(Youngstown/Warren, OH) – Three Valley foundations that have been working together on COVID-19 grantmaking issued a final call for proposals coming through the joint COVID-19 Response and Stabilization Application. The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, The Raymond John Wean Foundation and The Youngstown Foundation set Friday, April 2, 2021 at 5 p.m. as the final deadline for this grant opportunity, and applicants are encouraged to submit requests as soon as possible.

One year ago, the foundations released the joint application, which leverages grant dollars and connects grant seekers directly with all three foundations for quick funding decisions. Through the end of 2020, the foundations had jointly invested more than $2.4 million in the Mahoning Valley through 150 grants aimed at addressing both crisis response and stabilization efforts.

The application allows charitable organizations to submit the same proposal to any one of the foundations or all three at the same time, and the link will be available on all three foundation websites through April 2: www.cfmv.org; www.rjweanfdn.org; www.youngstownfoundation.org.

A declining number of grant applications and the shift in focus of local nonprofit organizations from crisis relief and stabilization back to more traditional operations were among the catalysts for closing the common application.

“Based on our commitment to do better, we’re reducing what we ask for; providing longer term and more flexible funding and paying much needed attention to Black and Hispanic/Latinx led organizations,” said Jennifer Roller, Wean Foundation president. “These positive changes will begin in quarter two, with invites to grantees funded prior to the pandemic. An expanded reach to other nonprofits will follow.”

After the April 2 deadline, grant seekers should visit each foundation’s website or contact staff at each entity for more information on grant strategies throughout 2021.

“We want to continue addressing the impacts of COVID-19 while also looking forward,” said Shari Harrell, CFMV president. “The Community Foundation will roll out several grant opportunities in the next week, so local organizations will have access to CFMV funding through those processes.”

Staff and board members of the three organizations expressed their gratitude for the partnership of

grantees in making this common application work over the past year. The Community Foundation, The Wean Foundation and The Youngstown Foundation intend to continue working closely to combat COVID-19’s negative impacts, along with other important issues facing our community.

“Closing the Joint COVID-19 application in no way diminishes local philanthropy’s prioritization of addressing the growing and devastating impact of this pandemic on our community,” added Lynnette Forde, President of The Youngstown Foundation. “We remain committed to the pursuit of collaborative efforts to uplift the community.”

 

(March 16, 2021 – Warren, Ohio) Maintaining its commitment to center racial equity in its work and using its Strategic Direction: 2019 – 2023 as the framework, members of the Board and leadership team are embedding the Foundation’s values of race equity, resident engagement and a culture of listening into each of its pillars: grantmaking, capacity building, convening and partnerships and operations.

“We’re asking ourselves tough questions about what race equity looks like at the Foundation — and for our partners and the community,” explained Jennifer Roller, Wean Foundation president. “For example, what level of insight and trust do we all need, first, to acknowledge the legacy of racism in our communities and, second, to move forward to support viable solutions that genuinely challenge the conditions that hold problems in place?”

In 2021, the answers to these questions and others will inform a racial equity-centered strategic direction or racial equity theory of change. Or rather, a path forward that ensures equitable access to resources, knowledge and opportunity for those disproportionately impacted, and certainly exacerbated by COVID-19 – communities of color.

First, the Foundation will leverage its role and resources to provoke new thinking and disrupt the status quo. The Foundation’s 2020 Impact Report highlights both past efforts and its ongoing commitment to future strategic investments in 2021 that focus on the realization of thriving, Black-led organizations within our community.

Additionally, more than 500 Mahoning Valley community members have participated in Foundation-sponsored Race Equity and Inclusion training since 2017. This practical, data-driven experience explores the roots of racism in its institutional and structural forms. Based on the belief that real progress requires a shared understanding of racial injustice realities across all sectors, the Foundation extends an invitation to all residents, partners and organizations to attend the upcoming March or May two-day training. Visit our website to learn more and view the 2021 schedule.

