MM 2024

For nearly 100 years, The Merry Makers Club of Columbus has played a key role in central Ohio’s social and civic fabric. Now, Columbus College of Art & Design students will directly benefit from the Merry Makers’ support.

The Merry Makers’ charitable arm, The Merry Makers Club Foundation of Columbus, Inc., has announced plans for a gift to Columbus College of Art & Design that will support CCAD’s diverse student body. The $100,000 gift from the foundation will provide scholarships to undergraduate students at CCAD who have financial need and who reflect and represent the Merry Makers’ mission: “To unite in a bond of fellowship, civic minded persons of culture, patriotism, and a high sense of honor.”

Meet the Merry Makers

The support from Merry Makers for CCAD students formalizes connections between the two organizations, who are a stone’s throw from one another in downtown Columbus. Merry Makers’ members also include CCAD trustee Corey Favor (Illustration, 2003), Senior Director of Community Engagement Arts & Culture at Orange Barrel Media, and Jerry Allen, a partner with law firm Bricker Graydon and former chair of CCAD’s Board of Trustees.

The primary mission of The Merry Makers Foundation is education,” Allen says. “With African Americans still underrepresented in higher education, we have focused on that, and I think CCAD is a great place for it. … CCAD has a proven commitment to diversity.”

Merry Makers Club
Courtesy of the Merry Makers Club 

The Merry Makers originated as a social club for young Black men in 1926, sponsoring dances and parties for Columbus’ African American community in a city divided by social segregation. Within a decade's time, the club's mission expanded to provide help to central Ohioans in need.

Today, Merry Makers retains both aspects of its early years, providing social connections among Black men in Columbus, and supporting community services, education and the local Black community as a whole. Through the decades, the Merry Makers' foundation has raised more than $350,000 and awarded more than 150 scholarships for Black students attending The Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College. Now CCAD students will directly benefit from their charitable work, too.

A scholarship designed to support CCAD’s Black student leaders

Nearly all of CCAD’s students receive some sort of financial assistance for college, and support such as the endowed scholarship from Merry Makers helps the college attract and retain talented artists and designers regardless of income.

This incredibly generous gift from the Merry Makers Foundation will not only reduce financial barriers, it will help students to thrive at CCAD academically and as campus leaders,” says Chris Mundell, CCAD’s Vice President for Institutional Engagement and co-chair of the college’s Presidential Commission on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion."

The commission was created to help CCAD grow with intention into a more inclusive and equitable institution; among its commitments are to enroll—and retain—more students of color at CCAD. 

Merry Makers Image Chris Mundell & Corey Favor
Merry Maker and CCAD Trustee Corey Favor (Illustration, 2003) and CCAD VP of Institutional Engagement Chris Mundell.

“It’s no secret that racial disparities continue to persist in higher education and we are deeply thankful for the support of the Merry Makers Foundation as CCAD strives to cultivate future generations of visionary and diverse leaders,” says Mundell.

Scholarships from The Merry Makers Foundation of Columbus, Inc. Endowed Scholarship Fund will be awarded annually to one or more undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need and are in good academic standing. Scholarship candidates must have a demonstrated track record of community or school leadership and plan to become a member—or are already a member of—CCAD’s Black Student Leadership Association (BSLA) or its successors.

Merry Makers’ scholarship strengthens CCAD student diversity and success

The scholarship funds, which are renewable, can be used for any education expenses a recipient may have. That structure is key, says Allen. “Finances are a struggle for many students, and it’s not just the tuition and fees, but the other costs of attending college. We tried to tailor our parameters for use of scholarship funds in a way that will be most beneficial from a students’ standpoint and a school’s standpoint,” he says.

Corey Favor & Jerry Allen headshot
Merry Makers Corey Favor and Jerry Allen. Courtesy of the Merry Makers Club.

And, notes Allen, the scholarships are intended to benefit both existing CCAD students to ensure they can complete their education, as well as function as a recruiting tool to encourage even more diversity and creative viewpoints within the student body.

As an alum, Favor helped advise and grow CCAD’s BSLA. He calls the Merry Makers’ scholarship for

CCAD students “the right fit and a great opportunity'' for both organizations.

For the club, it’s about creating legacy for the community—that’s what we’ve been intentional about since our inception in terms of students of color: giving them both the opportunity to thrive and relieving some of the burden of the costs of education,” Favor says.

Allen says Favor himself is a “living, breathing example” of the college’s positive impact on individuals and the Columbus community. “The value of the CCAD education and the creative economy—I really believe in it,” he says.

CCAD campaign to make college more affordable for talented artists and designers

The Merry Makers gift comes as part of CCAD’s Here for Change: A Campaign for The CCAD Way, a $20 million initiative supporting CCAD’s distinctive approach to creative education that makes central Ohio a destination for both working professionals and families. Among the campaign's goals is to direct $5 million toward new merit- and need-based student scholarships, helping CCAD attract and retain the most creative students and reduce their financial burden so they can focus on their studies and graduate with as little debt as possible, ready to change the world—and greater Columbus—for the better.

“Too often, even small financial shortfalls can keep students from fulfilling the promise of their potential,” says Mundell. “Scholarships change that, and in the process, change lives.”

The Merry Makers themselves are gearing up for a campaign—March to a Million—in celebration of their 100th birthday in 2026. In addition to each of the club’s roughly 35 members giving to the $1 million campaign, the club is seeking grants and other financial support to continue its work to make positive change in the lives of central Ohioans for decades to come.

Learn more about Here for Change: A Campaign for The CCAD Way here.
Read more about CCAD’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion here.

Read more about The Merry Makers Club of Columbus in The Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Monthly or by visiting