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Fund for Our Economic Future Welcomes New Chair, Awards Grants to Support Development Surrounding Opportunity Corridor

CLEVELAND--March 4, 2015--Members of the Fund for Our Economic Future (the Fund) on Tuesday elected Community Foundation of Lorain County President and CEO Brian Frederick as chair. Mr. Frederick, who will serve a two-year term, assumes the role from Burton D. Morgan Foundation President and CEO Deborah D. Hoover. Fund members also approved up-to $200,000 to support coordinated strategies to advance both economic growth and opportunity in the neighborhoods surrounding Opportunity Corridor in Cleveland, some of the most economically distressed areas in Northeast Ohio. 
 
Involved with the Fund since its formation more than a decade ago, Mr. Frederick becomes the philanthropic collaboration's fourth chair, following Robert Briggs, now president and CEO of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, David Abbott, executive director of the George Gund Foundation, and Ms. Hoover. Mr. Frederick became president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Lorain County in 1998. He has served as a board member and governance chair of Team Lorain County, and as co-chair of the economic development committee for the Oberlin Project. He was also the founding board chair of Civic Commons. Mr. Frederick has received a number of accolades for his service to the community, including the 2013 Ohio Philanthropy Award from Philanthropy Ohio and the Eric Nord Award for Excellence in Leadership from Leadership Lorain County in 2014.
 
"I accepted this position because I believe in the power of the Fund and that we are better as individuals, organizations and a region when we work together," Mr. Frederick said. "We have a real potential to create a Northeast Ohio where all people participate in and benefit from our economic growth." 
 
Ms. Hoover, who served as chair since March 2013, will stay in a leadership role as a member of the Executive Committee and also as Fund initiative leader of the regional strategy work with the organized business community, a position members elected her to on Tuesday.
 
"It has been my great privilege to serve as chair of the Fund these last two years," Ms. Hoover said. "During this time, we have navigated a major transitionin our economic development system, engaging with our business partners to understand the best course to ensure the economic vitality of our region. We are now well positioned to align philanthropic and business priorities and move our region forward. We have achieved all of this at the same time we have raised our voices for the critical importance of pairing Growth with Opportunity." 
 
In addition to the new chair, members approved a slate of member representatives, reflecting the geography and diversity of our region, to the Fund's remaining 15 leadership positions. Of those 15, five member representatives stepped into new leadership roles. These include:
  • Mark Samolczyk, president of Stark Community Foundation, as vice chair; 
  • Tom Wagner, a trustee of the Eva L. & Joseph M. Bruening Foundation, as Fund secretary; 
  • Steve Millard, president and executive director of COSE, and Anne Goodman, president and CEO of Saint Luke's Foundation, as at-large members of the Executive Committee; and 
  • Kirstin Toth, senior vice president of GAR Foundation, as chair of the Evaluation & Grantmaking Committee. 
During Tuesday's meeting, held at the Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland, Fund members also approved a one-year operating grant of up-to $50,000 for the Opportunity Corridor Project Office (housed at the Greater Cleveland Partnership). Additionally, Fund members approved a six-month grant of up-to $150,000 to support the development of a job center strategy to create accessible jobs in growing sectors of the economy that makes good use of the available land surrounding the Corridor, a planned $331 million, 3.5-mile roadway to connect the end of Interstate 490 to University Circle.
 

"Opportunity Corridor presents a very rare opportunity to reverse the decades-long pattern of manufacturing disinvestment from this part of Cleveland and to greatly increase workforce participation rates among residents of the surrounding neighborhoods," said Robert Jaquay, associate director of the George Gund Foundation and chair of the Fund due diligence team overseeing the Opportunity Corridor grants.

Many community partners have been working for years on their visions of how this project might be "more than a roadway." The Fund's grants will support the capacity and the wherewithal for this complex, collaborative undertaking, Mr. Jaquay said.

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 through research, civic engagement and grantmaking. Since its founding in 2004, the Fund has raised $100 million for improving regional economic competitiveness. The Fund's efforts have helped retain and create more than 16,500 jobs, generate nearly $650 million in payroll, and attract nearly $3.5 billion in capital to Northeast Ohio. 

MEDIA CONTACT

Sara Lepro
Manager of Communications
216.456.9806
slepro@thefundneo.org