About our Founder & CEO
About our Founder & CEO - Rick Bannister
Rick Bannister founded neighborhood bridges and launched the 501(c)(3) organization on Martin Luther King Day, January 16, 2017. Since its inception neighborhood bridges has grown to serve 41 communities in Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi and the charity has directly impacted more than 325,000 students and families.
Rick Bannister is a 48 year resident of Westerville. He and his wife Diane began dating while seniors at Westerville South High School and continued dating through their years at Ohio State. They have 4 daughters, 3 of whom are now college graduates, and their gift, Riley is a freshman Musical Theatre Performance Major at Western Michigan University. Rick and Diane enjoy 5 grandchildren; Theodore, Opal, Charlie, Arthur, and Arlo.
Rick served across two terms on the Westerville Schools Board of Education, chaired 7 school levy campaigns and has coordinated a total of 15 campaigns and served on numerous boards in Westerville since 1993.
Now in his 21st season, Rick serves as the volunteer Public Address Announcer for Westerville South football. He is also in his 14th year as the PA Announcer for Ohio State University’s women’s softball team and also announces for Ohio State Women's Ice Hockey (current NCAA Champions), and Men's Volleyball. Rick has announced more than 1,400 athletic and special events in Westerville, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, for Otterbein University, and for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
In 2012 Rick was inducted into the Westerville South Alumni Hall of Fame and the Westerville Board of Education created a Community Service Award in his name.
In 2016 Rick was honored as the Westerville Sunrise Rotary Community Service Award Winner.
In 2018 Rick was inducted into the Westerville South Athletic Hall of Fame and became the only person from Westerville or Westerville South High School to be inducted into the Student, Alumni, and Athletic Halls of Fame.
In 2019 Rick was named a Friend of Education by the Ohio School Boards Association.
In September of 2019 Rick was recognized by the Columbus Dispatch as one of Central Ohio’s 2019 Everyday Heroes.
In February of 2020, Rick was notified by the City of Westerville that he was named the 12th Champion of Westerville. The city of Westerville, in coordination with the Westerville City School District has placed a Champions Plaque for Rick at the entrance to Wildcat Stadium.