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Fund for Our Economic Future Awards $5.035 Million in Grants to Regional Economic Development Organizations

CLEVELAND--June 8, 2012--The Fund for Our Economic Future approved $5.035 million in grants during their June 7 Funders Committee meeting, with awards going to support on-going efforts to turn Northeast Ohio into the most vibrant economic region in the country.

Five economic development organizations – NorTech, JumpStart, BioEnterprise, Team NEO and MAGNET - received a total of $4 million to continue their business growth efforts and two regional initiatives – the Agriculture-Bioscience Industry Cluster and WorkAdvance – received a total of $1.035 million.

“Each of these regional organizations has played an important role individually and collaboratively in strengthening Northeast Ohio’s economic competitiveness. The Fund for Our Economic Future is pleased to continue supporting their efforts to create new businesses, generate jobs and develop a trained workforce,” said Christine Amer Mayer, vice chair of Fund for Our Economic Future and chief executive officer of the GAR Foundation in Akron. “These seven organizations embody our commitment to building a vibrant regional economy and further strengthen Northeast Ohio’s economic foundation.”

Grantees and their awards include:• NorTech, which helps grow technology-based industries, $1.12 million• JumpStart, the entrepreneurial assistance organization, $1 million• BioEnterprise, which helps grow bioscience and health care companies, $850,000• Team NEO, the business attraction organization, $630,000• MAGNET, the region’s manufacturing advocacy organization, $400,000• WorkAdvance, a collaboration to strengthen the region’s workforce in healthcare and manufacturing, $860,000• Agriculture-Bioscience Industry Cluster, a collaboration working to connect entrepreneurs to business partners in Northeast Ohio’s ag-bio supply chain, $175,000

The Funders Committee, the voting body of the Fund for Our Economic Future, also voted to dedicate $500,000 to regional inclusion efforts. “Northeast Ohio’s economic competitiveness will be determined, in part, by how well all individuals are engaged with and connected to the region’s assets and opportunities,” said Brad Whitehead, president, Fund for Our Economic Future. “The Fund is committed to working with the Commission on Economic Inclusion and other partners in the region to increase inclusiveness. We believe there is an opportunity to evaluate current inclusion efforts and identify unmet needs that might better connect and support the region’s increasingly diverse workforce.”

The Fund is a collaboration of philanthropic organizations and individuals that have united to strengthen the economic competitiveness of Northeast Ohio through grantmaking, research and civic engagement. The Funders Committee consists of 54 members that have contributed at least $100,000 to the Fund.