Kent Beittel – Director Emeritus
Kent was Director of The Open Shelter from it’s inception in 1983 through 2019. His wife Mary served by his side for many years. He then became Director Emeritus in 2020. Sadly, Kent died on October 16, 2020 at the age of 72. His efforts and passion in helping the homeless and marginally housed were unmatched and his legacy will live on at The Open Shelter.

Kent Beittel, ’69

“In 1983, Beittel founded The Open Shelter — a nonprofit advocacy center and day-services shelter for homeless and marginally housed people in Columbus, Ohio. Beittel served as the first director of Open Shelter for over 30 years. To date, Open Shelter has worked with more than 40,000 individuals and developed innovative ways to address the complex needs of their clients. In particular, Beittel worked with financial institutions to set up banking and savings access for homeless people, a program that has since been adopted by communities across the country. Beittel and his late wife, Mary, received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, and in 2020 Beittel was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the Upper Arlington (OH) Alumni Association.”

He was nominated by Kenneth R. Sleight, whose nomination was supported by Philip T. Carter, with links below to the nomination and support documents.

Kent Beittel also received the 2020 Upper Arlington Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award for his years of service as The Open Shelter’s Director.

In announcing the award, the UAAA stated that: “For nearly 36 years the shelter has provided shelter, meals, medical services, clothing and other services to hundreds of thousands of persons in need. His dedication to service, advocacy and fundraising has not been an easy path, and Kent has overcome many obstacles over the years including social service bureaucracies and funding challenges. But he has always been adamant about accepting everyone, no questions asked. The UAAA is proud to present the 2020 Award to Kent.”

Kent attended Upper Arlington High School through his junior year while his father served as a minister at The Riverside Methodist Church.

The award is presented to a graduate (or group of alumni) who has demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following areas: Leadership • Innovation • Service • Professional or Personal Accomplishments.

The link below is to a copy of the nomination on which the award was made. The nomination includes a history of Kent and Mary’s work at the shelter, photos of him, and four Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Monthly articles reprinted with the permission of the Dispatch, the Columbus Monthly, and Gannett Co., Inc.