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EGNet Wins LGIF Award

Group will Facilitate and Promote the Acceleration of Shared Services and Government Collaboration in Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND--Dec. 12, 2012--The EfficientGovNetwork (EGNet), a collaboration among public officials, business groups and philanthropy that is working to promote more efficient and effective local government in Northeast Ohio, was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency Local Government Innovation Fund. The grant was one of 36 awarded by the Local Government Innovation Fund on November 29.

The grant, formally submitted by the Sourcing Office on behalf of the EGNet, will be used to turn the informal network into a sustainable organization that will facilitate and promote the acceleration of shared services and government collaboration in Northeast Ohio. More than a dozen partners from the private and public sectors, including the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce, were involved in the grant application.

“We believe that this grant will increase the region’s capacity to help our local officials implement more collaborations and cost-sharing programs that will improve the quality of life in our region’s communities,” said grant author Chet Bowling, associate professor and extension specialist, Ohio State University Extension.  “This is a real win for Northeast Ohio which we hope to extend to the rest of the state through our extension network.”

Don Iannone, Executive Director of Sourcing Office, thanked the state for its confidence in EGNet to help grow an even stronger network in Northeast Ohio to advance government collaboration and innovation. The Sourcing Office is a statewide council of governments that provides group purchasing, shared service assistance and related services to public sector entities across Ohio.

The EGNet work builds upon nearly a decade of efforts by the Fund for Our Economic Future to promote more efficient, effective local government as part of its mission to strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness. The Fund began its work in this important area of economic competitiveness in 2006 with a grant to help launch the Sourcing Office. The Fund continued to promote government collaboration through two rounds of the EfficientGovNow competition that empowered residents to select which government collaboration projects deserved to receive a grant from the Fund. The Fund then helped the communities that participated in the competitions to form the EGNet so that they could spread government collaboration efforts across Northeast Ohio.

Representatives from more than 80 different organizations, located in the 16-county EGNet region, have participated in EGNet meetings and online forums hosted by The Civic Commons, which facilitates the network.

"The LGIF award validates the efforts of many innovative elected officials, government employees, and philanthropic leaders in Northeast Ohio who have worked tirelessly over the past decade to increase government collaboration and efficiency in the region," said Jill Miller Zimon, EGNet network facilitator, Civic Commons. "Having facilitated the meetings of the EGNet members, provided an online engagement platform for resource sharing and dialogue, and facilitated the LGIF grant proposal process, the Civic Commons is proud to be among such an elite group of individuals working towards a greater regional community."

“We are thrilled that the state recognizes the value of the EfficientGovNetwork in promoting more efficient, effective government,” said Brad Whitehead, president, Fund for Our Economic Future. “By promoting a culture of collaboration, EGNet is making it easier for local governments to share services, merge operations and test new ideas. Increased innovation by our local governments will result in a more competitive and more vibrant Northeast Ohio.”

About the Local Government Innovation Fund The Local Government Innovation Fund (LGIF) is a program within the Ohio Development Services Agency and offers communities financial assistance to create more efficient and effective service delivery within their area. Projects are expected to facilitate improved business environments and promote community attraction with their plan for efficiency, collaboration, or shared services. Communities will be able to save money and provide more effective services to their constituents with assistance from this program.

About the EfficientGovNetwork The Efficient Government Network is a group of Northeast Ohio stakeholders, primarily from political subdivisions who convene, connect and share ideas and best practices for local government collaboration. Created in the fall of 2010, the Network grew out of the EfficientGovNow contest (supported by the Fund for Our Economic Future and Advance Northeast Ohio). This competition gave birth to innovative ideas - and action - that targeted collaboration and efficiency.

About The Civic CommonsThe Civic Commons, a social media site dedicated to civic good, was founded in 2010 with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Fund for Our Economic Future. In addition to its tools for citizens, the Civic Commons provides subscription-based engagement services for organizations and businesses on a national basis. The services are dedicated to building two-way conversations to expand and deepen the relationship between organizations and the communities they serve.

ABOUT THE FUND FOR OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE The Fund for Our Economic Future is a collaboration of more than 100 foundations, organizations and philanthropists from across Northeast Ohio that strengthens the region’s economic competitiveness through grantmaking, civic engagement and research.