The Theodore J. and Thelma G. Tobbe Fund of The Columbus Foundation has awarded Besa a $12,500 grant to support Besa’s Adopt a Senior and volunteer programs.

This year marks the fifth for Besa’s Adopt a Senior program, which allows volunteers to sign up as Secret Santas for local senior citizens. Since its inception in 2012—when Secret Santas bought $240 in gifts for 26 seniors—Adopt a Senior has provided more than $40,000 in holiday gifts to nearly 1,000 senior citizens.

This year, with support from The Columbus Foundation grant, Besa aims to double last year’s gift total of $22,500.

“These are people who don’t really have a lot of interaction with the outside world beyond their care managers. They’re not expecting anything for Christmas,” said Besa Executive Director Matthew Goldstein. “We are grateful that, thanks to The Columbus Foundation, we can surprise even more seniors this year.”

Volunteers can sign up to be Secret Santas at once wish lists are published in October. Each Secret Santa receives a wish list from a local senior citizen. Secret Santas then purchase and wrap gifts, leave the gifts with Besa, and the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging delivers the gifts.

Besa is a Columbus nonprofit dedicated to supporting those who need it most by connecting people and businesses with local charities, from food pantries to homeless shelters. Besa offers a portal at where Columbus residents can easily find and register for volunteer opportunities citywide; it hosts drives for various nonprofits; and it helps corporate partners manage and enhance their philanthropic efforts. For more, visit

The Columbus Foundation is the trusted philanthropic advisor® to more than 2,400 individuals, families, businesses, and communities that have created unique funds to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. More than 70 years strong, The Columbus Foundation is the seventh largest community foundation in the United States. For more, visit

Kristy Eckert, Founder + Chief Strategist, Kristy Eckert Communications