Burton D. Morgan Foundation Kicks off 50th Anniversary with $50,000 Grant to Akron Soul Train

At their January meeting, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved nearly $1.8 million in grants to organizations throughout Northeast Ohio, including a grant of $50,000 to Akron Soul Train, the first of four special $50,000 grants to the community that Morgan Foundation plans to announce throughout the year in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Akron Soul Train is developing a residential artist community in the Northside Arts District in Akron. Plans include artist studios and exhibition space constructed from refurbished train cars and shipping containers.  Created in 2016 after winning a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Grant, Akron Soul Train will also bring artists from around the world to participate in six-month residencies.  The exhibition gallery will be named for Burton D. Morgan Foundation.  Anticipated date of completion is fall 2017.

Foundation CEO and President Deborah Hoover commented, “Akron Soul Train is emerging as a blend of elements reflecting the city's rich history--the first electric railway and lively soul music generated in the Howard Street District.  This tribute to the spirit of innovation will serve as a unifying force for the city's thriving arts community and the artists visiting through the residency program.  Morgan Foundation is excited to support the exhibition space that will showcase the creative energy flowing from this community and to spark lively conversations about artistic ingenuity.” 

Nancy Brennan, cofounder of Akron Soul Train and Board President, stated, “The Akron Soul Train board and staff are grateful for the support of Burton D. Morgan Foundation. We look forward to the grand opening of the Akron Soul Train residential artist village in the summer of 2017 and the Burton D. Morgan Foundation Gallery.

Grants to benefit organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship at the youth, collegiate and adult levels include the following:

Akron SCORE - $35,000 for operating and marketing support

Baldwin Wallace University - $225,000 for the NEOLaunchNET program (two years)

Case Western Reserve University - $230,000 for the NEOLaunchNET program (two years)

City of Hudson - $27,000 for the purchase and installation of transmission equipment ($25,000) and program development costs ($2,000) for Hudson Community Television

Entrepreneurship Education Consortium - $95,000 for the ideaLabs business idea competition and Entrepreneurship Immersion Week

Hudson Library & Historical Society - $57,600 for activities of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship Research (two years)

Kent State University Foundation - $300,000 for the NEOLaunchNET program (two years)

Launch League - $45,000 for programming support ($25,000) and a challenge grant to garner additional support from the community ($20,000)

Lorain County Community College Foundation - $300,000 for the NEOLaunchNET program (two years)

Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund – Up to $77,000 for operating support ($65,000) and a challenge grant to garner support from member institutions ($12,000)

Summer on the Cuyahoga – Up to $22,000 for the Entrepreneurial Outreach Program

The Entrepreneurs EDGE – Up to $50,000 for the EDGE Fellows Summer Intern Program

University School – Up to $180,400 for the planning and execution of the Enspire Entrepreneurship Educator Conference

Since September, the Foundation also approved a number of smaller grants to support youth, collegiate, and adult entrepreneurship programs and philanthropy.  Among the recipients were:  Beachwood City Schools  for the 2017 NOISE Expo at Beachwood High School ($10,000); Canton Regional SCORE for marketing and outreach efforts ($12,000); Crafty Mart for five artist entrepreneur events ($4,000); Hudson Library & Historical Society for Pitch Night ($8,944); Lakeland Foundation for Lakeland Entrepreneurship Week ($1,495); National Inventors Hall of Fame for an evaluation project ($20,000); Prepared 4 Life for underwriting the license fee for Lemonade Day Northeast Ohio ($10,000); The Foundation Center for operating support and to assist the planning process for strategies around social entrepreneurship ($16,000); and The Greater Expectations Intercontinental Sacred Arts Society for the SAVIOUR Arts & Entrepreneurship program ($5,000).

In addition to supporting entrepreneurship initiatives in the region, the Foundation also makes grants to support institutions in Hudson.  The following grants have been made since September to benefit the Hudson community:  EMS Outreach Fund of Hudson toward a battery-powered hydraulic ambulance cot for an ambulance ($1,000); First Congregational Church of Hudson for operating support ($10,000); Hudson City Schools for Hudson High School clubs ($15,000); Hudson Community Service Association for the 2016 holiday lighting program ($250);

Hudson Job Search for programming and materials for job seekers ($10,000); and Seton Catholic School for a youth philanthropy program with Laurel Lake Retirement Community ($2,500).

The Foundation also made a special holiday grant to the International Institute of Akron for equipment for a communications library for Summit County immigrants and refugees who become involved with legal proceedings ($3,000).