Last, to support this crucial work, the Foundation is pleased to announce that Tara Walker-Pollack has joined the staff as Program Officer, Capacity Building. A native of Youngstown, Tara has a background in community and economic development with eight years of nonprofit experience in roles impacting underresourced communities in both New York City and the Mahoning Valley. In her role, Tara will manage the Capacity Building programming with a special emphasis on incorporating principles of race equity and inclusion.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Wean Foundation team,” said Tara, “and to partner with residents and organizations to continue creating authentic change. I’ve seen the impact of racial disparities first-hand in my work and I’m looking forward to contributing my experience to build stronger, more equitable communities right here at home.”

Tara earned a Master of Professional Studies, Community and Economic Development from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Louisville.

 

(February 15th – Youngstown, OH) – JAC Management Group and Wean Park’s Community Engagement
and Inclusion Coordinator, Derrick McDowell, have secured a ‘Little Free Library’ to stand on Wean Park’s
promenade supplied by the Youngstown Rotary in conjunction with the Little Free Library Foundation.
Installation of this ‘Little Free Library’ occurred the week of February 1
st and was facilitated by local Army
Veteran and Rotary member Frank Kishel. The ‘Little Free Library’ located on Wean Park’s promenade, which
connects the Covelli Centre and the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, is now open to all park visitors.
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization whose mission is to expand book access among communities
through volunteer led book collections in public spaces. These collections promote increased literacy and a
propensity for reading and learning.


The installation of the Little Free Library in Wean Park will allow the complex to further communicate values
associated with its pillars of equity, inclusivity and diversity through a curated collection of books that are
focused on such topics. The initial assortment of books was chosen by the Youngstown Rotary and the
Youngstown Library under the direction of Derrick McDowell to reflect themes related to Black History Month
as well as the aforementioned pillars of Wean Park. Current titles include
Walking With The Wind” by late
Congressman John Lewis, “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, “Colorblind” by Tim Wise, and “The Hate U Give”
by Angie Thomas.


“It may be small, in terms of capacity holding only so many books, but there is nothing “little” about what this
Little Free Library inside of Wean Park will accomplish. We know that reading opens the mind and shapes the
mentality of the reader and I, along with the Raymond John Wean Foundation and JAC Management Group,
am hopeful that when our community gets ahold of these specifically chosen books, those possibilities
continue to be endless within our community” remarked Wean Park’s Community Engagement and Inclusion
Coordinator, Derrick McDowell.


Wean Park and JAC Management Group look forward to working with community groups and organizations in
the future on book selections and interactive installations surrounding the reading material. Inquiries about
these opportunities can be submitted to Derrick McDowell at dmcdowell@weanpark.com

(January 11, 2021 – Warren, Ohio) The Raymond John Wean Foundation invites grassroots groups from Warren and Youngstown to apply for Neighborhood SUCCESS grants of $500 to $5,000 through a new streamlined application portal beginning January 14, 2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color and requires an urgent, equitable response that places residents at the center of the process, and leverages the financial, human and material resources that exist in the community,” says Corrie Adams, Program Officer. “Our streamlined grant application process is a response to what we’re hearing from residents and organizations today.”

For 2021, the Neighborhood SUCCESS Grants Program has been adapted to be responsive to the pandemic. In addition to a streamlined application process, on-demand orientation and technical assistance, a rolling timeline and expedited review process have been implemented.

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on January 21, February 4, February 18, March 4 and March 18 and reviewed by the Resident Council who represent the diversity of thought and experience of Warren and Youngstown residents. Most applications will be reviewed and processed within two weeks.

Requests that align with resident identified priorities and the spirit of the program will be considered for:
• COVID Response – efforts related to neighborhood challenges caused or made worse by the pandemic
• Program/Operations – resources to bolster organization operations or programs.

Before applying, groups are encouraged to visit the Neighborhood SUCCESS page at www.rjweanfdn.org for more information.

Now in its11th year, Neighborhood SUCCESS Grants have invested $1.6 million in nearly 500 resident-led projects improving the quality of life in underresourced neighborhoods across Warren and Youngstown.

