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International Council of Shopping Centers Honors Easton for Innovative Community Programming

Easton Town Center was recently awarded its first-ever U.S. MAXI Award by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).  Known as the most prestigious industry honor, the MAXI Award is a rigorous juried selection process that includes submissions from around the world.

A silver medalist within the cause-marketing category, Easton was recognized for its collaboration with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute’s NextGen Ambassador Society, a group of young professionals dedicated to creating a cancer-free world. Easton worked with the NextGen Ambassadors to host the inaugural Columbus Mac & Cheese Festival, which took place October 14, 2016.  Over 2,000 people attended the sold out event that featured live music, craft beer and a wide variety of macaroni and cheese tastings from 18 Columbus restaurants, 14 of which are located at Easton.


Photo courtesy of Steve Brady.


Through the support of the event patrons, Easton Community Foundation, Easton staff and other sponsors, $65,000 was raised at this first-time event to support adolescent and young adult cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

“When looking for a location to host the first Columbus Mac & Cheese Festival, Easton was the obvious choice. The energy and high visibility offered at Easton plus the support for hosting that many patrons was critical to the success of the event,” said Josh Barkan, Chair of the NextGen Ambassadors. “We are one step closer to ‘mac’ing out’ cancer and are already planning how we can grow and make an even bigger impact through the 2017 event.”

The next Columbus Mac & Cheese Festival is scheduled for October 6, 2017 at Easton Town Center.

“We are honored to be recognized by ICSC for the Mac & Cheese Festival but even prouder of our long standing relationship with The James,” said Jennifer Peterson, Chief Executive of Easton. “Since we opened the center in 1999 we have supported the efforts of this incredible cancer hospital and research institute across many initiatives. We believe in the work of The James and want to do all that we can to support it in the mission to end cancer.”

In addition to the Mac & Cheese Festival, Easton has been a 16-year underwriting sponsor of Celebration for Life, a dinner held each year at Smith & Wollensky at Easton Town Center.  To date, Celebration for Life has raised $17.7 million for the new technology fund at The James.

Dr. Michael Caligiuri and Ani Caligiuri, Steve & Judy Tuckerman, Event Chairs and Rick & Libby Germain, Honorary Co-Chairs of Celebration for Life 2017. Photo courtesy of OSUCC – James

“Celebration for Life owes much of its strong start to its event chairs of course, Steve and Judy Tuckerman, but also to the Easton Community Foundation — which has underwritten the costs of the dinner every year. Fundraising events can be tough to launch and sustain, but Easton Community Foundation made it possible for this effort to find success, which is similar to the role it has played in helping launch the Mac & Cheese Fest,” said Dr. Michael Caliguri, Director of The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. “The OSUCCC – James is grateful for the partnership with Easton, which continues to grow and evolve over time.”

Easton was also an early supporter of Pelotonia, the grassroots bike tour that raises funds for cancer research at the OSUCCC –James. Easton has provided promotional support to encourage riders, volunteers and donors through digital, in-store and town center-wide communications that reach more than 2 million+ customers per month.

“All of us have been impacted by cancer and all of us want to see an end to this disease,” said Peterson. “We will continue to do what we can to make sure The  OSUCCC – James can do what it does best, care for those diagnosed and conduct research to save lives.”

The Easton Community Foundation strives to support organizations in central Ohio that improve lives. Organizations seeking support from the foundation can find out more information online at Easton Community Foundation.

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With more than 26 million visitors per year, Easton is the Midwest’s premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destination featuring nearly 300 best-in-class retailers alongside Columbus’ most exciting dining options, Ohio’s largest movie theatre, a world-class comedy club, and pedestrian-friendly open-air town squares, fountains, and parks.

*Easton is a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence recipient.

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