Foundation Awards Grants to Support Entrepreneurs of all Ages and Backgrounds

At the June Board Meeting, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved more than $700,000 in grants for initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education in Northeast Ohio.  Grants will fund entrepreneurship programs and opportunities in both the K-12 and collegiate space, and support adults in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Foundation Trustees approved several grants to bolster entrepreneurship programming on campuses across Northeast Ohio.  Kent State University was awarded a multi-year grant of $132,150 for the Developing Entrepreneurship in Postsecondary Education for Justice-involved Learners program.  Kent State will partner with Sinclair Community College and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to help incarcerated individuals access entrepreneurship and business education.  Morgan Foundation’s dollars will be used for entrepreneurship curriculum refinement and activities. 

“I have had the privilege to be involved in prison education for the past ten years and have observed its transformative powers,” said Program Director Kristenne Robison. “Programs like this can mean many things to different justice-involved entrepreneurs. For some, it is the first time they will be involved in higher education boosting their self-esteem, for others they are finding a new way to connect with their child, and for some it will give them the knowledge and skills to go down the path of entrepreneurship. This program can do all of those things and more, but the strength of this program is that it offers entrepreneurship support and training from the conception of an idea, to connecting with community mentors, to support in the community after reintegration. It really is the whole package to support Northeast Ohio’s future entrepreneurs.”   

Deborah Hoover, President and CEO of Burton D. Morgan Foundation commented, “Through this program, Kent State will join close to 40 other bachelor’s degree-granting institutions working with U.S. prisons.  Morgan Foundation’s multi-year grant will support justice-involved learner access to KSU’s LaunchNET advising, pitch competitions, and educational sessions, enabling them to gain experiences that will increase their chances of success launching entrepreneurial ventures and building self-reliance.  We will be excited to learn about the businesses they create and the journeys they navigate to become tenacious entrepreneurs.”

University of Akron Research Foundation is receiving a multi-year grant of $100,000 to support the STRIDE accelerator, which serves hard technology startups from across Northeast Ohio.  The STRIDE Accelerator provides commercialization training to hard tech startups with validated product-market fit so they can transition into being investment-ready with the skills required to go to market. 

Morgan Foundation also approved multi-year grants of $104,000 and $57,000 to Cleveland State University and Notre Dame College, respectively, to support entrepreneurship activities.

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

Economic and Community Development Institute - $68,000 to support operations in Akron
Greater Akron Chamber Foundation - $60,000 to support Inclusion Marketplace efforts in Greater Akron
University School - $191,500 to support Young Entrepreneur Institute

Foundation Trustees also approved a grant of $100,000 for Western Reserve Land Conservancy to purchase and improve the O’Brien Preserve in Hudson.

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

Asian Services in Action - $20,000 to support microloans for immigrant entrepreneurs in Akron
Crafty Mart - $10,000 for the 2021 Maker Sessions
Emmanuel Christian Academy - $20,000 for entrepreneurship programming
Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley - $10,000 for capacity building
MORTAR Cincinnati - $200,000 to support the creation of a platform and the conversion of the MORTAR Masters curriculum into a virtual format that will be accessed by individuals nationally
National Inventors Hall of Fame - $20,000 to conduct a research project
North Akron Community Development Corporation - $20,000 for operating and program expenses
University of Massachusetts- Lowell - $15,000 to sponsor the Deshpande Symposium 2022

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

Destination Hudson - $5,000 for operating support
Hudson Bandstand - $2,500 for the Summer Concert Series
Hudson Community First - $6,000 for the Career Panel/Intern for a Day program
Hudson Community Foundation - $2,500 for the Hudson DEI Alliance
Hudson Community Service Association - $8,000 for the Helping Hands Assistance Fund
Hudson-Landsberg Sister City - $5,000 for the 2021 ChristkindlMarkt
Hudson Montessori School - $5,000 for operating support
Music from the Western Reserve - $3,000 for the 2021-22 concert season
Northeast Ohio STEM Alliance - $1,500 for the Hudson Middle School Science Olympiad Team