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Foundations Grant $5 Million to NE Ohio

A group of regional foundations and philanthropists voted this week to award more than $5 million in grants to promote economic development in Northeast Ohio.

The Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of donors and philanthropists that provides grants to increase the economic competitiveness of Northeast Ohio, met at the Davis Center in Fellows Riverside Gardens to award one-year grants to six Cleveland-based nonprofit organizations that aim to grow business and attract new companies to Northeast Ohio.

The Fund elected to give maximum amounts of $1.3 million to JumpStart, an entreprenuerial assistance organization; $1.1 million to BioEnterprise, which helps grow bioscience and healthcare companies; $825,000 to Team Northeast Ohio, a business attraction organization; $750,000 to the Minority Business Accelerator 2.5+, which provides business growth services to minority-owned businesses with at least $2.5 million in sales; $633,000 to NorTech, which promotes the growth of technology-based industries in the region; and $434,000 to MAGNET, an advocacy group for regional manufacturing industries.

The grants will be awarded in phases, said Chris Thompson, a spokesman for the Fund. Grant recipients will have to meet performance “milestones,” to qualify for the maximum amount of grant funds, Thompson said.

The Fund also issued two smaller grants.

A $200,000 grant was awarded to a group that is working to strengthen the region’s agriculture industry. The collaboration — which includes the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the Wayne Economic Development Council and the Ashtabula Growth Partnership — hopes to develop more fresh produce, biomass energy, horticulture and other types of specialty agriculture.

In addition, a $25,000 grant was issued to help organize the region’s application for a federal planning grant under the Sustainable Communities Initiative being developed by the federal government. The grant would provide as much as $5 million for cooperative regional planning efforts that consider housing, transportation, environmental impact and economic development.

“These grants will help Northeast Ohio sustain the progress made throughout the last six years to build new industries, support entrepreneurs and attract growing companies,” said David Abbott, chairman of the Fund. “These grants reflect philanthropy’s strong commitment to strengthening the region’s economic competitiveness.”

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