Wean Foundation

Wean Foundation Awards $670K to Inspiring Minds, OCCHA

WARREN, Ohio — The Raymond John Wean Foundation’s board granted a total of $670,000 to support Mahoning Valley nonprofits Inspiring Minds and the Organización Cívica y Cultural Hispana Americana Inc.

The grants reflect the Wean Foundation’s dedication to equitable community building in the Mahoning Valley and a commitment to partner with more of the region’s Black-led and Hispanic-led organizations, according to a news release announcing the awards.

“If our region wants to truly challenge the conditions that hold problems in place, funders like us must engage more deeply with organizations and initiatives that our Black and Hispanic community members are leading and make it easier for organizations doing good work to do so,” Wean Foundation President Jennifer Roller said.

Inspiring Minds will use the Wean Foundation’s two-year general operating support grant to provide after-school and summer enrichment programs to youth in Warren and Youngstown. Founded in 2005 by Deryck Toles, the organization focuses on supporting young people from kindergarten through career across five crucial areas: education, college and career readiness, exposure to new experiences, health and wellness, and personal development.

It offers free after-school and summer enrichment programming to more than 500 K-12 students annually in Warren, Youngstown and elsewhere across the country.

“We’re grateful for the Wean Foundation’s partnership and for believing in the work we do,” Toles said. “They support us in doing what we know and do well but also provide counsel, connections and resources to ensure we can serve more young people year after year. They are a true partner.”

Founded in 1972, OCCHA works to improve the quality of life for Hispanics and multicultural communities in the Mahoning Valley by providing social, economic, cultural, and educational programs. The one-year grant to OCCHA will support the organization’s equitable compensation practices and workforce services.

Promoting equitable compensation practices among the Valley’s nonprofits is one of the Wean Foundation’s special Race Equity and Inclusion initiatives. OCCHA’s leadership previously participated in the Wean Foundation’s Equitable Organizations Capacity Building Learning Series on equitable compensation. The training ignited transparent conversations among OCCHA’s board and funders that resulted in a realignment of baseline salaries for all staff and unanimous board approval to increase staff wages.

“After half a century of service, OCCHA has embarked on a transformative journey to usher in another 50 years of impact through the recent completion of our strategic plan,” Angelica Diaz, OCCHA executive director, said. “We are reimagining and enhancing our services for the community and promoting equitable compensation for our employees all in an effort to strengthen our role as a pillar for local Hispanic and multicultural populations. We are profoundly grateful to the Wean Foundation for its commitment to OCCHA and aligned aspirations for a more inclusive Mahoning Valley.”

The Wean Foundation encourages nonprofits interested in partnering with the Foundation to save the date of Oct. 21, for its next Resident Engagement Capacity Building Workshop and funding opportunity. To learn more, visit weanfoundation.org.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.