,  save money, improve credit, and so much more! “Participating in this savings program made a BIG difference in my life and I met so many wonderful people.  I am SO GRATEFUL! Thank you East Columbus Development Company for offering hope to those in needs!”

Grant Money in Columbus, OH

The future seems promising for Kiana and we were excited to have a hand in the outcome.  All of her hopes and dreams were made possible through the sponsorships and funding of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department (CDBG), City of Columbus Department of Development and PNC Bank.


ECDC IDA Program Supports Columbus Filmmaker

Film Producer Cyrus L.R.

Cyrus Littlejohn, a local Columbus filmmaker wrote his first screenplay titled “Aimless” about the phenomenon of Sleep Paralysis while in college. He did not know that he would struggle for years seeking a job after getting his Bachelor of Arts degree. As time passed and things did not pan out, he knew he had to focus on his film project. He started his own film company, 12 Stones Productions, and took marketing and producing into his own hands. His credit score was not loan worthy due to school loans and, although his business plan was polished, he had yet to meet a willing investor. After doing some research online, he learned of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). He contacted East Columbus Development Company (ECDC) to get more information and soon was enrolled in the ECDC IDA program. The insights on economic development learned through the education programs at #ECDC were beneficial for his business. The credit repair, personal savings, and 2:1 matched grant money helped him get a top of the line camcorder, office devices, and a new website created by Creative Business Intelligence Web Company for his business. Cyrus is currently in the fundraising stage for his film project “Aimless” and is trying to get Columbus involved as much as possible.

While taking the IDA classes, Cyrus often donated his time and financial gifts to ECDC because he believed in the purpose of the organization. He’s a firm believer that people who are willing to take courses and demonstrate that they are responsible, by completing the IDA program, deserve grant money. Following his donation near the end of the program, he was asked by the Executive Director, Bernita Gatewood, to be on the Board of Directors. He gladly accepted, and has been helping the organization with marketing and major decisions as it relates to internet marketing and information technology. So not only did the ECDC’s IDA program help him with startup funds, but it led to a position that will help him become a community leader and more connected to resourceful people and other companies within Columbus.

Cyrus has expressed his thanks to the sponsorships and funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Franklin County Economic Development and Planning Department (CDBG), City of Columbus Department of Development and PNC Bank for making his hard-working and entrepreneurial experience a worthy journey thus far.

Volunteer with East Columbus Development Company

Volunteer in Columbus with ECDC

A perfect opportunity to show that you care about the development of Columbus.  ECDC has a broad range of opportunities for you to choose from to help you build your resume or just to show your support towards the organization. We are looking for people of all ages and backgrounds to help with data entry, organization, writing newsletters, responding to emails, answering phones, web developing and marketing. We have more than just administrative work available as well,  so please call and let us know if you have questions or any ideas.

How can you add value to ECDC?

For those who would like to volunteer with East Columbus Development Company; please send resumes to