Fund for Our Economic Future elects Marcus Madison, Deryck Toles as new board members

by | Mar 23, 2023

New leaders represent regional reach of the Fund and bring diverse perspectives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 23, 2023

CLEVELAND—The Fund for Our Economic Future (the Fund) today announced the election of two new board members, Marcus Madison of Lorain County and Deryck Toles of Trumbull County, during its annual meeting on March 16.

In 2019, the Fund undertook a significant reorganization of its board structure to better advance its vision of more equitable economic growth throughout Northeast Ohio. Prior to this, the Fund’s board consisted of one authorized voting representative from each of its funding members. The 2019 expansion of the board was a direct response to the Fund’s call to the region for greater attention to systemic racial inclusion put forth its 2018 report, The Two Tomorrows, and resulted in a civic path to membership aiming to increase racial diversity of the Fund’s board, enrich its expertise and enable it to more effectively advance its mission, which upholds economic growth and equitable access to opportunity as coequal imperatives.

All board members have the same voting rights (one member, one vote) and leadership opportunities. Funding members contribute a minimum of $100,000 of unrestricted funding over three years, while civic members contribute a range of skills, backgrounds and experiences that help to inform the Fund’s current and future initiatives but are under no financial obligation.  Today, the Fund’s board includes 27 funding members and eight civic members.

“Our first slate of civic members brought invaluable leadership and perspective to our board, materially improving how we work to advance an equitable economy. I am thrilled to welcome Marcus and Deryck to our civic network. Both are deeply connected to their respective local communities and see the value of connection and influence across the region,” said Fund President Bethia Burke.

“The mission of The Fund is essential to the future viability of our region. I’m happy to serve and honored to be a part of the work,” Toles said.

“Marcus and Deryck are a welcome addition to our board, and they were in good company among the nominees our board members and staff put forth,” said William H. Gary, Sr., Chair of the Fund for Our Economic Future and Senior Advisor of National Workforce Issues at Cuyahoga Community College. “As we continue to advance a portfolio designed to reduce systemic racial exclusion in our region’s economy, the sustained momentum behind our own efforts to make space for leaders of color is vitally important.”

“I look forward to contributing to the work of the Fund for Our Economic Future and advocating for community solutions to build better neighborhoods and drive economic growth and development in our region,” Madison said.

In addition to the civic member elections, the Fund elected several members of its executive committee for 2023, including:

  • Fund President Bethia Burke
  • Secretary Christine Mayer, President of the GAR Foundation
  • Treasurer and Finance Chair Denise Griggs of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation
  • At-Large Member Teresa LeGrair of the Akron Urban League
  • Communications, Member Engagement & Development Chair Tara Walker-Pollock of The Raymond John Wean Foundation
  • Nominating & Personnel Chair Vikki Broer of the Weathertop Foundation
  • Evaluation Chair Eric Clark of the Bruening Foundation

More information about Fund membership and the slate of current members can be found at thefundneo.org/about/members.

During its March 16 meeting, held at MAGNET’s Manufacturing Innovation, Technology and Job Center in Cleveland, the Fund’s board also approved a grant of $150,000 to Team NEO. These funds will support continued efforts to advance priority job hubs, a key framework for regional economic development and business attraction designed to reverse the effects of no-growth sprawl and prepare sites for growth in places with existing infrastructure, accessible and diverse talent, and other key assets. This is the second grant supporting job access efforts by the Fund in 2023. Earlier this year, members approved an award of $125,000 to the Center for Neighborhood Technology to expand the Equity Sustainability and Growth to the Power of Place tool (wherematters.teamneo.org) to metropolitan areas across the United States.

“Last year, we became the only region in the country to enable businesses and developers to see the invisible, but critical, factors like transportation, sustainability and access to diverse talent embedded in where they locate,” Burke said. “Our Fund’s latest investment will further position Northeast Ohio as a national leader and allow us to quantify and market where we’re most competitive.”

About the New Board Members

Marcus Madison is a community-driven leader with over 20 years of experience working in nonprofits, philanthropy, and public healthcare. Currently, Madison serves as the Community Relations Program Manager for the Cleveland Clinic. He previously worked with the Community West Foundation as a Program Officer. Marcus has extensive volunteer and leadership experience, having served as an elected Elyria City Councilperson for a decade. He is a graduate of Lorain County Community College, where he served as the Student Senate President and contributed to the strategic planning process for the college. Marcus was nationally recognized in 2020 by the Young Elected Officials Network as a “35 Under 35” Leader. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Studies and Nonprofit Administration from Cleveland State University. He is also a Master of Science in Positive Organization Development & Change candidate from Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management.

Deryck Toles is a longtime leader from Warren. A passionate advocate for youth development, he founded the nonprofit organization Inspiring Minds nearly 18 years ago to provide after school and summer programming to K-12 students and continues to lead the organization today as its CEO. Over time, the organization has expanded to serve thousands of children in chapters across the country and has evolved to provide programming focused on 5 IMpact Areas: Education, College & Career Readiness, Exposure to New Experiences, Personal Development and Health & Wellness. Deryck has participated in collective advocacy efforts to address issues of racial equity in the neighborhood where his organization is headquartered. Toles holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Penn State University.

About the Fund for Our Economic Future

The Fund for Our Economic Future is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization taking on big issues to advance a more equitable economy in Northeast Ohio. This civic collaborative brings together leaders across sectors and throughout the region to collectively invest in, test and amplify strategies to enable the region to achieve its full potential. Learn more at thefundneo.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Reanna Karousis – rkarousis@thefundneo.org

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