Partnership between Northeast Ohio Foundations launches with $22 million to support regional economic development
The Fund for Our Economic Future, an unprecedented collaboration of Northeast Ohio private, community and corporate foundations seeking to improve the region’s economy, was launched recently at the Great Again Conference in Akron, Ohio. The Fund for Our Economic Future is believed to be the largest and most comprehensive philanthropic collaboration of its kind in the United States.
The Fund for Our Economic Future has received commitments of more than $22 million from 28 participants to support selected Northeast Ohio nonprofit organizations that have the potential to strengthen the economic prosperity of the region. The size of the Fund is expected to surpass $30 million. By concentrating its resources on a small number of programs and pursuing them as part of an overall plan, it is envisioned that The Fund for Our Economic Future will impact Northeast Ohio’s economic revitalization more significantly than any other philanthropic grantmaking initiative to date.
The Fund for Our Economic Future is expected to address fundamental economic development issues such as business retention and expansion, entrepreneurism, technology development, work force preparedness, and international trade. Priority will be given to projects that strengthen the region’s core cities and demonstrate commitment to diversity in the community and equality of opportunity. The first grantees will be announced following a Funders’ meeting in April.
The Fund for Our Economic Future is open to any and all individual and institutions wishing to use their philanthropy to promote economic vitality. A Funders’ Committee, consisting of representatives contributing $100,000 or more over a three-year period, will identify, review and select funding strategies and grant disbursements. Unsolicited grant proposals will not be considered. Personnel from participating foundations will serve as volunteer administrators. No dedicated staff will be hired to administer the fund, and no new operating entity will be created. A chairperson will be named soon. Citizens wishing to provide input on priorities can do so through The Fund for Our Economic Future’s Web site, http://www.futurefundneo.org/.
Drawing inspiration from smaller partnerships in Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Louisville, and with input from regional and national economic development experts, The Fund for Our Economic Future has been created to collaboratively address the economic development needs and opportunities in Northeast Ohio. During the planning process, organizers received input from more than 100 community leaders and the public at large.