About the Foundation
The Columbus Recreation and Parks Foundation (CRP Foundation) is a private not for profit organization, which exists to further the mission of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department (CRPD): to connect the people of our community through the power of nature, wellness, and creativity.
The organization’s purpose is to support the philanthropic initiatives of CRPD. The CRP Foundation works together with the department, community stakeholders, and the City of Columbus to ensure all residents have access to recreational programs, facilities, places, and spaces that make their lives and communities great.
Board of Directors
Jim Bender has served as the Vice President, Global Customer Journey for The Wendy’s Company since March 2023. Previously, he was Wendy’s Vice President, Brand Activation since June 2019.
Jim’s journey at Wendy’s began in 2011 when he assumed the role of Director of Brand Marketing. His expertise at Wendy’s spans product marketing, new daypart development, restaurant design and experiential activations. Today, Jim is focused on building best-in-class experience for customers and crew for Wendy’s restaurants across the globe. Throughout his time in marketing, Jim developed the invaluable ability to work across marketing, operations, and technology to design high-impact solutions.
With a drive to never accept good enough, Jim instills in his team the courage to stay curious, dare to ask, “what if…” and explore solutions that may seem impossible. He has built a reputation for taking on big challenges no matter his role. Jim is credited for chartering a new age of Wendy’s Hamburger sales growth, creating the first ever Wendy’s food truck for marketing activations and implementing Coca-Cola Freestyle that Wendy’s fans have come to know and love. Most recently, Jim and his team reimagined Wendy’s menu experience for today’s consumers and operators with streamlined simplicity and digital capabilities to accelerate growth.
Jim’s passion for the Queen of QSR began during the time of Tiffany lamps and newspaper print tables, as he frequented the Wendy’s salad bar with his family. Today, Jim’s work is all about reimagining Wendy’s for the next generation, while upholding the brand’s core values. Jim’s go-to Wendy’s order? The Dave’s Double combo, sans tomatoes.
His commitment to food and family extends beyond his role at Wendy’s, as Jim stays busy attending events for his children and is an active volunteer with Mid-Ohio Food Collective.
Before Wendy’s, Jim held brand management roles at Abbott Nutrition and Kraft Foods, in addition to working in advertising. He is an alumnus of Saint Louis University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications.
Tasha R. Booker M.ED
As Senior Vice President, External Engagement for City Year Inc., Tasha Booker oversees the organization’s marketing and communications departments to provide strategic direction to strengthen and enhance City Year’s brand and position in the education space. As SVP, for a $180M organization with 29 sites across the U.S. and 2 international affiliates in the U.K. and South Africa, Tasha is an important external voice of City Year, and partners with senior leaders to achieve alignment and effectively amplify the organization’s brand, position, and thought leadership in support of the organization’s Framework for the Future and pursuit of educational equity.
Prior to her appointment as SVP, Tasha served as Executive Director to City Year Columbus, where she is credited with securing the first-ever school district contract in the organization’s 26-year history. Tasha Booker merges her love of research with her considerable professional experiences so that she is especially effective as a nonprofit executive and education sector expert. With nearly two decades of nonprofit and K-12 education experience, Tasha is known as an authentic leader who’s been consistently successful navigating the intersection of innovation, social responsibility, philanthropy, and profitability.
Prior to joining City Year, Tasha enjoyed roles with increasing responsibility with organizations like, I Know I Can, United Way of Central Ohio, The Boy Scouts of America, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It is in those spaces where Tasha honed her ability to drive vision, strategy, and fundraising while mobilizing teams to accomplish levels of performance not known prior to her arrival. Tasha also leverages her extensive education and nonprofit experience as part-time faculty in the nonprofit Administration Master’s program at John Carroll University in Cleveland Ohio and The John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University.
“Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect and make everyone else deal with you the same way” is Tasha’s mantra and is evidenced in her passion for continuous learning, diversity, equity, and inclusion and as demonstrated by her commitment to community. Tasha can often be found as a panel member for speaking engagements with organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Columbus Metropolitan Club. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Besa Columbus, Harmony Project and Homeport and previously with The Human Services Chamber of Franklin County. Tasha is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, The Columbus Chapter of the Links Incorporated and was a founding member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Central Ohio Chapter. Tasha has been recognized by several organizations and publications, including Business First’s class of Forty under 40, Columbus CEO, Smart Business Executive Directors, Columbus CEO Future 50, WELD Columbus, and Progressive Woman by Smart Women Columbus.
In addition to receiving an honorary Doctorate of Community Leadership from Franklin University, Tasha holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Franklin University and Master of Education and teaching licensure from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She is married to Troy Fowler and is the proud mother of Logan, bonus son TJ, Skittles – the family’s 5-pound poodle, Sir Cooper the Airdale Terrier and Thumper the Guinea Pig.
Jacqueline Bryant is a highly accomplished Media Professional and Communications Leader with a distinguished career of over 30 years. She has successfully navigated pivotal roles, each marked by significant contributions and achievements. Bryant began her tenure with Columbus City Schools in March 2010.
As the Interim Executive Director of Communications Media Relations at Columbus City Schools, Jacqueline has taken on the challenge of leading strategic communications and public affairs for the largest school district in Ohio. She has skillfully managed a diverse group of public relations specialists, aligning communication goals with the CCS vision and ensuring transparency of district operations. Her responsibilities encompass the development of communication procedures for various channels, crisis communications, creating story content, supporting and promoting district initiatives, and overseeing a sizable team. Working closely with the District’s Chief of Communications, she serves as the district spokesperson; she handles all media inquiries. She is central in supporting District personnel, offices, departments, and schools.
As Communications Director within the same organization, Jacqueline has demonstrated exceptional expertise in managing the day-to-day workflow of assignments and projects for the district’s media relations and communications program. Jacqueline has overseen media inquiries, coordinated stories, and crafted diverse communications content. Her strategic contributions have included supporting change-management-related meetings and enhancing the marketing of Columbus City Schools through various platforms.
Before joining Columbus City Schools, she worked with WCMH-TV/NBC 4 for 17 years, working her way up from an assignment editor responsible for dispatching reporter and photographer crews, writing articles and promotional content; as a line producer, she was responsible for lining up news content, story formulation, writing, and fact-checking. She eventually moved up the ranks to work as a Special Projects producer, supporting targeted story content, and lastly, as Executive Producer, responsible for managing the Morning and Noon shows and a team of reporters and photographers. Before moving over to WCMH-TV, she worked briefly at WBNS-10TV as an Associate Producer and Field Producer, honing valuable skills that laid the foundation for her successful career. Following this, Jacqueline embarked on an exciting journey with NBC Sports, joining the team for the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. In this role, she served as a Video Logger and Production Assistant, actively contributing to the production of stories alongside NBC network talent. Jacqueline also interned and later freelanced for a lifestyle magazine show called “Life Choices with Erie Chapman,” a program focused on local and national celebrities making significant life choices to improve their lives and the lives of others.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline holds a Master of Business Administration from Franklin University and a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism, with a Minor in Interpersonal Communications, from The Ohio State University.
Outside the professional realm, Jacqueline is known for her passion for outdoor adventures and her love of athletics: softball, running, and, most recently, pickleball. Music is her solstice, and she constantly pursues new experiences through traveling and meeting people from all walks of life. Jacqueline is deeply committed to giving back to her community by volunteering and being of service to others. She is a proud owner of a lab-pit mix named Blue, who shares her adventurous spirit.
Dan Cannon is a proven business and strategy leader with nearly thirty years of experience. He currently serves as AVP – Commercial Lines Product for Grange Insurance after many years of service at Nationwide and Farmers Insurance. In addition to business experience, Dan has spent the past 15 years supporting youth sports in his community. He has coached baseball, boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, football and wrestling while also supporting the boards of several of the organizations.
