Burton D. Morgan Foundation Awards Entrepreneurship Grants to 15 Colleges and Universities in Northeast Ohio

Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees held a special meeting in November to approve an additional round of grants totaling nearly $1 million to bolster the Northeast Ohio entrepreneurial ecosystem.  A total of $680,000 was awarded to colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio to support entrepreneurship.

Kent State University Foundation was awarded a grant of $500,000 for the Design Initiative Hub, a dynamic space that opened last year which brings innovations from many disciplines together in a 78,000 square foot building near the center of the Kent campus.  An area of the building that houses the LaunchNET program and the Marty Erbaugh (I3) Lab will be named the Burton D. Morgan Foundation Entrepreneurship Suite.  This grant also establishes a fund that will support (I3) Lab programming in the coming years.

Foundation Trustees also approved grants to 15 Northeast Ohio colleges and universities totaling $180,000 to establish or expand microgrant opportunities for student entrepreneurs.  Institutions receiving microgrant programming awards of $10,000 or $20,000 include:

Ashland University
Baldwin Wallace University
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland State University Foundation
Hiram College
John Carroll University
Kent State University Foundation
Lake Erie College
Lakeland Foundation
Lorain County Community College Foundation
Notre Dame College
Oberlin College
The College of Wooster
The University of Akron Foundation
Ursuline College

“Burton D. Morgan Foundation has been a true partner and advocate over the years, particularly in the area of entrepreneurship,” said Valoree Vargo, vice president of philanthropy and alumni engagement. “Through their long-standing support, students, faculty, staff and community members have been able to engage in transformational experiences, developing and starting their own businesses. These recent, generous grants will further enhance the spirit of entrepreneurship here at Kent State, as we work across disciplines to address some of the biggest challenges facing our world today through our university’s Design Innovation efforts. We are thankful for support to our student entrepreneurs to expand our microgrant opportunities, and we are honored to recognize the impact the foundation has had by naming an area of our newly created Design Innovation Hub the Burton D. Morgan Foundation Entrepreneurship Suite.”

University of Akron Research Foundation received a grant of $140,000 to expand the I-Corps Sites program in Northeast Ohio.  This grant will enable I-Corps to serve more early-stage entrepreneurs across the region through its seven-week course focused on customer validation, real-world research, and prototyping exercises.

Hebrew Free Loan Association was awarded $154,500 to support business lending in Northeast Ohio with priority given to Summit County businesses.  HFLA is an invaluable resource to cash-strapped entrepreneurs, as it provides interest-free loans to launch new ventures and grow existing businesses.

Foundation President and CEO Deborah Hoover commented, “Morgan Foundation’s ecosystem building efforts never stop and we were gratified to be able to boost ecosystem activities at year-end with this array of grants designed to foster venture starts and growth.  We will be excited to see the results of all these investments in our community.   The grant to Kent State University Design Innovation Hub strategically complements a prior grant for creation of the Marty Erbaugh (I3) Lab in honor of our esteemed trustee, J. Martin Erbaugh, who passed away in 2019.”

Morgan Foundation made several other smaller grants since the September meeting to support entrepreneurship including:

ArtsNow - $20,000 to support Akron Cultural Plan grants focused on education, skill-building, and connectivity to resources for area artists

Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy - $6,100 to coordinate and implement Hack ’21 and support Global Entrepreneurship Week marketing efforts

Downtown Akron Partnership - $19,900 to provide lease subsidies for Start Downtown participants