Economic Development

Youngstown Foundation Marks Its Centennial

By Jan Strasfeld, executive director, Youngstown Foundation
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – If the past is prologue, the Youngstown Foundation is poised to have an even greater impact in 2018 and beyond as the organization gave more than $7.7 million to the community in 2017. This brings donations throughout the foundation’s history to more than $100 million in 100 years.

And as the foundation prepares to mark its centennial this year, the organization continues its commitment to support the people, projects and nonprofits that make the Mahoning Valley an even better place to call home.

The largest grants in 2017 included $3 million to the city of Youngstown toward the construction of the amphitheater project on Front Street, to be named The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater. The gift is not only the largest we’ve ever made, but also the first gift to fund the project. It gives the foundation naming rights to the outdoor venue for 20 years and recognition as a founding sponsor in perpetuity.

We’re always looking to support those who are making a difference in our community. And the amphitheater project is a key initiative that is going to have a tremendous impact on the quality of life for residents of Youngstown and its surrounding communities for years to come. We’re honored that this new project will bear the name of our foundation.

This gift to Youngstown capped off a year of significant grant awards. Among the largest were $500,000 to Potential Development, $175,000 to the Operation Search & Help Program, $85,000 to The YMCA of Youngstown and $60,000 to Compass Community Services.

These gifts represent just a few of the more than 400 grants awarded in 2017 from the various funds within the Youngstown Foundation that include the unrestricted, donor-advised, restricted, Hine Memorial and special interest funds.

The Youngstown Foundation administers more than 60 local funds that make distributions to area organizations and agencies that encompass the arts, education, social services, economic development, health care and the environment.

The foundation was founded in 1918 by a group of prominent industrial leaders with just an initial endowment of $33,000. Adjusted for inflation, that figure would be a multiple of somewhere between eight and 10 today.

The Youngstown Foundation has grown to become the largest community foundation in the region and Crane’s Cleveland has recognized it as among the top-10 grant makers in northeastern Ohio.

2017 saw growth in contributions made through the Support Fund, which helps donors maximize their charitable giving to their favorite not-for-profits.

The Support Fund is unique in that it provides “approved local charities” the opportunity to receive an additional 5% grant for qualified contributions for their organization. In 2017, donations made to the Support Fund resulted in the distribution of more than $1.3 million to 77 agencies throughout the Valley.

The Support Fund plays a vital role in helping area agencies increase their funding with the 5% add-on. It also helps individual donors have an even greater impact on the organizations they support. It’s all part of how everyone can truly be a philanthropist.

The Youngstown Foundation plans to mark this centennial year with a series of announcements that showcase the impact philanthropy has in our community. What began with the $3 million amphitheater gift will continue throughout 2018.

We’re honored the community has continued its support of the Youngstown Foundation for the last 100 years and we want 2018 to be a year where we can truly show our appreciation.

Editor’s Note: This story was published in The Business Journal’s Growth Report 2018. The 144-page edition features growth reports from more than 200 local businesses and organizations. It was published this week. If you are not a subscriber, CLICK HERE to purchase a copy or call Eileen Lovell at 330 744 5023 Ext. 1008.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.