CEO Corner

Our CEO Jerry Saunders

Jerry Saunders Sr., Chief Executive Officer of Africentric Personal Development Shop, Inc. (APDS). Since 1997, Saunders has served as CEO of APDS Jerry is Managing Partner with The Saunders Business Development Group, LLC. Prior to joining APDS, Saunders served ten years as Executive Director of the Eldon W. Ward YMCA of Central Ohio.

Saunders is dedicated to building comprehensive supportive communities and has a deep passion for addressing the socioeconomic needs of African-American communities.

Jerry is chairman of the board of directors for Creative Housing, Inc., chairman of the board of directors for Equity Now Coalition (ENC), vice chair of the board of directors for Women’s Center for Economic Opportunity (WCEO), trustee of United Methodist Children’s Home, Inc., member of Mt. Carmel Health Systems Foundation Board of Trustees, inaugural member of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Health Equity Community Advisory Board, member of Franklin County Reentry Advisory Board, and a founding member of The Columbus CEO Collective.

Jerry has an extensive history of serving on governing boards of public entities and 501(c)3 non-profit community development organizations including:

Saunders is dedicated to building comprehensive supportive communities and has a deep passion for addressing socioeconomic needs of African American communities.

The Oberlin College graduate and APDS are recipients of numerous awards including 2022 African American Male Wellness Walk Health Hero, 2022 Greater Columbus Basketball Legends Hall of Fame Community Leadership Award, African American Committee’s 2020 Nonprofit Business of the Year, SMART Business Magazine 2019 Medical Mutual Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year, Columbus Urban League Award of Excellence, 100 Black Men of Central Ohio Mentor of the Year, and Greater Columbus Community Helping Hands, Inc. Ambassador of Health and Wellness Award. Saunders received the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow of The Rotary Foundation from Columbus Rotary.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Saunders attended Mohawk Junior-Senior High School, is a history buff, and loves listening to music. He is married to E. Gayle Saunders, and they have one son, Jerry Jr.

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Jerry has more than 35 years of personal and community development experience.  Saunders has an extensive history of serving on governing boards of public entities and 501(C)3 non-profit community development organizations including:

  • Commissioner of the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department (15 years
  • Board of Trustees for Franklin County Children Services (6years)
  • Children’s Hunger Alliance (6years)
  • Officer on the Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (4years)
  • Inaugural Chairman of After-School All-Stars Columbus Board of Trustees (6 years)
  • Board of Directors for the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. (4 years)
  • Founding member on the Board of Trustees for Mid Ohio Stranger Abduction Alert (AMBER Alert)
  • United Way of Central Ohio Education Vision Council
  • Columbus City Schools Education Foundation Board of Trustees
  • The Ohio State University Youth Violence Prevention Advisory Board
  • Pickerington Schools 21st Century Advisory Board
  • Tri-Chair of Together 2000 of Franklin County
  • Co-Chair of the “Building a Better Columbus Committee” which he spearheaded the passage of eight Capital Improvement Bond Issues for $590.9 million.

The Oberlin College graduate is the recipient of numerous awards including the Columbus Urban League Award of Excellence, 100 Black Men of Central Ohio Mentor of the Year, and Greater Columbus Community Helping Hands, Inc. Ambassador of Health and Wellness Award. Saunders received the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow of The Rotary Foundation from Columbus Rotary.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Jerry attended Mohawk Junior-Senior High School. He is married to E. Gayle Saunders and they have one son, Jerry Jr.