Mahogany Columbus Names Erika Clark Jones one of 2023's Most Influential Women of Color - ADAMH Board of Franklin County

Mahogany Columbus Names Erika Clark Jones one of 2023’s Most Influential Women of Color

Erika Clark Jones, CEO of the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, was one of the local leaders featured in Mahogany Columbus' 2023's Most Influential Women of Color list, which was published in the May/June 2023 issue. Below is the profile that appeared in the magazine.

Mahogany Columbus May/June 2023

Erika feature

Collaboration has been a guiding principle for Erika Clark Jones throughout her more than 22 years as a public servant in local government, working on behalf of marginalized populations across central Ohio.

With a strong faith background and concern for communities, Erika has a record of inclusive leadership rooted in humility and transparency with an emphasis on execution, quality improvement and meeting targeted outcomes that improve lives.

Erika notes that the brightest moments in her career were earned working with coalitions of public, private, non-profit and community stakeholders. Highlights include reducing infant deaths in Franklin County by 23 percent over three years, improving health care access with the construction and support for two federally qualified community health centers and the current development of a $59 million community behavioral health crisis care facility.

A Columbus native, Erika's leadership experience spans across public health, public affairs and public policy. Her career includes 19 years in the Office of the Mayor for the City of Columbus including time as Deputy Director of the Community Relations Commission, Policy Director, and Director of the Office of Homeless Advocacy. Additionally, Erika led the CelebrateOne initiative to reduce infant mortality in central Ohio and the Southern Gateway initiative to improve neighborhood conditions on Columbus' South Side.

In January 2020, Erika became CEO for the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH). She is the first CEO of color since the agency was founded in 1968.

ADAMH leads the planning, funding and evaluation of mental health and addiction services for residents of Franklin County and contracts with more than 30 non-profit behavioral health providers to deliver quality services in neighbor­hoods across the community.

ADAMH is supported through a voter-approved property tax levy, providing $80 million or 73% of the agency's $122 million budget in 2023. Levy dollars, leveraged with federal, state, local and philanthropic funds, ensure that mental health and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery support services are available, regardless of race, income, zip code and insurance status.

As ADAMH CEO, Erika has navigated the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic and secured the passage of a five-year, 2.2 mil operating levy with 70% approval from Franklin County voters. During her tenure, ADAMH has helped to redefine and fund lifesaving pathways for those in crisis. The cornerstone of this work is the new Franklin County Crisis Care Center, which began construction in April. When it opens in 2025, a no-wrong-door approach will ensure that any adult arriving at the crisis center receives services regardless of ability to pay.

Erika's commitment to bringing people together to get things done extends to her volunteer work. She currently serves on the boards of Capital University and the Columbus YWCA and chairs the OneOhio Region 1 Committee to dis­tribute settlement funds to communities ravaged by the national opiate epidemic. Erika also served on the board of the Columbus Metropolitan Library for 14 years and led multiple voter registration and mobilization efforts.

Erika earned a bachelor's degree from Capital University and a master's degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. She also completed the Harvard University Young American Leadership Program. Erika and her husband Mark have a blended family of five children and a dog named Keno.

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