Jack Storey Settling Into New Leadership Role in Franklinton
Former assistant director of the Franklin Development Association, Jack Storey, officially took over as executive director of the nonprofit organization back on July 1st.
Storey was officially hired as assistant director in January of this year, but has worked in community development in Ohio since 2010. He said that part of what attracted him to Franklinton in particular is its similarities to his home neighborhood of Collinwood in Cleveland.
“Franklinton, for me, is a lot like Collinwood,” he said. “It has its hurdles to jump, but the people here are incredible and hard working and about as tenacious as it gets.”
Storey first made connections in Columbus in December of 2013, when he began working at the Columbus College of Art and Design as a part of its MindMarket program. He moved to the city for the first time because he desired a fresh start after his close childhood friend died, and his hometown sights served as a constant reminder of the tragedy.
It was through that job that Storey built friendships with former FDA executive director Jim Sweeney, and Alex Bandar, CEO of Columbus Idea Foundry.
That position ended, but Storey stayed in touch with Sweeney and Bandar, often discussing community development and visiting each other’s home sites. Storey decided in the fall of 2015 to move to Columbus and filled the vacant position as assistant director at Franklinton Development Association.
“I came in here and it was nice because I knew a lot of the people,” he said. “And that was a really exciting thing to be plugged in and able to go right to work.”
Coming out of college at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida with an undergraduate degree in film and a graduate degree in business, Storey was unsure of his career path.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing,” he said. “I was a musician who loved cities, that’s pretty much what I knew of myself. And I had an attraction to economics.”
When finished with his schooling, Storey went back to his hometown and noticed some changes that had taken place. He said that seeing storefronts in Collinwood go vacant in his lifetime, including a favorite magic shop he enjoyed as a child, made him want to enact change in the area.
In April 2010, Storey and some veterans that had just gotten back from deployment in Afghanistan started an organization called Saving Cities.
“We built this idea of telling positive stories about places like Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, the places we were from,” he said. “In 2016, I think it’s kind of a normal story to tell, but in 2010, it was not. It was a very strange story to tell.”
The group’s main project was a feature-length documentary called “Red, White and Blueprints,” which was released in 2013. While working on the documentary, Saving Cities held discussion panels in these distressed cities in an effort to help revive them.
Storey said that during those outreach meetings, he began to consider community development as a career.
“I had no idea that this was a thing,” he said. “I knew that I had these passions, but I had no idea that they aligned so well with a certain job, so to have stumbled into that was a gift”
In 2011, Storey began his work at Northeast Shores Development Corporation in Cleveland, focusing on economic development and the vacant retail space in the area and worked there up until and after his time at CCAD before coming to Columbus for good.
Looking ahead, Storey plans to cater to housing issues and other obstacles in the residential parts of Franklinton while continuing to support the growing arts community in the area.
“We are the poorest neighborhood in the city,” explained Storey. “When people talk about how cool this place is, they’re not wrong, but they’re not talking about the whole thing. It’s an exciting time to be in this neighborhood, but it still has a ton of work that needs to get done.”
He emphasized that he and the Franklinton Development Association are not going it alone, however.
“The organizations here are all dedicated to authentically improving the lives of the residents and making the neighborhood an experience for everyone who happens to come through,” Storey said. “I’m incredibly excited and grateful to get to play a small role in helping to move Franklinton forward.”