Economic Development

Wean Awards Grant to Address Mass Incarceration

WARREN, Ohio – The Raymond John Wean Foundation has awarded a multiyear grant to the Ohio Transformation Fund to address the impact of mass criminalization and incarceration in Ohio.

The grant amount was not disclosed.

The Ohio Transformation Fund’s efforts include community organizing, policy advocacy and civic engagement programs designed to change the state’s justice system from one of mass jailings, particularly of young people and people of color, to one based on stable families, economic security and access to health care and education.

Through grants, capacity building and technical assistance, the Ohio Transformation Fund supports the development and empowerment of grassroots organizations representing traditionally impacted individuals and families. 

“Our theory of change is that, whereas each of these areas is important and necessary, none on its own can create sustainable, statewide change,” said Executive Director Judy Wright in a statement. 

Multiple Ohio-based and national funders, including the Wean Foundation, said maximizing connections and aligning funder dollars is a model stronger than each responding individually to the opportunities and challenges of political and social activism around criminal justice, equity and progressive change, O

The Wean Foundation also awarded additional funding for the fund’s Leadership Now: Ohio program, an eight-month cross-sector fellowship program for emerging leaders developed in partnership with Rockwood Leadership Institute. 

Of the 24 state-wide participants that make up the 2019 cohort, four are alumni of the Wean Foundation’s Emerging Leaders program: Dionne Dowdy, United Returning Citizens; Keland Logan, The Colony Youngstown; Miles Johnson, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership; and Chris Tennant, Thrive Mahoning Valley.

The alumni will develop leadership practices that build long-term civic capacity and foster the cross-sector relationships necessary to achieve systemic, transformational change in the state. 

“I look forward to participating in the cohort to expand on what I learned from the Emerging Leaders Program,” Tennant said in a statement. “Participating will challenge me to better manage my relationships and increase personal and organizational effectiveness.” 

Founded in 1949, the Wean Foundation has assets in excess of $84 million and distributes roughly $2 million in support every year. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.