Impact from the inside out

April 11, 2011

Jole Harmon has been a member of The Ohio State University Foundation Board of Directors since last October, and recently became co-chair of the Athletics Campaign Committee.

“My husband Jim and I have been ardent supporters of Ohio State for many, many years, and I was very honored to accept a position on the Foundation Board,” said Jole. “On the cusp of an upcoming campaign, I am really looking forward to working to make an impact from the inside out.”

The Harmons began their philanthropy to Ohio State supporting the Ohio State-Michigan countdown clock and have since expanded their giving to include Ohio State women's golf, the “Go Bucks, Beat Blue” pep rally, the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Pelotonia, and the Football Practice Field, which was named in their honor.

Now an active community volunteer with an interest in women's and children's issues, Jole was recently elected to the board of directors of Flying Horse Farms, a Hole in the Wall camp. Hole in the Wall camps, founded by the late actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, are the world's largest family of camps for children with serious medical conditions and offer children the chance to restore hope and recapture their childhood through therapeutic recreation, intentional programming, and year-round support.

Currently Jole is working to launch a project of her own— Conceived and implemented by Jole and a band of supporters, the program is designed to promote self-esteem and self-confidence in young girls. “Low self-esteem leads to poor choices later in life,” said Jole. “We want to give girls and the important women in their lives options and programs to address this problem at an early stage. Our motto is ‘Clarity = Confidence = Creativity.’”

Jole views pre-adolescence as a critical time in a young woman’s development. “I started this program because I saw a gap in services for girls in the 5th and 6th grade,” Jole said. “The program has been really well received on a local level. Our eventual goal is to go national with it.”

Approaching life with a sense of gratitude is a practice that the Harmon family lives out each day, as evidenced by their varied philanthropic interests. “We have worked hard but never forget how fortunate we are,” said Jole. “If it’s serving on the Foundation Board, as donors to Ohio State, or volunteering in our own communities, we know that we have a responsibility to give back, however we can.”