CLEVELAND--September 3, 2015--Members of the Fund for our Economic Future
(the Fund), a Northeast Ohio philanthropic collaboration, have approved a $350,000 grant to support Team NEO and its work in partnership with the region's economic development organizations, business and philanthropic communities, and JobsOhio. This grant is in line with the Fund's greater goal of advancing economic growth that can be shared by all residents of Northeast Ohio.
The Fund helped establish the newly reconstituted Team NEO, which began its operations at the beginning of 2015, to achieve regional alignment and work toward a common goal of improving the Northeast Ohio economy by creating good jobs with opportunity for advancement, preparing our workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and improving connectivity between jobs and workers.
"Since our Fund's inception in 2004, we have said that to make big, transformational changes in our economy we need to: (1) work regionally; (2) take an integrated strategic approach; and (3) work collaboratively across sectors. To achieve regional alignment, we knew we needed to have the organized business community at the table with us, aligning its resources with ours for maximum effectiveness," said Deborah D. Hoover, president and CEO of The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, a member of the Fund.
"While our partnership with Team NEO is in its early days and it has certainly taken a long time to get to this point, we are making solid progress developing a deeper understanding about shared goals and forging the type of collaborative relationship that is in the best long-term interest of our region," Ms. Hoover added. "It is a watershed moment for Northeast Ohio and I am energized to support our two organizations as we together help shape a brighter future for all of our citizens."
Fund members approved the one-time, six-month award on Tuesday at a quarterly board meeting, held at the award-winning Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Kent. Before the business portion of the meeting, Fund members and several Team NEO board members had the opportunity to hear from two leading national economic development experts: Rob Simpson, president and CEO of CenterState Corp for Economic Opportunity
, and John Ramirez, deputy director of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs at World Business Chicago
. The two speakers underscored the importance of working across sectors to grow the economy in ways that create more opportunities for all people.
"Despite its challenges, this is important work," said Team NEO CEO Bill Koehler. "We must continue collaborating across sectors and through networks to address economic growth and ultimately strengthen and sustain our region's economy."
In addition to Ms. Hoover, Fund representatives to the Team NEO board include David T. Abbott, executive director of The George Gund Foundation; Dr. Alex Johnson, president of Cuyahoga Community College; Mark Samolczyk, president of the Stark Community Foundation; and William R. Seelbach, trustee of The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation.