Sheldon K. Johnson

Sheldon K. Johnson
Location: Columbus, Ohio Cohort Start Year: 2018 Project Topics: Built Environment/Housing/Planning, Community/Civic Engagement, Leadership Development, Racial Justice, Social Sector/Non-Profit Populations Served: African-American/Black, At-Risk/Vulnerable Populations, Faith-Based Groups, Low-Income Communities, Urban Communities
Vice President, Community and Economic Development
Fifth Third Bank

Sheldon Johnson is a community development professional who views his work in community and economic development as contributing to the theological act of building a more just world. The world is a big place, so Sheldon focuses his energy on making his hometown of Columbus, OH a more equitable place. Columbus is home to vast disparities where some zip codes are seeing unprecedented levels of growth and investment, while other zip codes must contend with high infant mortality rates and a lack of access to resources. This duality gives Sheldon his purpose. He envisions a Columbus where one’s life outcomes are not determined by their zip code. In order to achieve this vision, he works every day he is overseeing a collective impact investment on the Near East Side.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: Implement a Racial Equity Impact Assessment in Columbus, Ohio, That Can Become a Model for All City Offices
The focus of my strategic initiative will be to support the incoming leadership of the Center for Public Health Innovation to implement a racial equity impact assessment. The Center was created in April 2020 in response to the racial disparities in COVID-19 infections and deaths in Columbus and around the country. This work was deemed critical in June when the Columbus City Council declared racism to be a public health crisis. The goal of this assessment is to bring the issues of structural racism and racial equity to the forefront of every aspect of Columbus public health. This will involve trainings on health equity promotion, developing structures to allow affected communities to be integrated into decision-making, and building trust with various stakeholders. The ultimate goal is for my strategic initiative to serve as a model for the city of Columbus to adopt a racial equity plan for all city offices.

Sheldon is deeply committed to building the capacity of individual leaders and organizations that represent communities most affected by health, wealth, and economic disparities. He believes that effective, committed, and well-resourced indigenous/local leadership is the key to making neighborhoods and cities more equitable, inclusive, and healthy.

Click here to watch Sheldon’s Legacy Project video.