Economic Development

Fund for Warren’s Future to Accept Grant Applications

WARREN, Ohio – The Fund for Warren’s Future, an economic development initiative launched in October by city and community leaders, will begin accepting applications Monday for its first round of grants.

Prospective recipients will be able to apply through March 23 for the first round of grants, said Dennis Blank, volunteer administrator for the fund.

“The feedback on the fund and our plans is 100% positive to date, but we are just beginning the active outreach program to meet with community groups to explain how the fund works and how to partner with us,” Blank said. “We still have a lot of legwork to do.”

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin, Covelli Enterprises CEO Sam Covelli, AVI Foodsystems Inc. President and CEO Anthony Payiavlas and Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley President Shari Harrell announced the fund’s launch Oct. 17 at the Raymond John Wean Foundation. The goal is to encourage economic development in the city.

Applications will be available on the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley website. The foundation, which serves as the fund’s host, also accepts contributions to the fund via its website.

“We’re facilitating the inflow and outflow of the dollars,” Harrell said. “We’re not participating in the decision-making as to how they spend it and such.”

Instead, the three-member board – Franklin, Covelli and Payiavlas – will select projects from among the applications for funding.

The city provided $50,000, while Covelli and Payiavlas contributed an additional $25,000 apiece toward the fund’s $200,000 goal. The  businessmen also agreed to spearhead the fundraising campaign that targets local businesses and to match  funds raised up to $50,000.

Harrell said one business has already donated $5,000.

Through his Warren Expressed website, Blank said he would mount a grassroots fundraising effort after the holidays.

“Based on informal conversations with individuals and groups, we are highly confident of our ability to raise the $50,000 and qualify for the matching funds,” he said. “The more people in the community who have a stake in this, the better.”

Added Franklin: “We’re excited because we’re getting calls from businesses on the program and how can they contribute. … That’s pretty exciting.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.