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Who to Watch in Nonprofits: Bethia Burke, Director of Grants and Emerging Initiatives, Fund for Our Economic Future

By Jay Miller, Crain's Cleveland Business

She was living in Washington., D.C., conducting cost and risk assessments for high-risk programs at Northrop Grumman Corp., a major defense and aerospace firm.

But, in 2009, Bethia Burke started moving to the other — the nonprofit — side when she worked as a volunteer for the Clinton Foundation, analyzing the case for energy efficient transportation alternatives.

“I really liked my job (at Northrup Grumman), the strategy and cost control part, it was really intellectually interesting,” she said. “But I wasn't passionate about it.”

She found her passion while at the Clinton Foundation.

“I was actively looking to apply the skill set I'd developed in my time with Northrop Grumman to work where the mission was more aligned with my core interests,” she said. “So I wanted to find something my whole heart was in, and I also had a strong desire to return to (Northeast Ohio).”

So now she is director of grants and emerging initiatives at the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of philanthropies working to strengthen Northeast Ohio's competitiveness in the global economy.

She is the fund's go-to person on training and workforce development programs, said fund president Brad Whitehead. She evaluates the effectiveness of grants the fund makes to organizations that help people gain the know-how to find jobs.

“I also get to be on the front end, shaping what we might be doing in workforce (in the future),” Burke said.

Read the full story on Bethia here.