Fund for Our Economic Future Approves $10M Strategy

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Fund for Our Economic Future has approved a $10 million, three-year strategy to address the regional issues outlined in its “The Two Tomorrows” report released earlier this year.

“In ‘The Two Tomorrows,’ we were candid: northeastern Ohio faces real economic challenges, but there is a path forward,” said Bethia Burke, the fund’s vice president, in a release. “We must choose the path that will lead us to an extraordinary tomorrow. That requires holding growth and opportunity as co-equal propositions and putting aside our individual agendas to work together. We must redefine what we consider to be success and advance efforts that will improve not just job creation in this community, but preparation for an access to jobs.”

Local and national organizations have contributed $6 million so far to address seven priorities between 2019 and 2021. The focus areas are:

  • Advance growth and opportunity principles region wide.
  • Call attention to systemic racial inclusion as a standalone agenda and embed it within its own processes and strategies.
  • Work with local leaders to embed growth and opportunity principles into local strategies.
  • Support specific job creation interventions, focusing on the region’s innovation strengths.
  • Support specific job preparation interventions, including sector-based partnerships to increase opportunities for residents to advance in family-sustaining careers and initiatives to reduce employment barriers.
  • Support specific job access interventions that bring jobs to people through an intentional focus on building job hubs, and that bring people to jobs through innovation worker mobility pilots.
  • Build the strength of its collaborative.

“We will begin 2019 with considerable wind in our sails,” said President Brad Whitehead, “with a new strategic direction that ensures we’re walking the talk, growing our financial commitments to our work and new staff members who round out our team of dedicated civil leaders.”

New to Fund for Our Economic Future are Janine Spadafore Kaiser, director of job preparation; Dominic Mathew, director of mobility innovation; and Bradford Davy, director of regional engagement.

“The ability to draw together so many powerful voices for the common good is why I am so committed to our work,” said chairman Mark Samolycyzk. “I am further energized by our stated commitment to racial inclusion. Notably, our collaborative is embracing the potential for real structural changes in 2019 so we can better live up to this commitment.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.