Foundation Announces Grants to Support Innovation in NEO

At the September Board Meeting, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved more than $1 million in grants for initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education in Northeast Ohio.  Among the grants were two initiatives funded by the recently launched Morgan Scout Fund, an innovative grantmaking pool designed to support experimental programs.

A three-year Morgan Scout Fund grant of up to $225,000 was made to Woodridge Local School System for the benefit of the Six District Educational Compact, a Career-Technical Education (CTE) collaboration for students in Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Kent, Stow-Munroe Falls, Tallmadge and Woodridge schools.  The grant will support a pilot Entrepreneurship Academy planned for the 2020-21 school year that will integrate business education, 21st century skill development, design thinking, mentorship, community development, and networking in a mobile and flexible environment.  Morgan Foundation funds will help the program develop a shareable guide with an embedded evaluation tool and resources for other CTE educators to utilize. 

Burton D. Morgan Foundation strives to support initiatives with clear pathways for individuals to navigate among youth, collegiate, and adult entrepreneurship programming.  The CTE program supports the creation of entrepreneurial pathways for youth who transition directly into the adult world, as is the case with many CTE students, as well as those who seek higher education with area colleges.

A second Morgan Scout Fund grant for $50,000 was made to University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF) to support a pilot of the Startup Teams Rising in the Development of Entrepreneurship (STRIDE) Accelerator.  Created in 2001, UARF seeks to transform and expand the region’s innovation economy through entrepreneurship education, technology commercialization, and creation of new entrepreneurial ventures. 

The STRIDE Accelerator will focus on hard tech, which includes any physical product or component based on new technology.  The accelerator will provide commercialization training to startups with validated product-solution fit so that startups can transition into being investment-ready with the skills required to go to market.

Foundation President and CEO Deborah Hoover commented, “Morgan Foundation’s Venture 2021 Strategic Framework created Morgan Scout Fund as a way for our organization to be more entrepreneurial in how we deploy our dollars in the community. We are developing a more ‘conscious culture of innovation’ in all that we do,

listening carefully to better understand gaps and craft creative solutions to seize opportunities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This new approach is energizing our entire team and we are excited to share our first steps in this new body of work that we hope will enliven our ecosystem in pivotal ways.” 

Additional grants approved by the Foundation Trustees to benefit organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship include the following:

  • Akron Regional Development Board Educational Fund - $39,000 to support Choose Growth activities
  • Akron SCORE Chapter 81 - $70,000 to support operations of the Akron SCORE office (two years)
  • Entrepreneurial Engagement Ohio - $62,750 to support STEM Entrepreneurship and Innovation forums in NEO (two years)
  • Ideastream - $50,000 for the development of the Making It video series
  • Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) - $100,000 to support Scalerator cohort 3 manufacturing companies
  • National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inc. - $189,800 to support Camp Invention and Invention Project programming
  • Summit Medina Business Alliance, Inc. - $25,000 for administration of SBDC/SMBA educational activities
  • University School - $140,000 to support Lemonade Day NEO (two years)
  • Youngstown Edison Incubator Corporation - $50,000 to support the educational activities of the Connecting the Coasts to the Heartland Conference

Other grants for entrepreneurship initiatives approved by the Trustees in the interim period between meetings include:

  • Akron Regional Development Board Educational Fund - $6,000 to support the Choose Growth Akron awareness initiative
  • Boys Hope Girls Hope of Northeastern Ohio – $3,500 for professional development, field trips to entrepreneurial activities, and program supplies
  • Canton Regional SCORE - $10,000 for operating support
  • Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy - $4,600 to coordinate and implement Hack ‘19
  • John Carroll University - $15,000 to support a regional learning summit
  • Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio - $5,000 for travel expenses to JA Company of the Year Competition
  • Prepared 4 Life - $10,000 for license fee for Lemonade Day
  • Summit Artspace - $10,000 to support Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute
  • The University of Akron Foundation - $20,000 to develop digital course materials for the Entrepreneurship Teacher Institute
  • Youngstown Edison Incubator Corporation - $12,000 to support PITCH U

Trustees also approved the following grants to benefit the Hudson community:

  • Hudson Heritage Association - $250 for a Preservationist Membership
  • Hudson Library & Historical Society - $250 for books for children and teens
  • Hudson-Landsberg Sister City - $5,000 for the 2019 Christkindlmarkt event in Hudson
  • Music from the Western Reserve - $3,000 for operating support
  • Burton D. Morgan Foundation press release, 10-14-19, page 3 of 3

The Foundation also made a special grant of $10,000 to Barberton Community Foundation for the City of Barberton’s Disaster Relief Fund.