CLEVELAND--December 11, 2017--The members of the Fund for Our Economic Future have elected Mark Samolczyk, president and CEO of Stark Community Foundation, as chair. Samolczyk, who becomes the Fund's fifth chair, succeeds Brian Frederick, who recently retired as president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Lorain County. Additionally, Fund members approved a number of grants to advance the Fund's mission of increasing economic growth and access to opportunity for all people of Northeast Ohio.
Samolczyk, who joined the Stark Community Foundation in October 2009, has been an important leader within the Fund, serving as vice chair and on a number of committees and due diligence teams. Samolczyk also is a respected leader in Stark County, where he has rallied civic leaders around an inclusive growth framework to strengthen the community. Additionally, Samolczyk sits on a number of civic boards, including Team NEO, JumpStart, the Stark Economic Development Board, and the Downtown Canton Land Bank.
"I'm thrilled to take on this new role," Samolczyk said. "The Fund is the leader on inclusive economic growth in our region and I hope to further bring to ground its research, expertise, and regional economic development strategy and support in our local communities."
Samolczyk's term will run through March 2020, when he will be eligible for a second and final two-year term.
Fund members elected Samolczyk during their final meeting of the year at Cuyahoga Community College's Advanced Technology Training Center on December 7. Voting members include philanthropic organizations of all stripes that give a minimum of $100,000 over three years to the Fund. During this meeting, Fund members also awarded several grants to support improved job creation, job preparation and job access in the region.
Among the awards were:
• Up to $400,000 to BioEnterprise for one year of operating expenses to advance the region's biomedical cluster, including its work to provide business growth services to biomedical companies and its health information technology talent initiative to grow talent for the sector and improve access to jobs for more people across Northeast Ohio.
• Up to $270,000 to MAGNET to support its Partnership for Regional Innovation Services to Manufacturers (PRISM) program, which helps small and midsize companies innovate and reach their growth potential. And up to $50,000 to support MAGNET's Early College Early Career youth apprenticeship program, which aims to connect inner-city and rural students directly to open, high-paying positions available in the region's manufacturing sector.
"Despite many achievements in the last decade-plus, the region continues to face real economic challenges. We are leaving people behind and further widening the economic and racial divide," said Fund President Brad Whitehead. "Our actions today advance our commitment to ensuring all people in Northeast Ohio participate in and benefit from our growth."
About the Fund for Our Economic Future
The Fund for Our Economic Future is an alliance of funders -- foundations, corporations, universities, health care systems, business and civic associations, government entities, and individuals -- who pool their resources and know-how to advance economic growth and increased access to opportunity for the people of Northeast Ohio through improved job creation, job preparation and job access, an approach called Growth & Opportunity. The Fund advances its Growth & Opportunity mission by building shared community commitment, supporting high-impact collaborations and marshalling strategic funding. Since its founding in 2004, the Fund has raised nearly $100 million for its efforts, which have helped retain or create more than 24,400 jobs, add nearly $1.1 billion in payroll, and attract just over $6 billion in capital to Northeast Ohio.
Director of Communications
Fund for Our Economic Future