Wean Foundation Seeks Racially Equitable Future

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As the Raymond John Wean Foundation celebrates 75 years of philanthropy in the Mahoning Valley this year, the organization will continue to focus on its work toward a racially equitable future.

“The coming year is an opportunity for the Wean Foundation to illuminate what it has learned to help it better understand where it is going … and innovate for the future,” says Jennifer Roller, Wean Foundation president.

In 2019, the foundation adopted a five-year strategic direction that made racial equity and inclusion central to all aspects of its work.

Its accomplishments include:

• Conducted a community survey to learn from residents firsthand about their experiences and inform the foundation’s work.

• Invested in the revitalization of 20 acres of riverfront property in Youngstown, now known as The Raymond John Wean Foundation Park, a place to engage residents and promote diverse participation.

• Created a joint application for funding with local philanthropic partners in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

• Awarded larger, multiyear operating grants for established nonprofits, enabling them to focus on the work and trusting them to make effective decisions in how the resources are used.

• Reimagined its long-standing grassroots grantmaking program to lead with capacity building opportunities and reduce the burden on grantees during the application process.

• Established a fellowship to offer Black and Hispanic individuals an on-ramp to executive leadership.

• Provided access to Racial Equity Institute trainings and workshops.

• Aligned the investment of the foundation’s endowment with its race equity values.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.