Building Responsibility, Equality, and Dignity


What is BREAD?

Building Responsibility Equality And Dignity (BREAD) is an organization of 44 religious congregations which are working together to solve critical community problems. We are not a service provider, but a grassroots, direct action, multi-issue organization, which has come together to be a powerful force for improving the quality of life in Columbus, OH.

Current Membership

Presently, 44 congregations, representing over 40,000 individuals, are members of BREAD. We come from all parts of Franklin County, representing the religious, racial, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity of Columbus and Franklin County. Our members observe different religious traditions, including Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Jewish, historically African American, Unitarian Universalist, and Muslim.



Lead Organizer: Rob Sievert-Wagner

Senior Organizer: Clarissa Epps

Associate Organizer: Cora Harrison


404 S. Third Street
Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 220-9363

What we do

Our Impact

Since BREAD’s beginning in 1996, we have brought people together from different religious denominations, different areas of the community, and different races to work together on issues of common concern. These are just a few of the community improvements resulting from BREAD’s work since its beginning:

Payday Lending

BREAD spearheaded a campaign with other allies to pass state legislation to lower the interest on payday loans from 391% down 28%.


BREAD pushed the Franklin County Prosecutor to create the KEY Truancy Reduction Program which improved attendance for 200 students in six schools in the 2007-8 school year.

Then, in 2018, we ensured that $88,455 of federal funds were allocated for Columbus City Schools staff to reduce suspensions through training by the International Institute for Restorative Practices.

Further, we pressed Columbus City Schools to implement Restorative Practices in three schools with high rates of suspension. In the first year they reported 25% fewer behavior incidents than the previous year and cut the number of out of school suspensions by nearly half!

In July 2023, our efforts got the State of Ohio Department of Education to give a $1.7 million grant to the district to implement restorative practices. Since the onset of the 2023 school year, the district has trained 500 teachers over 10 sessions, and 80 teachers are now certified to train their peers. Also, BREAD leaders attended a 2-day intensive training session.

Small Business Support and Jobs

We got City Council to allocate $2.1 million dollars for small business expansion through the creation of small business incubators and small business loan funds and secured an additional $1 million dollar loan in matching funds from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio.

In 2017, we won the revision of a city ordinance that would prioritize partnerships with workforce development agencies and the hiring of disadvantaged job seekers including those with criminal backgrounds.

In 2019, we secured $70,000 of startup funding for the “One Linden Cooperative,” a worker-owned food hub in Linden.

Affordable Housing

BREAD got the City of Columbus and Franklin County to form and fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 2001 and expanded to $11.5 million annually in 2019. Since 2001, the fund created more than 11,000 units of affordable housing.

Facing pressure from BREAD, in August of 2019, the Franklin County Commissioners voted on an additional $6.5 million for affordable housing by increasing the real property transfer fee (conveyance fee).

In 2020, BREAD pushed for and won nearly $70 million to keep families across Ohio in their homes during the pandemic.

Juvenile Justice

Our leaders got Lead Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Gill to utilize Neighborhood Restorative Justice circles as a diversion for first-time non-violent youth offenders. Currently seven neighborhoods are diverting children from the juvenile system through Restorative practices.

Mental Health

BREAD successfully pressed the local Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board to expand care for people with severe and persistent mental illness by creating 3 new Assertive Community Treatment Teams and allocating $200,000 for a program accredited by Clubhouse International.

Violence Prevention

In 2021, BREAD got the City Council to invest $430,000 for two separate contracts with the National Network for Safe Communities to implement Group Violence Intervention Strategies.

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