Burton D. Morgan Foundation Awards Grants to Boost Entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio

At the September Board Meeting, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved over half a million dollars in grants to spur entrepreneurship in Greater Akron and its surrounding communities. While Morgan Foundation typically awards entrepreneurship grants three times per year, it is anticipated that a fourth round of grants will be announced by the end of 2021.

Trustees approved a two-year grant of $55,000 to Bounce Innovation Hub to support a pilot program that provides mentorship for entrepreneurs of color.  It is anticipated that three experienced entrepreneurs-in-residence will be retained by Bounce to provide high quality mentorship opportunities to assist growth-oriented entrepreneurs with business acceleration and sustainability.  This pilot program is expected to attract support from multiple sources.

“We are extremely grateful to the Morgan Foundation for their continued support of our entrepreneurial programs.  The ability to hire EIR resources for our Next Level Incubator, which is focused on serving entrepreneurs of color, has been the longstanding vision for the next evolution of this program,” said Bounce COO Jessica Sublett. “This recent support enables us to bring this vision to life, so we can continue to assist entrepreneurs from various racial and ethnic backgrounds in even more meaningful ways.”

Trustees also approved a grant of up to $200,000 for Venture for America, a two-year fellowship program that matches recent college graduates with paid roles at fast-growing companies in entrepreneurial cities across America.  Morgan Foundation dollars will support the placement of fellows in Northeast Ohio.  Since 2013, $12 million has been raised by Fellow-founded companies in Northeast Ohio.

The Well Community Development Corporation was awarded a grant of $67,000 for Akron Food Works program, which aims to remove barriers for food entrepreneurs by providing the education, space, equipment, and connections necessary to create successful food businesses.  In addition to a fully outfitted shared use kitchen, Akron Food Works supports food entrepreneurs with a Food Business Bootcamp and individualized guidance and growth plans for businesses poised for expansion.

Morgan Foundation awarded a grant of up to $80,000 to Ohio State University Foundation to study and understand how high growth companies fit into Northeast Ohio’s regional ecosystem.  The principal investigator for the project, Yasuyuki Motoyama, is committed to identifying gaps and suggesting practical solutions that will inform the adult entrepreneurial support network.   

Trustees also approved two grants to support entrepreneurship education for youth and university students.  University School was awarded $47,000 for Lemonade Day, a program that guides students through a series of exercises and activities that typically culminate in the operation of a lemonade stand.  Northeast Ohio Medical University will receive $116,500 to support the NEOvations program for two years.  Through the NEOvations Bench to Bedside program, student teams research and develop technology-based solutions to challenges in the medical field, eventually working toward commercialization.

Foundation President and CEO Deborah Hoover commented, “The entrepreneurship grants approved at the September meeting illustrate the many ways Morgan Foundation endeavors to strengthen our regional ecosystem and support entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey.  The connectivity in Northeast Ohio fuels the strategic partnerships that make these programs possible, and Morgan Foundation is excited to be part of this ever-evolving story reflecting a long history of innovation and entrepreneurial know-how across our region.” 

Other grants made by Morgan Foundation in the interim period between meetings to support entrepreneurship include:

Effective Leadership Academy - $3,000 for the Chamber Leadership Academy
Hudson City School District - $6,000 for Six District Education Compact EntrepreNEW pilot II training
National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship - $6,000 for scholarships to the annual conference
Ursuline College - $20,000 for entrepreneurship programming
VentureWell - $5,000 to sponsor the Open 2021 conference

The Foundation has also made the following recent grants to benefit the Hudson community:

Case-Barlow Bicentennial Farm - $1,500 for event support
City of Hudson - $1,200 for the production of Hudson Cable Television’s Good Day in Hudson
First Congregational Church of Hudson - $10,000 for operating support
Hudson City School District - $15,000 to support Hudson High School clubs
Hudson Heritage Association - $250 for a Preservationist Membership
Hudson Job Search - $7,500 for operating support
Hudson Rotary Foundation - $1,000 to support the Scholarship Fund
The Hudson Players Guild - $15,000 to upgrade lighting
Western Reserve Academy - $5,000 to support the Student Philanthropy Program