(March 10, 2020, Warren, Ohio) – The Raymond John Wean Foundation awarded a grant at its March board of directors meeting to Policy Matters Ohio in support of the organization’s work protecting Mahoning Valley residents from exploitive financial products and practices.

The second of two Community Investment Grants totaling $63,000 went to the National Inventors Hall of Fame’s (NIHF) Invention Project. Both support resident empowerment, collaboration and equitable solutions to enhance the quality of life for the Valley’s residents.

Policy Matters Ohio has nearly 20 years of experience building relationships to create economic mobility for low-income and working families in Ohio. Its Ohio CASH Coalition project will leverage the organization’s expertise in job quality, wages, transit, childcare and higher education access by engaging local partners to advance Ohio’s state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and to protect consumers from dishonest financial practices, such as predatory land contracts and payday lending.

“Policy Matters is an ally of our community and its partners. Their CASH Coalition’s work will protect residents from harmful financial practices, as well as move our community forward towards a more equitable Mahoning Valley,” said Corrie Adams, Wean Foundation Program Officer.

The Foundation will support NIHF’s Invention Project, for two cohorts, totaling 50 students in the Warren City School District, as well as provide classroom teachers with relevant professional development. NIHF addresses opportunity gaps in STEM-related careers, invention and entrepreneurship by providing high-energy, hands-on, experiential learning activities to students in the summer.

Implementation of Invention Project in Warren City School District will target historically marginalized students to participate in the program, with cohorts being mostly composed of students of color and young women. The program will introduce students to entrepreneurship, business innovation – from product prototyping to launch – as well as expose them to economics and to solving real-world challenges.

The Wean Foundation’s five-year Strategic Direction, now in its second year of implementation, includes a combination of grantmaking, capacity building and convening and partnerships; executed by staff dedicated to community partnerships that create a vibrant Mahoning Valley. As of February 24, 2020, Danielle Dillon joins the Foundation team, serving as its Program Associate, Data Management.

A 2012-15 member of the Foundation’s Neighborhood SUCCESS Grants Program Resident Council, Dillon most recently worked as the assistant project manager for Sandy Hook Promise Northeast, an organization dedicated to preventing gun violence through smart programs and policy solutions.

Danielle has a bachelor’s degree in English from The Ohio State University and a Master’s in Public Health Policy and Management from Kent State.