Economic Development

3 Commit $100,000 to Fund for Our Economic Future

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, Trumbull 100 and the Youngstown Foundation have jointly committed $100,000 over three years to the Fund for Our Economic Future, Jennifer Roller, president of the Raymond John Wean Foundation, announced Tuesday.

The Wean Foundation, Warren, renewed its membership last March by committing $100,000 over three years, said Roller, also regional engagement leader of the fund, which serves 18 counties in northeastern Ohio.

The Fund for Our Economic Future, founded in 2004 and based in Cleveland, describes itself an “an alliance of [50] funders – foundations, corporations, universities, health care systems, business and civic associations, [local] governments and individuals – who pool their resources and [knowledge] to advance economic growth and increase access to opportunity for the people of northeastern Ohio through job creation, job preparation and job access.”

Most recently it provided a $20,000 grant to the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center, better known as TBEIC (pronounced T-Bike) in Warren. Even before that grant, the fund provided support for its creation, said Chris Thompson, director of regional engagement, in Cleveland.

It helped to fund the coalition that led to America Makes, headquartered in downtown Youngstown, Thompson said. And it underwrote most of the funding — $99,000 — of the Northeast Ohio Additive Manufacturing Resource Asset Map that the Youngstown Business Incubator will present in late June or early July.

“They’ve been very supportive,” said Barb Ewing, chief operating officer of the incubator, on developing the asset map.

The fund says that its “efforts have helped retain or create more than 18,500 jobs, add $760 million in payroll and attract $4 billion in capital” to 18 counties, which include Trumbull and Mahoning.

In the last three years, says a spokeswoman, from 2013 through 2015, the fund claims credit for helping to create 6,117 jobs, $361 million in payroll and attracting $1.76 million in capital in the 18 counties of northeastern Ohio. Within these statistics were 544 jobs created in the Mahoning Valley, $25 million in payroll and $98 million in capital attracted.

Under its charter, each member has one vote in determining which projects and initiatives are funded and how much.

The Trumbull 100, Warren, has been a member since 2009 while the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, Youngstown, is rejoining. The Youngstown Foundation is a new member, Roller said.

Enrolling more members from the Mahoning Valley in the fund would increase its influence and help direct more funds to economic development in Greater Warren and Greater Youngstown, Roller said. The fund has a policy of “one member, one vote to assure that smaller foundations have a strong voice,” she noted. To remain a voting member on the board, an entity must contribute a minimum of $100,000 over three years.

Pictured: Graphic from the fund’s annual report that shows how its allocations impact the entire region.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.