Fund for Our Economic Future Awards Grants to Support Northeast Ohio’s Economic Transformation

CLEVELAND--March 14, 2011--The grants were made during the Fund’s quarterly meeting of its Funders Committee, held at the Cleveland Foundation on March 10. 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 57 members that have contributed at least $100,000 to the Fund.

The Funders Committee approved a $500,000 grant match to support Northeast Ohio’s Sustainable Communities Initiative. The match will allow the Fund to become a voting member of the newly-formed Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium Incorporated, which will govern the planning project. In October, the federal government awarded the region $4.25 million over three years to develop a cooperative regional sustainability plan that addresses housing, land use, transportation, infrastructure and economic development. The Fund and several of its member foundations, along with more than 20 public and private sector organizations, coordinated the grant application.

The Fund also committed $25,000 to Polymer Ohio to conduct research on the “re-shoring” of manufacturing from Asia to Northeast Ohio. Nationally and in Ohio, a number of manufacturing companies have chosen to relocate operations state-side as a result of economic conditions in Asia, such as currency fluctuations, intellectual property issues and supply chain inefficiencies. The grant also will be used to develop a tool for manufacturers to assess the efficacy of bringing production back to the region.

“Regional collaboration and planning are at the heart of Northeast Ohio’s transition to the next economy,” said Fund President Brad Whitehead. “The grants awarded today align with our vision of taking an integrated approach to improving Northeast Ohio’s long-term economic competitiveness.”

The Funders Committee also approved two workforce development grants totaling $860,000, which will be announced in the near future.

Formed in 2004, the Fund for Our Economic Future encourages and advances a regional competitiveness agenda called Advance Northeast Ohio, or ANEO, which will lead to long-term economic revitalization that strengthens our region’s core cities, encourages inclusion and enhances the region’s quality of life. The agenda has four focus areas: business attraction and growth, talent development, racial and economic inclusion and government collaboration and efficiency.