His passion for youth sports comes from his upbringing where he grew up in a financially unstable environment. Sports was what gave him hope for the future and day to day purpose. Sports gave him the confidence to change his trajectory. He wants all kids to have the same opportunities through playing sports, which means access to resources, equipment, coaching, etc. He hopes to give back in that regard.
Dan holds an MBA from Ashland University and a BA in Finance from Otterbein University.
He lives in Upper Arlington with his spouse, Ali, and their 3 children, Jake, Tyler and Ellie.
Oyauma Garrison, MBA, CPCU
Oyauma Garrison serves as the President & Chief Executive Officer at Maryhaven, Inc, a nonprofit organization that helps individuals and families lead healthy lives free from addiction and mental health challenges by providing education, treatment, and support. Maryhaven has served over 300,000 since 1953. Under Oyauma’s leadership, the organization will engage in beating the stigmas associated with addiction and mental health, serve tens of thousands more, drive collaboration and execute a wrap-around strategy (including workforce development) to help break the relapse cycle.
Prior to Maryhaven, Oyauma served as the National President & CEO for A Kid Again, a nonprofit focused on providing Hope, Happiness and Healing for families raising children battling a life-threatening condition. He grew the organization from one state to all fifty (50) states plus D.C., in less than five (5) years. Oyauma is a former insurance company executive of over 20 years. He worked at State Farm, Nationwide, Allstate, and Jacobson.
Active in the community, Oyauma has received numerous awards for leadership and community service. He received an honorary doctorate degree from Franklin University in 2019. In 2021, Oyauma received the Denison University’s highest alumni honor, an Alumni Citation. Honors and recognition include, Top 50 Smart Business Leaders, CEO of the Year finalist (2020 & 2021) – Columbus CEO, a Columbus Business First Most Admired C-Suite leader (2019 & 2021) and NBMBAA Lifetime Achievement Award, and National MBA of Year. Oyauma has been featured in several publications and delivered his first TedTalk on Corporate Social Responsibility in 2016. He has been recognized with the United States of America Presidential 2014 Gold Standard Award for Service. Serves as an Executive In Residence at Franklin University and Denison University. Additionally, he has been recognized twice by the Oho General Assembly for his leadership and by Columbus City Council.
Oyauma currently serves as a Director (Vice Chair) on the Board of Buckeye Mutual Insurance Company, and Board Member of Aileron. Oyauma serves as an Executive In Residence for Franklin University and Denison University. He has served as Board Chair for St. Vincent Family Centers, co-chair of the United Way Campaign Cabinet corporate development committee and served a two-year term as Co-Chair of the United Way of Central Ohio Tocqueville society. As an avid runner, Oyauma has completed numerous full and half marathons, along with adventure runs. A member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and St. Mark’s Lodge #7 – Prince Hall Masons.
Oyauma earned his bachelor’s degree from Denison University and his MBA from Franklin University. He as three wonderful children, two young adults and a teenager.
Judge Monica Hawkins
Judge Monica Hawkins was elected Judge of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch in 2019.
During Judge Hawkins first year on the bench, she presided over more than 1,400 cases involving juvenile delinquencies, abuse, neglect and dependencies: permanent court custody matters, divorces, custody, visitation and support cases. She has since been assigned over 11,110 domestic and juvenile cases.
Upon taking the bench in 2019, Judge Hawkins brought with her over 23 years of public service experience.
Before she began her legal career, Judge Hawkins was a Child Welfare Caseworker with Franklin County Children Services working directly with the diverse families of Franklin County. As a Court Liaison for Franklin County Children Services, Judge Hawkins served as a catalyst to improve communications and relationships between the Agency, the Court, prosecutors and court staff.
