Fund for Our Economic Future Launches Tool to Support More Equitable, Strategic Site Selection for Businesses

by | Oct 31, 2023

Where Matters tool allows users to compare labor pool demographics, commute costs and emissions, and transit access across more than 380 US metro areas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — October 31, 2023

Media contact:
Reanna Karousis
rkarousis@thefundneo.org

CLEVELAND — The Fund for Our Economic Future (Fund) today announced the release of its Where Matters site analysis tool. The Where Matters tool enables businesses, economic developers, government leaders and planners to go beyond immediate site considerations to consider long-term factors including labor pool demographics, commute costs, emissions and transit access across more than 380 U.S. metro areas.

This first-of-its-kind, open-source tool can be used by public and private sectors alike to make more sustainable and equitable business location decisions to maximize economic development, regional planning and civic impact.

“Too often, ‘forever’ site development decisions are made using incomplete, ‘right-now’ data,” said Bethia Burke, president of the Fund. “Comparing two potential sites based solely on limited real estate characteristics risks ignoring critical information like diversity of a labor shed and the time, cost and carbon emissions of commuting. But until now, that information wasn’t easily available. Where Matters puts this data at the fingertips of every corporate leader, site selector and government actor figuring out where and how to apply incentives to make informed choices that work better for everyone.”

Since 2004, the Fund has been working to advance a more equitable economy for all. Where Matters is the Fund’s latest resource building on nearly a decade of work to define and drive a coordinated economic development strategy that works better for businesses, workers and residents by attracting growth closer to where individuals reside and where existing infrastructure and other assets are located. Inspired by the 2021 report released under the same name, the Where Matters tool gives users practical tools to evaluate the potential costs and benefits of previously invisible—but very real—talent and sustainability factors related to site selection.

The tool is free and easy to use. Visit wherematters.us and enter an address to launch an interactive map. Users can compare up to five sites, each with a composite score based on the number of potential workers within a 30-minute commute by car, public transit, bike and walk; the racial diversity of the available labor pool; and the climate impact and cost of commutes for the potential workforce in each location.

Users can also weight the variables based on what is most important to their business or community, and download their site report to save and share with colleagues and other stakeholders for more informed decision-making.

“More than ever, businesses are committing to make sustainable and strategic decisions that are both good for business and good for the communities in which they operate,” Burke said. “The Fund is proud to offer this open-access tool, because where businesses locate really does matter—for business success, for communities, for workers, for the environment and for our economic future.”

For more information on the Where Matters tool, including details on its scoring methodology, visit wherematters.us.

About the Fund for Our Economic Future

The Fund for Our Economic Future is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working 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. Since 2004, the Fund has developed enduring strategies to grow the everyone economy—where good jobs and rising incomes are within reach for all residents. Learn more at thefundneo.org.