(November 3, 2020 – Youngstown/Warren, OH) – Together, three Valley foundations issued a final call for 2020 grant proposals coming through the joint COVID-19 Crisis Relief and Stabilization Application. The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, The Raymond John Wean Foundation and The Youngstown Foundation set Friday, November 20 as the final 2020 deadline for this grant opportunity, and applicants are encouraged to submit requests as soon as possible.

In March, the foundations released the joint application, which leverages grant dollars and connects grant seekers directly with all three foundations for quick funding decisions. Together, the foundations have invested more than $1.6 million in the Mahoning Valley through 104 grants aimed at addressing both crisis relief and stabilization efforts.

The application allows charitable organizations to submit the same proposal to any one of the foundations or all three at the same time, and the link continues to be available on all three foundation websites: www.cfmv.org; www.rjweanfdn.org; www.youngstownfoundation.org.

“While we are grateful to have partnered with the Community Foundation and the Youngstown Foundation, the declining number of grant applications and the responses from our community survey suggest a shift in the approach to the pandemic this fall,” said Jennifer Roller, Wean Foundation president. “We are now focusing on what we’ve learned collectively in an effort to stabilize organizations long term.”

Possible future deadlines for the joint COVID-19 application, as well as additional opportunities for collaborative grantmaking, are currently being explored. After the November 20 deadline, grant seekers should visit each foundation’s website or else contact staff at each entity for more information on grant strategies through the end of 2020 and into 2021.

“The common application has been a powerful tool for the community,” said Shari Harrell, president of the Community Foundation. “And we will use all of the lessons learned from this collaborative work as we continue exploring the best ways to support our nonprofit partners during this extended crisis.”

Staff and board members of the three organizations expressed their gratitude for the partnership of grantees in making this common application work over the past nine months. The Community Foundation, Wean Foundation and The Youngstown Foundation intend to continue working closely to combat COVID-19’s negative impacts on our community.

“This in no way diminishes local philanthropy’s prioritization of addressing the growing and devastating impact of this pandemic on our community,” added Jan Strasfeld, executive director of The Youngstown Foundation. “We are just as committed as ever to meet the needs head on.”

 

(September 9, 2020 – Warren, Ohio) COVID-19 and race equity topped the agenda at the Wean Foundation’s 3rd quarter Board of Directors meeting on September 1st. “As the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism persist, an ongoing, equitable response from the Wean Foundation is required,” said Jennifer Roller, Wean Foundation president. “With board support, we are refining our 3-phase ‘Respond. Stabilize. Redesign.’ strategy to partner with residents and organizations to ensure equitable access to resources, knowledge and opportunity in this time of crisis – and beyond.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first began impacting the Mahoning Valley, the Wean Foundation has devoted its resources to existing grantees and organizations serving residents most impacted by the crisis. Together with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley and the Youngstown Foundation, the Wean Foundation formed the Mahoning Valley COVID-19 Crisis Relief Application, which was expanded in June to include stabilization efforts. Using a single, shared application process, grantseekers can apply for support from all three foundations at once. To date, 82 grants totaling $1,122,910 have been dispersed to community-based organizations. The Wean Foundation dispersed $305,300 through 28 grants.

“As the Wean Foundation now shifts to stabilize organizations long term, the realization of our vision of empowered residents creating an equitable Mahoning Valley requires fresh thinking, honest conversations and innovative strategies,” Roller said. “We need to do more than advocate for change. We have to rethink the dynamics of decision making in the Valley. We have to ask each other who has the power to determine access to resources, knowledge and opportunity – and why.”

A recent report published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy notes that organizations led by people of color win less grant money and are trusted less than their white-led counterparts to make decisions about how to spend those funds. To bridge this gap, the Wean Foundation is making strategic investments in Black and other people of color-led organizations, as well as organizations committed to the uplift of communities of color. This includes the Wean Foundation’s 3rd quarter Community Investment grantees Inspiring Minds Warren and the Youngstown State University Center for Nonprofit Leadership.

