Burton D. Morgan Foundation Awards $1.5 Million in Grants for Entrepreneurship

At the September Board Meeting, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved approximately $1.5 million in grants to promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education for youth, college students, and adults. 

One of Morgan Foundation’s priorities is supporting programs that help to instill the entrepreneurial mindset in youth and provide students with opportunities to practice entrepreneurial skills.  Grants totaling $800,000 are dedicated to this effort, including a combined total of $490,000 over two years to support four Junior Achievement programs serving nineteen counties in Northeast Ohio. 

The Junior Achievement (JA) program has a proven track record.  Among these results, 98% of high school participants indicate they have a better understanding of what resources are needed to be an entrepreneur, and 96% of high school students indicate improved critical thinking skills as a result of their participation in JA programming.  As JA approaches its 100th anniversary in 2019, the organization is focused on enhancing its approach to evaluation, and local JA leadership meets regularly in a learning group to brainstorm innovative ways to collaborate and enhance programming. 

Each of the four Junior Achievement organizations was awarded an additional $10,000 in flexible funding to work on an objective of their choosing.  The Foundation has encouraged JA to experiment with the dollars to provide stronger pathways for youth as they advance into collegiate and adult ecosystems, deepen the entrepreneurial learning experience for youth, develop organizational capacity, expand reach to underserved populations, and provide opportunities for learning within the ecosystem.  Additionally, the Foundation awarded dollars for a two-year cycle to allow the organizations to work through the additional objectives over a longer period of time and to increase staff capacity.

Deborah Hoover, Foundation President and CEO, commented, “Morgan Foundation’s grants in support of youth entrepreneurship programming are aimed at helping young people build the entrepreneurial mindset and simultaneously develop an awareness of entrepreneurship as an important driver of our economy. While each oneof our grantee programs this cycle approaches its entrepreneurship education mission differently, all reach entrepreneurs of tomorrow eager to learn what it means to bring an idea to life.”

Morgan Foundation also awarded several grants to capitalize on the increased entrepreneurial activity and energy in Akron.  Bounce Innovation Hub, which is serving as a unifying force to stimulate the heightened awareness and focus around innovation and related startup/scaleup activity, received $50,000 to bolster these efforts.  This grant was partially funded by a $3.75 million grant the Foundation was recently awarded by the Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation.

 In addition to housing startups and growing companies, the recently formed Bounce is now home to a number of entrepreneurship service providers, such as Crafty Mart, Economic Community Development Institute, and Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio, as well as BioEnterprise, which recently announced its intention to establish a joint office at Bounce.  Morgan Foundation provides support to all these organizations.   Bounce is also working with MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy Growth Network), which recently opened an office in Akron, to establish Iterator, a joint program to aid startup product manufacturing companies. 

“This generous gift from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation will help us work to encourage Akron companies to be deliberate and strategic about their growth planning,” said Doug Weintraub, Bounce CEO. “Entrepreneurs should always be looking to that next big milestone.  Thanks to the Morgan Foundation, and along with our many partners, Bounce and our community can provide the support and services our companies need to grow, right here in Akron.”

Also receiving grants impacting Akron this cycle was Akron SCORE, which provides educational programming and consulting services to entrepreneurs and people interested in starting a business, and the Well Community Development Corporation for its shared use incubator kitchen.

Grants approved by the Foundation Trustees to benefit organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship are detailed below.

Adult Entrepreneurship Grants:
Akron SCORE Chapter 81 - $35,000 for general operating
Bounce Innovation Hub - $50,000 for the Choose Growth Akron initiative
Business Volunteers Unlimited - $4,300 for a seminar on social entrepreneurship
Canton Regional SCORE - $15,000 for workshops, marketing, and outreach efforts
Cleveland Co-Labs - $10,000 to expand outreach and connections
Cleveland Festival of Art and Technology - $10,000 for entrepreneurial education and mentorship activities
Crafty Mart - $4,000 to support Maker Sessions
Cuyahoga County Public Library - $27,000 for an entrepreneurship educator training program for library staff (two years)
Ideastream – $50,000 for the Making It series
Lake View Cemetery Foundation - $15,000 to research and write a booklet as part of its “Entrepreneurship in Cleveland” program (two years)
MAGNET - $100,000 to provide support and continuing education to manufacturing companies after the completion of Cohort 2 of Scalerator NEO
Team NEO Foundation - $150,000 to implement strategies outlined in the additive manufacturing and internet of things cluster roadmaps
Well Community Development Corporation - $20,000 for the Akron Food Works program
Youngstown Edson Incubator Corporation - $50,000 to coordinate the activities of the Comeback Capital Fund and follow-on funding conference

Collegiate Entrepreneurship Grants:
Ashland University – $50,000 for programming at Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the development of a core entrepreneurship course to be taken by all undergraduate students
Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation – up to $15,000 to support entrepreneurial internships
Notre Dame College - $115,000 for entrepreneurship programming (two years)
Walsh University - $17,000 for programming and recruitment efforts related to The Garage

Youth Entrepreneurship Grants:
Akron Public Schools - $19,150 for the Marketing Challenge Program (two years)
Gilmour Academy - $10,000 to provide reusable equipment and recyclable capital to support student-run businesses
Great Lakes Science Center - $20,000 for the Great Science Academy
Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio - $100,000 for entrepreneurship programming and operations (two years)
Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland - $120,000 for entrepreneurship programming and operations (two years)
Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley - $100,000 for entrepreneurship programming and operations (two years)
Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio - $170,000 for entrepreneurship programming and operations (two years)
Lawrence School - $8,000 for entrepreneurship programming
National Inventors Hall of Fame - $182,000 to support Camp Invention and Invention Project programming and the development of the Innovation Force curricula
University School - $70,000 to support Lemonade Day NEO

Other grants to support innovation and entrepreneurship at the youth, collegiate, and adult levels, that have been approved by the Trustees in the interim period between meetings include:

Prepared for Life - $10,000 for license fee for Lemonade Day NEO
SEED SPOT - $20,000 for the EXPLORE entrepreneurship program
The Devil Strip - $7,290 for coverage of entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio
Western Reserve Academy - $4,400 for a high school hackathon for Global Entrepreneurship Week
Youngstown Edison Incubator Corporation - $12,000 for the PITCH U competition

Trustees also approved the following grants to benefit the Hudson community:  City of Hudson for Hudson Community Television for the production of Good Day in Hudson ($1,200); EMS Outreach Fund of Hudson for the Hudson RUOK? Program ($1,000); First Congregational Church of Hudson for operating support ($10,000); Hudson City Schools to support Hudson High School clubs ($15,000); Music from the Western Reserve for operating support ($5,000); and Seton Catholic School for the Habits of the Heart program ($2,500).