Wean Foundation Awards $1.5 million to Local Groups

WARREN, Ohio — The board of directors of The Raymond John Wean Foundation earlier this month approved more than $1.5 million in Community Investment Grants to benefit seven nonprofits in the Mahoning Valley. The grants support the Wean Foundation’s priorities of supporting educational opportunities, community revitalization, and public and civic sector leadership. The Community Investment Grants seek to fund the development and implementation of viable solutions that address long-held assumptions, redistribute decision-making power, and challenge the lack of equitable access to resources, knowledge, and opportunity.

The Community Investment Grants were awarded to the following:

Educational Opportunities

  • Kent State University at Trumbull, Building Black Leaders program. This program provides Black, biracial, and multiracial students with personal, professional, and academic support. The two-year grant will enable a study away experience for students, emergency funding, and the ability to hire a student to support the program.
  • Youngstown City School District, Rayen Early College High School, Summer Bridge program. The program supports incoming freshmen in their academic readiness and social-emotional well-being as they transition to high school.

Community Revitalization

  • Boston Avenue Neighborhood Association, a group focused on creating safe and beautiful spaces in the South Side of the Youngstown neighborhood. The grant will provide general operating support over two years, including support for a fellow dedicated to building capacity in marketing, fundraising, and outreach.
  • Economic Action Group, which provides economic development and entrepreneurial assistance programming within Youngstown and Warren. The grant is for general operating support over two years.
  • Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, which works to empower residents and promote sustainable community development in Warren. The grant will help with general operations, local organizing, and the Strategic Partners Fellowship over a year.
  • Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., which focuses on improving the quality of life in Youngstown. The grant will support general operations, organizing, and the Strategic Partners Fellowship over one year.

Public and Civic Sector Leadership

  • Philanthropy Ohio, a statewide membership community of philanthropic organizations. The grant will support efforts toward advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, as well as furthering its membership within the philanthropic sector of the Mahoning Valley over a year.

“These organizations believe in our community and that we can collaborate to work toward solutions,” said Fallon Peterson, senior director of programs and operations at the Wean Foundation. “Each exhibits a commitment to bringing lasting change at the systems level to ensure a more equitable vibrant Mahoning Valley. We are honored to partner with them.”

Tiffany Tyree, assistant director of the Building Black Leaders Program at KSU Trumbull, said assistance will help Black students to define and achieve “their own ideas of academic, personal and professional success.’”

In addition to the 1.5 million, the board approved $300,000 to support equitable compensation of nonprofit talent across the grantees. Equitable nonprofit compensation has become an increasing focus of the Wean Foundation over the last few years.

“We have come to the conclusion that a critical element of nonprofit success that is often missing is fair pay,” said Jennifer Roller, Wean Foundation president. “What we also know is the burden of low pay in the nonprofit sector falls disproportionately on women and minorities. We don’t just want nonprofits and their workers to survive; we want them to thrive.”

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