Burton D. Morgan Foundation Announces Grants to Impact Entrepreneurship in Akron

At the January Board Meeting, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved nearly $1.5 million in grants for initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education for youth, college students, and adults in Northeast Ohio.  Several grants were made to support entrepreneurship in Akron, a strategic focus of the Foundation announced in 2019.

Bounce Innovation Hub was awarded $252,500 to support strategic planning and a variety of initiatives, including the incubator program, software accelerator, and a series of programs called GROW to support non-tech entrepreneurs.  The grant will also provide funding for Northeast Ohio Student Venture programming, which enables student at universities across Northeast Ohio to gain experience in venture capitalism.

Morgan Foundation has also awarded a grant of $40,000 to MORTAR Cincinnati, which will be part of Bounce’s GROW programming and focus on supporting minority and female business owners.  Programming will be led by Ace Epps, Bounce’s new director of inclusive entrepreneurship.  Two cohorts of the program are set to run in 2020, with the first beginning in April. 

“Burton D. Morgan Foundation is the cornerstone of the Akron innovation ecosystem,” said Doug Weintraub, Bounce CEO. “Not only do they provide much-needed funding and support to a variety of local organizations, they have been unwavering advocates of our team as we look to expand and grow our programs for tech and non-tech entrepreneurs. Bounce is able to serve because we have partners like the Morgan Foundation on our side.”

The Foundation also awarded a grant of $100,000 to Akron Regional Development Board Educational Fund to support Choose Growth 330 activities in 2020 and 2021.  Choose Growth 330 is the educational and awareness initiative designed to foster a broader understanding of the impact of growth-oriented companies in Greater Akron, as well as the network of resources that exists to support them. 

Additional grants made to spur entrepreneurship activity in Akron include a grant of $13,200 to Downtown Akron Partnership for the Pop Up Program for small business growth in 2020, and $35,000 to Well Community Development Corporation for capacity building for the Well’s economic development initiative and for Akron Food Works, an incubator for food entrepreneurs.

Deborah Hoover, President and CEO of Burton D. Morgan Foundation commented, “Morgan Foundation’s grants this cycle reflect our current strategic focus on Akron’s evolving ecosystem and its service of both startups and scaleups. The significant grant to Bounce Innovation Hub builds on the excitement of activities occurring in the new Generator space and the introduction of GROW programs designed for non-tech entrepreneurs. Our support of Choose Growth 330 celebrates the impact of growth-oriented companies on Greater Akron by capturing expansion stories that are designed to inspire others to see Akron as a place for ventures to thrive. We are grateful to have resources from the Fasenmyer Fund available to support components of these two grants.  Morgan Foundation is committed to its role as ecosystem builder and champion of Akron’s courageous entrepreneurs.”

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

Entrepreneurship Education Consortium - $187,000 to support programming and staff in 2020 and 2021
Korda Institute for Teaching - $100,000 to serve as a program partner for the upcoming Youth Changemaker Grant process
University School - $239,450 for the 2020 Enspire educator conference
Venture for America - $150,000 to support NEO Fellows attendance at Training Camp and Training Camp Redux in 2020 and 2021 and cultivation of Akron as a host city

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

Akron Community Foundation - $250,000 to establish the Dick Chenoweth Fund for Experiential Education
Beachwood City Schools - $6,000 for the Eureka! micro-business competition
Bounce Innovation Hub - $1,500 to support a series of educational fireside chats at Bounce Innovation Hub during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019
Crafty Mart - $10,000 for Maker Sessions
Cuyahoga Community College Foundation - $2,375 to support the Entrepreneur Expo
Great Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America - $5,200 for the Entrepreneurship Merit Badge program
Lawrence School - $8,500 to establish a new Upper School Entrepreneurship Club and an evergreen loan fund for student-run businesses
Venture for America - $10,000 for Demo Day prize money
VentureWell - $5,000 for sponsorship of the OPEN 2020 conference
Youngstown Edison Incubator Corporation - $5,000 for the Youngstown Space Commerce Workshop

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

City of Hudson - $1,200 for Hudson Community Television’s production of Good Day in Hudson
First Congregational Church of Hudson - $10,000 for operating support
Hudson City Schools - $1,500 for the earth balloon program at Ellsworth Hill Elementary School
Hudson City Schools - $15,000 to support Hudson High School clubs
Hudson Community Foundation - $10,000 for the Baldwin-Buss House Foundation Fund
Hudson Community Foundation- $5,000 for the Hudson Holiday Lighting Fund
Hudson Job Search - $7,500 for marketing and program support
Seton Catholic School - $2,500 for the Habits of the Heart youth philanthropy program

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

Akron Art Museum - $25,000 to support the planning stages of the Center for Creative Learning’s capital campaign
Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation - $10,000 to support activities of the Addiction Services Program
Birthing Beautiful Communities - $25,000 for the development of a custom database and professional development expenses
Broken Chains Jail & Prison Ministry - $15,000 to purchase a van to support clients of Lydia’s Home
EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute - $10,000 for operating support
Family and Community Services - $31,000 to purchase a used box truck
Family and Community Services - $23,000 to provide federal match dollars for the Senior Companions and Foster Grandparents Programs
Family Promise of Summit County - $4,200 for renovations to a new community shelter home
LifeAct - $7,500 for LifeAct mental health programming in Summit County
North Akron Community Development Corporation - $10,000 to support improvements to the Market House
One of a Kind Pet Rescue - $15,000 to purchase computers and accessories
Peninsula Foundation - $25,000 for the construction of ADA-compliant restrooms
Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio - $13,500 for the Going Paperless project

The Foundation also made a special grant of $10,000 to World Animal Protection for the Australian Bush Fire Recovery Appeal.