Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland Foundation Join as Sponsors of The Paradox Prize

by | Sep 10, 2019

CLEVELAND–September 10, 2019–Cuyahoga County and the Cleveland Foundation have joined the Fund for Our Economic Future, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Greater Cleveland Partnership, The Lozick Family Foundation, and DriveOhio as sponsors of The Paradox Prize, an open call for ideas to improve connections of people to jobs.

The County’s Board of Control has approved a $100,000 investment in the public challenge, while the Cleveland Foundation has made a $50,000 grant. These resources will go to support up to $1 million of awards for up to 15 pilot projects to test ways to eradicate the “no car, no job; no job, no car” paradox.

The growing distance between people and jobs directly impacts the ability for residents to find and keep a family-sustaining job and for businesses to attract and retain employees. At the same time, there is an explosion of mobility innovations transforming the transportation sector across the country that Northeast Ohio can tap into.

The goal of The Paradox Prize, which launched in June, is to source and test a range of mobility solutions that can help residents constrained by their geography better access jobs, improve the ability for area businesses to fill thousands of open positions, and elevate the conversation around the transportation challenges in our region.

“We recognize that one of the biggest barriers to having good jobs is lack of transportation,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “Because this is such a long-standing issue, we know that innovative approaches are needed to eliminate these barriers. We want to make sure we can truly connect residents to careers with paths to family-sustaining wages.”

“The Paradox Prize is a way to invest in mobility solutions to better connect workers to jobs, and the Cleveland Foundation is proud to partner with a number of organizations in Greater Cleveland,” said Nelson Beckford, program director of neighborhood revitalization and engagement for the Cleveland Foundation. “We hope the results of this initiative help residents overcome some of the transportation barriers that exist in our region.”

Applications are being reviewed through a series of deadlines by an Advisory and Selection Committee comprised of 27 leaders in the transportation, workforce, government, nonprofit, and business sectors. Funding will be awarded in rounds until exhausted. Today marks the opening of Round 3, with the next deadline for submissions at 11:59 p.m. on November 4.

So far, more than 75 applications have been submitted in two rounds with businesses, nonprofits, public transit agencies, for-profit mobility providers, individual residents, students, and workforce development organizations putting forth a range of ideas. First-round winners were announced in August, and Round 2 winners will be announced later this month.

“We’re thrilled The Paradox Prize has been so well received,” said Fund Vice President Bethia Burke. “This is validation of the need for increased mobility options in our community and we look forward to seeing what ideas are surfaced next.”

Please go to for more details and to submit your idea today!

About The Paradox Prize

The mission of The Paradox Prize is to incentivize and inspire breakthroughs that transform lives and Northeast Ohio’s economy. Supported by the Fund for Our Economic Future, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Greater Cleveland Partnership, The Lozick Family Foundation, Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland Foundation, and DriveOhio, The Paradox Prize will award up to $1 million over three years to support mobility pilots that can improve connections of people to jobs. Anyone with a good idea can apply. Applications will be reviewed through a series of deadlines; the third round is open until November 4.

For those experiencing a transportation challenge or those with an idea not yet ready for implementation, Fund for Our Economic Future staff will host regular office hours around the region to connect individuals with potential partners and solutions and to discuss and shape proposals. A full schedule and application form can be found at

About the Fund for Our Economic Future

The Fund for Our Economic Future is an alliance of funders from across Northeast Ohio working toward a more extraordinary economy with good jobs and rising incomes for everyone through improved job creation, job preparation and job access. Learn more about our work or how to join us in our quest at

Media Contact

Sara McCarthy

Director of Communications

Fund for Our Economic Future

216.456.9806 (office)

330.770.8842 (mobile)