Inspiring Minds Warren is an important Black-led anchor institution in the Valley providing academic support, personal connection and enrichment activities to Warren City School District students. The organization builds bridges between school, home and community that are even more critical for children and youth in the shifting realities of the pandemic. The Youngstown State University Center for Nonprofit Leadership provides professional development and high-quality academics for students. More recently, the Center has emphasized outreach and recruitment of students and organizations of color with the potential of raising the next generation of leaders to take on the challenges of entrenched systems of advantage.

“To address systemic racism over the long term,” Roller said, “the Wean Foundation is redoubling our community-building efforts to ensure the Mahoning Valley can emerge from this crisis as a stronger, more equitable community.”

(June 17, 2020 – Warren, OH) From the start of the COVID-19 crisis, Mahoning Valley funders and civic organizations worked together to share information, leverage their support and ease the burden on organizations working to serve the community and respond quickly to the most pressing requests during the pandemic. One such request was access to food for Valley families.

In response, lists from multiple sources were transformed into The Mahoning Valley Food Pantry Map. The effort, made possible by a two-month collaboration between the Raymond John Wean Foundation, Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley (CFMV) and Eastgate Regional Council of Governments (Eastgate), gives families critical information on the hours of operation, location and resources available at the sites across the region.

“We are proud to have assisted the Wean Foundation and the Community Foundation in this endeavor; by working together, we were able to develop a site that will better serve our communities in need, now as we persevere through the pandemic and in the future,” said Jim Kinnick, executive director at Eastgate.

Using Eastgate’s technical savvy and GIS mapping tools, and insight from Wean and CFMV, the three groups worked closely with food pantry providers to learn more about individual operations and coordinated efforts between providers.

A regional, cross-sector discourse focused on the Mahoning Valley’s economic health began in early 2019; a cohort from the larger group, including CFMV, Eastgate and Wean, later joined Communities of Excellence (CoE), a national learning collaborative. CoE’s framework provides a proven, systematic approach to aligning and strengthening the effectiveness of community and

resident efforts. The collaborative culture, data-driven focus and coordinated organizational strengths experienced through the CoE participation set the stage for the creation of the Mahoning Valley Food Pantry Map.

“By leveraging our strengths, together, we were able to rapidly respond to one of the area’s most fundamental needs during crisis, while also developing a tool that will provide valuable information to the community for years to come,” said Jennifer Roller, president of The Raymond John Wean Foundation.

Access to the online resource can be found on the Wean Foundation, Eastgate and CFMV websites.

(June 17, 2020 – Youngstown/Warren, OH) – Three Valley foundations expanded their collaborative grantmaking to include stabilization efforts and support for organizations working toward the region’s reemergence from the current health crisis.

Together, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, the Raymond John Wean Foundation and the Youngstown Foundation released an updated application Monday morning. The common form, renamed the COVID-19 Crisis Relief and Stabilization Application, is still available on all three foundation websites.

Focused almost solely on crisis relief efforts over the past few months, the three foundations collectively invested more than $877,000 in the Mahoning Valley through 64 grants since mid-March. Foundation leaders noted that emergency response requests, while still crucial, have recently declined. Meanwhile, they recognized a need for greater investment in the Valley’s resurgence efforts, hoping this new phase of funding will help sustain local nonprofits while ensuring the community begins rebuilding.

As before, the application link allows charitable organizations to submit the same proposal to any one of the foundations or all three at the same time. In addition, the Community Foundation’s three affiliated foundations—Trumbull Memorial Health Foundation, Western Reserve Health Foundation and William Swanston Charitable Fund—are also actively participating in the collaborative review and grantmaking process.

