Fund for Our Economic Future Approves $10 Million Strategic Direction

by | Dec 18, 2018

CLEVELAND–December 18, 2018–The Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of more than 40 funders, has approved a $10 million strategy for 2019-2021 that is in direct response to The Two Tomorrows.

Released in early 2018, The Two Tomorrows builds on the collaborative’s 15 years of working on economic competitiveness issues together and codifies its perspective on the actions Northeast Ohio must prioritize if the region is to achieve economic growth and increased access to opportunity for all people,

“In The Two Tomorrows, we were candid: Northeast Ohio faces real economic challenges, but there is a path forward,” said Vice President Bethia Burke. “We must choose the path that will lead us to an extraordinary tomorrow. That requires holding growth and opportunity as co-equal propositions and putting aside our individual agendas to work together. We must redefine what we consider to be success and advance efforts that will improve not just job creation in this community, but preparation for and access to jobs.”

Local and national organizations are coming together around the 2019-2021 strategy, and are pooling their philanthropic resources to advance the following seven priorities over the next three years:

  • Advance Growth & Opportunity principles region-wide
  • Call attention to systemic racial inclusion as a standalone agenda and embed it within its own processes and strategies
  • Work with local leaders to embed Growth & Opportunity principles into local strategies
  • Support specific job creation interventions, focusing on the region’s innovation strengths
  • Support specific job preparation interventions, including sector-based partnerships to increase opportunities for residents to advance in family-sustaining careers and initiatives to reduce employment barriers
  • Support specific job access interventions that bring jobs to people through an intentional focus on building up job hubs, and that bring people to jobs through innovative worker mobility pilots
  • Build the strength of its collaborative

Thus far, nearly $6 million has been committed from local and national philanthropic organizations toward the three-year $10 million budget for this work.

“The ability to draw together so many powerful voices for the common good is why I am so committed to our work,” said Chair Mark Samolczyk, president and CEO of Stark Community Foundation. “I am further energized by our stated commitment to systemic racial inclusion. Notably, our collaborative is embracing the potential for real structural changes in 2019 so we can better live up to this commitment.”

The collaborative also announced it has expanded its staff. Janine Spadafore Kaiser will join the team in early January as its director of job preparation. A graduate of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Case Western Reserve University, Janine has considerable experience leading education and workforce development initiatives around the country, including sector partnerships. Most recently, she was based in the San Francisco Bay area where she ran her own consulting practice. Janine joins new staff members Dominic Mathew, director of mobility innovation, and Bradford Davy, director of regional engagement, who joined the Fund in the fourth quarter.

“We will begin 2019 with considerable wind in our sails,” said President Brad Whitehead, “with a new strategic direction that ensures we’re walking the talk, growing financial commitments to our work, and new staff members who round out our team of dedicated civic leaders. And there are more exciting developments to come in the New Year. Onward!”

About the Fund for Our Economic Future
The Fund for Our Economic Future is an alliance of foundations, corporations, universities, business and civic associations, and government entities that pool their resources, networks and know-how to advance economic growth and increased access to opportunity for the people of Northeast Ohio through improved job creation, job preparation and job access.

Media Contact
Sara McCarthy
Director of Communications
Fund for Our Economic Future