Wean Foundation Announces $263,421 in Grants

WARREN, Ohio — At its June board meeting, The Raymond John Wean Foundation approved five grants totaling $263,421 in its second grant-making cycle of the year. The five grants reflect commitments in the Foundation’s strategic priority areas of community revitalization and educational opportunity.

“These grants strongly represent who we are as a strategically focused, priority-based funder,” said Jennifer Roller, president of the Wean Foundation.
“Working together with these grantees and other community partners, we believe we can have a significant and sustainable impact across the Mahoning Valley and the state of Ohio. Each project is important and we are proud to invest in work that matters a great deal to our communities.”

Grant dollars of up to $30,000 over three years awarded to the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber will support the 422 Corridor Redevelopment Project Implementation, specifically the hiring of a project manager to lead and manage the project and its five action teams. The manager will also be expected to pursue grants related to the project and generate confidence in and enthusiasm for the project resulting in future funding.

The Wean Foundation will support organizational capacity building, including professional development opportunities for both existing and new staff, through a $60,000 grant payable over two years, to Youngstown CityScape. Its expanded organizational capacity will source the management and coordination of projects such as the Wick Avenue Improvement Project, the Wick Park Project, the Economic Action Group and the Downtown Business Alliance of Youngstown.

Also notable to this round of grant awards is an investment of $100,000 over two years in the newly launched Ohio Transformation Fund. The fund is a collaborative developed by national and local philanthropic organizations interested in improving both the short- and long-term outcomes of criminal justice reform. The Raymond John Wean Foundation is the first Ohio-based funder to sign on as a partner in this important initiative, which is grounded in work initiated by the Ford Foundation in New York.

Following extensive research of criminal justice reform, the Ford Foundation identified Ohio as a state with strong policy advocacy and organizing capacity, grassroots strength and momentum and a political climate in which reform is possible. The fund is positioned to work toward policy change in a wide range of areas, including but not limited to fair hiring, parole board reform, re-entry and barriers to employment.

“This has been a very intentional process with practitioners across the state working together in this space,” said Judy Wright, fund executive director. “As we move forward, we will be collaborating on solutions with individuals in our communities directly impacted by these issues. Our ultimate goal? To build safe, healthy communities for all people.”

Through a grant of $38,000 from the Wean Foundation, Eastern Gateway Community College will hire a full-time student resource navigator for one year. This individual will help students “navigate” through college and on to degree completion and also serve as a resource for students dealing with institutional obstacles that might interrupt their educational goals including academic, financial and social challenges.

The Warren City School District’s project, “Effective Transitions: Making a Difference,” will use its $35,421 grant to identify strategic interventions necessary to effectively move students from home to school (1st to 2nd grade and 8th to 9th grade) and on to college and careers. Through this program, Warren City Schools expect to see increased participation in family events, learning clubs, family scheduling meetings, parent/teacher conferences, family freshman day and the celebration of 9th grade boot camp.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.