Applicants should ensure their total request amount reflects their organization’s entire need as funded proposals may receive a combination of funding from one or more of the foundations. More details about each funder’s specific priority areas around crisis relief and stabilization grants can be found on their individual websites: www.cfmv.org; www.rjweanfdn.org; www.youngstownfoundation.org

Staff and board members of the three organizations have witnessed a tremendous community response to COVID-19’s negative impacts and thank all those who continue working on the front lines and investing in the well-being of their Valley neighbors. The continuation of this coordinated approach to funding is intended to increase support for local organizations carrying out that front-line work and assist the Mahoning Valley in moving forward.

(Youngstown/Warren, OH) – Together, three Valley foundations created the COVID-19 Crisis Relief Application to simplify the grant request process for nonprofits addressing impacts of the current health crisis.

The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, the Raymond John Wean Foundation and the Youngstown Foundation released the application Friday morning. The common form can be accessed on all three foundation websites and allows charitable organizations to submit the same proposal to any one of the foundations or all three at the same time. Foundations will then review applications collaboratively, so applicants should ensure their total request amount reflects their organization’s entire need. Funded proposals may receive a combination of funding from one or more of the foundations.

This joint application follows a pledge by all three foundations and other local funders last week to work together and leverage funding made in response to the novel coronavirus. The three foundation leaders regularly met before the COVID-19 outbreak, but all three believe expanded collaboration is now imperative in order to strengthen the regional response to COVID-19 and better support local nonprofit organizations.

“Years of sharing information and building a familiarity with one another’s giving has provided the strong foundation needed to execute this coordinated effort. My hope is that beyond the crisis, and we will get beyond it, we use this model and begin to look toward this as a promising practice for future collective grantmaking,” said Jennifer Roller, president of the Wean Foundation.

In addition to a coordinated application, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley launched the Mahoning Valley Community Response Fund. With commitments from CFMV’s three affiliated foundations, several component funds and outside donors, the Response Fund has already made several grants to address immediate needs. Those wanting to support this emergency fund can contribute online at www.cfmv.org/response-fund.

The Youngstown Foundation is also seeking donations for their Crisis Assistance Fund and Support Fund program, the latter of which adds 10% to any donation made to the program’s participating nonprofits. More information on both opportunities can be found at https://www.youngstownfoundation.org/give/donate-now.aspx.

The foundation leaders and staff extend their sincere gratitude to the local nonprofit community for their efforts to respond rapidly and efficiently to those who are being most deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This coordinated funding approach is intended to strengthen support for those front-line organizations and the Valley residents they serve.

(Youngstown/Warren, OH) – Together, three Valley foundations created the COVID-19 Crisis Relief Application to simplify the grant request process for nonprofits addressing impacts of the current health crisis.

The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, the Raymond John Wean Foundation and the Youngstown Foundation released the application Friday morning. The common form can be accessed on all three foundation websites and allows charitable organizations to submit the same proposal to any one of the foundations or all three at the same time. Foundations will then review applications collaboratively, so applicants should ensure their total request amount reflects their organization’s entire need. Funded proposals may receive a combination of funding from one or more of the foundations.

This joint application follows a pledge by all three foundations and other local funders last week to work together and leverage funding made in response to the novel coronavirus. The three foundation leaders regularly met before the COVID-19 outbreak, but all three believe expanded collaboration is now imperative in order to strengthen the regional response to COVID-19 and better support local nonprofit organizations.

In addition to a coordinated application, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley launched the Mahoning Valley Community Response Fund. With commitments from CFMV’s three affiliated foundations, several component funds and outside donors, the Response Fund has already made several grants to address immediate needs. Those wanting to support this emergency fund can contribute online at www.cfmv.org/response-fund.

The Youngstown Foundation is also seeking donations for their Crisis Assistance Fund and Support Fund program, the latter of which adds 10% to any donation made to the program’s participating nonprofits. More information on both opportunities can be found at https://www.youngstownfoundation.org/give/donate-now.aspx.

The foundation leaders and staff extend their sincere gratitude to the local nonprofit community for their efforts to respond rapidly and efficiently to those who are being most deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This coordinated funding approach is intended to strengthen support for those front-line organizations and the Valley residents they serve.

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