During law school and shortly after, Judge Hawkins worked as a clerk for a Domestic Relations attorney, was a drug and alcohol counselor for Children’s Hospital and worked for the Federal Public Defender’s Office, Capital Habeas Unit, as an investigator.
As a senior trial attorney, Judge Hawkins represented Franklin County Children Services in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Division and Juvenile Branch in the broad variety of cases that now come before her as a Judge including abuse, neglect and dependency matters, custody cases, motions hearings, contempt motions, reviews and other matters. Among the cases most significant to her, were and remain, the highly sensitive termination of parental rights cases.
During her tenure in the legal department at Franklin County Children Services, Judge Hawkins tried more than 50 cases, handled over 200 cases and maintained an assigned caseload for her region. She also prepared pleadings and argued before the 10th District Court of Appeals.
Judge Hawkins oversees the Juvenile Intervention Center Community Garden, the A/N/D Consortium, she serves on the Community Advisory Board for My Brother’s Keeper Violence Prevention, JJCPI/JDAI Executive Committee, the JDAI DSI/Warrant Committee, the Criminal Justice and Community Correction Planning Board, has a board membership to Look Ma No Hands (a non-profit organization), served as former Board President and remains a long-time board member on Gentry Landings Condominium Association, as well as a previous Big Sister mentor.
During Black History month, Judge Hawkins involves the entire staff in celebration by sending a daily e-mail focusing on the accomplishments of individuals throughout black history and this year finished off the month with an “all staff” Black History Month Mixer. In addition, Judge Hawkins continues to serve on numerous panels and participates in activities that focus on the welfare of the community. She belongs to the Columbus Bar Association, Ohio Judicial Conference, Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges, Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges, Ohio State Bar Association, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.
Judge Monica Hawkins is the proud mother of Dionte’ J. Johnson, former Ohio State University football captain, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He and his wife, Jessica, are the parents of Judge Hawkins’ four beautiful grandchildren.
Jeff Kasler is currently the Director of Government Relations at OhioHealth and an Adjunct Professor at Otterbein University.
Bernita Reese joined the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department in January 2022. Bernita joined us from the Huntsville, Alabama Parks & Recreation Department, where she served as the Director.
Prior to her time in Huntsville, Bernita spent three years as Assistant Director for Columbus Recreation and Parks, overseeing the Community Relations section. Her previous leadership experience includes 12 years as the Divisional Manager for the DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Department.
Bernita has a background of specialized training and experience that surpasses 25 years in the parks and recreation profession. She is a practical, problem-solving, professional administrator, educator and self-motivated organizer who welcomes evaluation based on performance. She is active in a diverse range of professional activities at national, state and local levels. She is currently a member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA). She is the current president of the Bridge at Austin and previously served on numerous boards including Sports DeKalb.
Bernita has experience working with public, private and military recreation. She has worked nationally and internationally in recreation, athletics and therapeutics. Her life has not only been steered to motivate people but to implement programs that have a lasting impact in the community.
Neil Shingala is a born and raised Columbus, Ohio native. He grew up playing sports around the local playgrounds, and learned to value outdoor activities, and community from an early age. He also learned early on what it means to have humility, empathy, compassion, and faith while his father battled cancer. He passed away in 2002, when Neil was 16 years old.
Neil attended The Ohio State University with a focus on Finance and Marketing, before taking the reins of Capital Core, Inc., an Ohio based wholesale transmission distribution company which his late father started. As Vice President, he oversees all aspects of the business, including sales, inventory management, supply chain, and special transactions. Capital Core, Inc., is proudly headquartered in Columbus and has provided jobs to over 200 Ohio citizens over the years.
Neil has a deep sense of pride and passion for local parks, playgrounds, and public facilities for those in need. He has spent recent years working with organizations to help rebuild and revive local playgrounds, with an emphasis on upgrading ADA accessible equipment for children with varying abilities. He hopes to create educational programs to enhance literacy for everyone in need.