Our Fund strives to create a shared understanding of what really matters when working to transform our region’s economy. We hope this shared understanding results in better-aligned efforts that stimulate growth and create more opportunity for people living in Northeast Ohio.
Our flagship What Matters research series, formerly called the Dashboard of Economic Indicators, provides deep data analysis to help our region identify critical issues associated with economic vibrancy, promote strategies that increase growth and opportunity, and empower diverse stakeholders and communities to work as well-coordinated networks to implement those strategies. What Matters builds off of our past efforts to use research and strategic analysis to better understand our region's economic competitiveness and serves as a base for future research. Past efforts have included analysis of potential high-growth industries, a "playbook" for counties wanting to develop land banks, and reports on the growth of venture capital and the role increased government collaboration can play in our competitiveness. Sometimes this research is led by Fund staff; more typically, we sponsor research led by other organizations.
Released in 2013, the most recent report in this series, "What Matters to Metros," evaluates the economic performance of 115 metropolitan statistical areas between 1990 and 2011, and sheds light on the factors most critical to advancing growth in a post-recession economy. The research affirmed some long-standing Fund beliefs, such as the primacy of education and innovation. The work also reinforced that job growth alone would not lead to economic prosperity and that economic polarization threatened our nascent recovery. We then researched how regions like Northeast Ohio might address this threat.
“Growth & Opportunity: A Framework for Stronger, More Equitable Local and Regional Economies,” released in mid-2014, made the case that economies are stronger and more sustainable when more people participate in and benefit from the growth, and introduced the three-fold job creation, job preparation and job access framework that now underpins all we do. In late 2014, we subsequently released a “Call to Action” to illustrate and encourage smart, cross-sector, collaborative strategies to create good jobs, prepare our workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and better connect jobs and workers.
In 2015, we put a spotlight on the job access piece of the G&O framework—which we believe is the most important issue no one is talking about—releasing a study on where jobs are in Northeast Ohio and who has access to them. “The Geography of Jobs” report showed that a long-entrenched pattern of sprawl has reduced all residents’ access to jobs in Northeast Ohio, and that this trend most acutely affects those in economically distressed areas.
Going forward, our Fund will sponsor one to three highly visible research projects per year in the areas of job creation, job preparation and job access. Please check our site often for new research and other resources for making more informed and better decisions to drive our region's growth.
Past What Matters research includes:
2011 Driving the Recovery Home
2010 What Matters Most, 5th Anniversary Edition
2009 Dashboard of Economic Indicators
2008 Dashboard of Economic Indicators
2007 Dashboard of Economic Indicators
2006 Dashboard of Economic Indicators