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Cynthia Bailie
Director, Cleveland Office
Foundation Center
(216) 861-1933 x 321

Maggie Morth
Communications Manager
Foundation Center
(212) 807-2415

Foundation Dollars to Ohio Economic Development
Nearly Triple to $24.6 Million

Report by the Foundation Center-Cleveland
Shows Grants Strengthen Ohio's Economy

New York, NY — February 19, 2008. Philanthropic grants supporting economic development activities in Ohio have tripled in the last 10 years to $24.6 million, according to a first-ever report released by the Foundation Center's regional center in Cleveland. The impact on this growing field of philanthropic endeavor has begun to show signs of real progress in strengthening Ohio's economy.

Spotlight on Economic Development Grantmaking in Ohio includes revealing data on economic development grantmaking, lists of top grantmakers and recipients, insights from key grantmakers, and profiles of Ohio foundations that have prioritized giving in this field. It provides analyses of 329 economic development grants from 64 foundations (34 based in Ohio and 30 outside the state) to Ohio recipients. Among the key findings:

  • The number of grants more than doubled from 146 in 1995 to 329 in 2005 (125 percent increase).
  • The total giving during that time almost tripled from $8,837,113 to $24,550,805 (177 percent increase).
  • Economically disadvantaged populations received the largest share of economic development grant dollars (12 percent). Ethnic and racial minorities followed with more than 7 percent.
The focus on reinvigorating the region's economy has produced clear results: for example, in 2002, Entrepreneur Magazine rated Northeast Ohio as the worst place in America to be an entrepreneur; by 2006, Northeast Ohio had moved up from 61st (last place) to 23rd place.

"The state of Ohio's economy continues to be a top priority," said Cynthia Bailie, director of the Foundation Center's Cleveland office and the author of the report. "As leaders throughout Ohio aim their sights at developing a new economy, foundations are getting involved, making grants and other types of philanthropic investments that are building our economy from the ground up. Ohio's 21st-century families will undoubtedly benefit from these efforts for many years to come."

The report includes specific examples of the impact that economic development grantmaking has had on revitalizing the economy of Ohio:

  • The Burton D. Morgan Foundation gave $250,000 to Denison University to establish an entrepreneurship center.
  • The Fund for Our Economic Future is partnering with the public and private sector to implement Advance Northeast Ohio, a regional economic action plan.
  • The GAR Foundation of Akron gave $100,000 to OneCommunity to help it build a high-speed, broadband network linking county agencies.
Spotlight on Economic Development Grantmaking in Ohio can be downloaded at no charge from the Gain Knowledge area of the Foundation Center's web site.

Learn more at a free webinar on Friday, March 14, 3:00-4:00pm EST, featuring key findings from the report and insights from participants Robert Jaquay, associate director, The George Gund Foundation; Randell McShepard, director of community affairs, RPM International, and vice chair of the Fund for Our Economic Future; and Jean Van Ness, senior program officer, The Burton D. Morgan Foundation. Register here.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, and today supported by more than 600 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance philanthropy at every level. The Center's web site receives more than 54,000 visits each day, and thousands of people gain access to free resources in its five regional library/learning centers and its national network of more than 350 Cooperating Collections. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.

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