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Fund for Our Economic Future Approves Grant to Team NEO

CLEVELAND--September 3, 2015--Members of the Fund for our Economic Future (the Fund), a Northeast Ohio philanthropic collaboration, have approved a $350,000 grant to support Team NEO and its work in partnership with the region's economic development organizations, business and philanthropic communities, and JobsOhio. This grant is in line with the Fund's greater goal of advancing economic growth that can be shared by all residents of Northeast Ohio.
 
The Fund helped establish the newly reconstituted Team NEO, which began its operations at the beginning of 2015, to achieve regional alignment and work toward a common goal of improving the Northeast Ohio economy by creating good jobs with opportunity for advancement, preparing our workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and improving connectivity between jobs and workers.  
 
"Since our Fund's inception in 2004, we have said that to make big, transformational changes in our economy we need to: (1) work regionally; (2) take an integrated strategic approach; and (3) work collaboratively across sectors. To achieve regional alignment, we knew we needed to have the organized business community at the table with us, aligning its resources with ours for maximum effectiveness," said Deborah D. Hoover, president and CEO of The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, a member of the Fund.
 
"While our partnership with Team NEO is in its early days and it has certainly taken a long time to get to this point, we are making solid progress developing a deeper understanding about shared goals and forging the type of collaborative relationship that is in the best long-term interest of our region," Ms. Hoover added. "It is a watershed moment for Northeast Ohio and I am energized to support our two organizations as we together help shape a brighter future for all of our citizens."
 
Fund members approved the one-time, six-month award on Tuesday at a quarterly board meeting, held at the award-winning Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Kent. Before the business portion of the meeting, Fund members and several Team NEO board members had the opportunity to hear from two leading national economic development experts: Rob Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState Corp for Economic Opportunity, and John Ramirez, deputy director of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs at World Business Chicago. The two speakers underscored the importance of working across sectors to grow the economy in ways that create more opportunities for all people.
 
"Despite its challenges, this is important work," said Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler. "We must continue collaborating across sectors and through networks to address economic growth and ultimately strengthen and sustain our region's economy."
 
In addition to Ms. Hoover, Fund representatives to the Team NEO board include David T. Abbott, executive director of The George Gund Foundation; Dr. Alex Johnson, president of Cuyahoga Community College; Mark Samolczyk, president of the Stark Community Foundation; and William R. Seelbach, trustee of The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation.
About the Fund for Our Economic Future
The Fund for Our Economic Future is a collaboration of funders, including private, community and corporate foundations, higher education institutions, health care systems, corporations, and individuals, dedicated to advancing economic growth and equitable access to opportunity for the people of Northeast Ohio by building shared community commitment, supporting high-impact collaborations and marshalling strategic funding. Since its founding in 2004, the Fund has raised more than $100 million for improving regional economic competitiveness. The Fund's efforts have helped retain or create more than 17,700 jobs, add $712 million in payroll, and attract $3.8 billion in capital to Northeast Ohio.
About Team NEO
Team NEO is an economic development organization focused on creating jobs for Northeast Ohio's residents. In collaboration with our partners, it leads the region's business attraction efforts, supports business retention and expansion work as Northeast Ohio's JobsOhio affiliate, and aligns strategies and resources within the economic development network to maximize its impact. In addition, Team NEO provides tools to assist employers in attracting talent to the region. We are driven to succeed by our passion for the region, and we strive to instill that enthusiasm in others. Our highly experienced staff is guided by a board of business, economic development and civic leaders who share our passion.
Media Contact
Sara Lepro
Manager of Communications
Fund for Our Economic Future
216.456.9806
slepro@thefundneo.org