The Columbus Story
In the summer of 2011, creator Doug Probst shared an idea with Roger Rawlins and Bill Jordan - two of his fellow executives at DSW Inc. They were each accustomed to writing checks and sitting on non-profit boards but they yearned for a more personal and direct way to give back to the community. The simple idea was to create a team of like-minded and successful professionals to mentor high school students by leveraging the mutual appreciation for the life lessons learned through participation in athletic competition. The creation of a focused, annual program with a team-based approach would enable meaningful one-on-one coaching of high school students, without requiring an overwhelming demand of time.
After sharing stories of the negative impact of poor first impressions they laid a framework on which the program could grow and the Handshake Foundation was born. By February 9th, 2012 they were having their first coaching session with the first three students of The Handshake Program. In just a few years, the program has provided over $100,000 in scholarships and mentorships to dozens of students in central Ohio.. To accommodate the plans for future growth to other cities, the Handshake Foundation became Handshake America in August 2015. Consequently, the Columbus program of Handshake America will be known as Handshake-Columbus.