Forge Columbus Founder Reese Neader Passes Away
It was reported this afternoon that local community activist and entrepreneurial leader Reese Neader has passed away.
“Reese died at 11:59 at Grant,” stated his father Jim Neader on Facebook. “Surrounded by loving family, friends and faith. May this gentle man be welcomed into gods heaven. Will update later with arraignments. He fought a long hard battle and lived a wonderful life. Thank you all for your love and prayers.”
Neader had been hospitalized since September after being diagnosed with diabetes, and underwent several surgeries related to ongoing complications.
In 2014, Neader founded Forge Columbus, a local organization that invests in entrepreneurs who want to help build a better city. Forge provides small business services and access to capital to startups with a long-term goal of creating jobs and improving neighborhoods.
“A city that breaks down barriers for collaboration and uses new methods and technology to solve shared challenges has unlimited potential for growth,” wrote Neader in an article on Columbus Underground in 2014. “Columbus already has the energy, the skills, and the resources. We’re here to help.”
More recently, Neader led the efforts as a Kiva Fellow to designate Columbus as an official Kiva City back in July. Due to his leadership, he was able to rally community support to help raise $225,000 to fund future fellowships. Neader won the support of the City of Columbus for the effort, and Mayor Andrew Ginther made the Kiva City announcement a prominent part of his inaugural State of the City address.
“The initial $225,000 in grant support will be leveraged into $1 million in interest-free micro-loans to 200 new, underserved local entrepreneurs over a three-year period, promoting further business development and resulting in a $2 million incremental economic impact,” stated Ginther in February. “This is an opportunity for new local businesses in our community and our neighborhoods to thrive.”
While Neader will certainly be missed, his contributions to the people of the City of Columbus will continue to be felt for years to come.