Wean Foundation Renews Support for YNDC, TNP

WARREN, Ohio – At its December meeting, board members of the Raymond John Wean Foundation awarded $2 million in community investment grants to Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership. 

The community development corporations are strategic partners with the foundation due to their strong leadership roles in resident empowerment and sustained community development in Warren and Youngstown.

“With input from community stakeholders, this decision will uphold a shared vision between partners ‘to collectively build capacity to provide voice to residents and leaders throughout the Mahoning Valley,” said Jennifer Roller, president of the Wean Foundation.

In addition to its support for YNDC and TNP, the Wean board also celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Neighborhood Success grants program with a reception and the release of “SUCCESS: A Decade of Transformation,” a book chronicling the history and impact of the grassroots grant-making program. 

The Wean Foundation partnered with PolicyLink founder-in-residence Angela Glover Blackwell to reflect on the progress of the last 10 years.

“Led by residents, the Neighborhood Success grants offer a strong example of how true collaborations can lead to intergenerational changes,” says Blackwell. “While celebrating the transformation and learning of the last 10 years, we must also take the opportunity to map a path into the coming decade.” 

The Wean Foundation’s support of TNP and YNDC mirrors a commitment to community revitalization and civic sector leadership that Blackwell points to as philanthropy’s historically powerful role in building community capacity across the United States. 

YNDC and TNP are focused on improving housing and property conditions, decaying public infrastructure, general blight and housing vacancies and a lack of healthful foods for low-income residents. YNDC and TNP have made progress in numerous key areas, according to the foundation. These include:

  • The productive reuse of vacant properties, creating opportunity for residents to become homeowners and transforming the aesthetic and economic well-being of neighborhoods.  
  • Training for low- to-moderate income residents in property renovation, deconstruction, post demolition, lot greening and vacant property maintenance. 
  • Community organizing efforts that build neighborhood resident capacity and grassroots power.=

During the December board meeting, three new members were appointed. They are:

  • Sybil West, a lifelong Youngstown resident and active community leader, has a proven record of community building as president of the Bennington Block Watch on the city’s east side and a resident council member for the Neighborhood Success program. A retired Ohio Lamp employee of 38 years, West holds an associate degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology from Youngstown State University.
  • Warren-based lawyer, Stanley A. Elkins, served as the assistant law director in Warren for 13 years and now works with the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office as the chief prosecutor of the juvenile division. Elkins is actively involved in the community, coaching and supporting youth sports programs and is an inductee of the Trumbull County African American Achievers Hall of Fame.
  • Warren resident William Mullane, supervisor of school improvement for the Ashtabula County Educational Service Center and Jefferson Area Local Schools, served as the principal and educator at Warren G. Harding High School for 28 years. In addition, Mullane has been involved in the region’s arts and philanthropic community for more than 40 years.

SOURCE: Raymond John Wean Foundation.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.