2020 IMPACT REPORT
We can’t ignore that 2020 was a year unlike any other for the Fund for Our Economic Future,
our region, our state, our country,
and people the world over.
We began the year full of excitement and promise, as we welcomed new board members and a new president—only the second in our history. We marked these momentous changes with a lively civic gathering—our Northeast Ohio County Fair—which, for many, turned out to be the last big social event they attended before the world around us shut down and we moved to a largely virtual environment.
As a global pandemic raged, economies staggered, communities reached a boiling point over systemic racism, and a presidential election dominated headlines, our Fund adjusted our work and responded to immediate needs where it made the most sense to ensure our region not only recovers from these crises but thrives.
Despite its challenges, 2020 reinforced the following:
Executive Director of Metro West Community Development Organization
regional outreach manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
President and CEO of the Akron Urban League;
Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope;
Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies at Oberlin College
Director of Inclusion and Diversity at The Sherwin-Williams Co.
CEO of Affinity Apparel
The Fund’s eight new board members, from left to right: Ricardo León of Metro West Community Development Organization, Treye Johnson of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Teresa LeGrair of Akron Urban League, Trevelle Harp of the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope, Meredith Gadsby of Oberlin College, Phoebe Lee of Affinity Apparel, and Yentil Rawlinson of The Sherwin-Williams Co. (Not pictured: Victor Ruiz of Esperanza Inc.)
While our vision and strategic focus remained constant throughout 2020, our day-to-day work in pursuit of those aims adapted to respond to the crises at hand.
ur first board meeting of 2020, on March 19, marked the official start of Bethia Burke’s presidency, as well as the joining of eight civic members to our board. As it turned out, that day also fell within a week of Ohio’s governor announcing the closure of schools and many types of businesses, and eventually, the shelter-in-place order that drove all meetings online.
Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution joined us for our Post-Election Speaker Series on Job Access to discuss how the economic priorities of the incoming administration was expected to influence transportation and infrastructure policy.
Amidst the uncertainty, staff initiated weekly video calls with members to unpack the latest economic headlines and stay on top of the rapidly changing world around us. As weeks turned to months, we condensed our board meeting agendas, adopted innovative in-meeting activities, recorded messages from the president, and launched a speaker series on the impact of the presidential election.
We’re honored to have been virtually welcomed into our members’ homes, to have met their children and pets, to have seen their holiday decorations, to have celebrated virtually when celebrations were warranted, and to have held space for grief, anger and worry when personal and communal hardship followed us into our workdays. The virtual environment is not an equal substitute for in-person gatherings and the network building that happens when our members can be together face to face. Even so, there is something to be said for the collective experience of the last year—connections were made and made a real difference in our work.
We put together a special download to help make
your next virtual meeting a little more fun.
Print these cue cards at home
or send us your address and we’ll mail you a set.