Burton D. Morgan Foundation Awards Nearly $1.7 Million in Grants for Entrepreneurship Support

At the January Board Meeting, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved close to $1.7 million dollars in grants for initiatives to support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship education in Northeast Ohio. 

Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development was awarded $200,000 to support construction of the CentroVilla25 facility.  CentroVilla25 is an adaptive reuse of a vacant 32,500 square foot warehouse in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood. The facility will feature twenty-two micro-retail spaces, a commercial kitchen, a business innovation center, coworking space, office space for Latino and other neighborhood serving organizations, an outdoor plaza, and a community space for arts & culture programming.  CentroVilla25 is expected to catalyze economic impact through job creation and business development, grow a thriving local economy, and celebrate Latino culture.  The project’s total cost is $10.3 million.  CentroVilla25’s grand opening is slated for Spring 2024.

Jenice Contreras, President and CEO of Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development, stated, "CentroVilla25 is a crucial step in creating a more equitable and inclusive economy for the Latino-Hispanic community in Cleveland. This funding commitment from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation will support the construction of the project and provide access to bilingual business services to entrepreneurs who will start and grow their business within this facility. We are grateful for their support.”

Additional grants approved at the meeting include:

Bounce Innovation Hub - $937,500 to support existing programming and to purchase equipment/outfit classrooms over two years
Greater Akron Chamber Foundation - $41,752 to support the Business Resource Navigator and the Polymer Connectivity Cluster
Hiram College - $88,000 to support Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship (CIE) activities over two years
SEA Change Incorporated - $40,000 to support SEA Change’s 2023 Northeast Ohio Cohort
The Entrepreneurs EDGE – Up to $57,600 to support the EDGE Fellows program
The Well Community Development Corporation - $87,000 to support Akron Food Works
University School - $215,000 to support the 2023 Enspire Conference

“We are excited to support Northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with this package of grants for organizations representing youth, collegiate and adult entrepreneurship programming,” commented Foundation President and CEO Dan Hampu.  “We look forward to learning of the impact of these grants on our community and its diverse and talented group of entrepreneurs.”

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

BRITE - $20,000 for general operating support
Council of Friends Groups of Akron-Summit County Public Library - $10,000 to support a pitch competition
Downtown Akron Partnership - $20,000 to support the Start Downtown program
Kent State University Foundation - $19,750 to support the 2023 Fashion/Tech Hackathon
Project Invent - $20,000 for teacher fellowships at Northeast Ohio Title I schools
VentureWell - $20,000 to sponsor OPEN 23 and the Deshpande Symposium
Youngstown State University Foundation - $10,000 to support entrepreneurial pathways, co-curricular offerings, and microgrants

To address community needs that fall outside the Foundation’s primary mission, the Foundation periodically makes one-time community grants on a proactive basis to deserving charitable organizations that serve the local area.  Recent grants awarded to community agencies include the following:

Children’s Advocacy Center of Portage County - $25,000 for general operating support
Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park - $25,000 for the River Access Improvement Project
Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary - $10,000 for general operating support
Northeast Ohio Medical University Foundation - $25,000 for support of the Student Run Free Clinic
Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition - $25,000 for the Civic Commons Project
Project LEARN of Summit County - $25,000 for general operating support
Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties - $25,000 for general operating support
Stewart’s Caring Place - $25,000 for general operating support
United Disability Services - $25,000 for general operating support

Morgan Foundation also made a grant to the American National Red Cross in the amount of $30,000 for disaster relief related to Hurricane Ian.