Gauging Understanding

by | May 8, 2014

In March 2014, the Fund for Our Economic Future issued a baseline survey through the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research in Akron, to gauge civic leaders’ perception and understanding of the relationship between growth and opportunity. “Growth” was defined as job, income and output growth, and “opportunity” as the prospects for all individuals, regardless of location, economic status, race, or other status, to secure a job and advance based on their own effort and ability.


The purpose of the exercise was to help our Fund benchmark efforts to increase awareness, engagement and activity through our G&O Initiative over the next few years. In total, 476 individuals completed the survey, representing the nonprofit, private business, media, education, and government sectors in four metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), including Akron, Canton-Massillon, Cleveland-Mentor-Elyria, and Youngstown-Warren. We plan to send a follow-up survey in late 2015 to check our Fund’s progress on building awareness around this important effort.

Survey results revealed the following:

  • An opportunity exists for awareness-building in Northeast Ohio. Nearly half (48%) of respondents had NOT heard of the G&O Initiative. This will be one of the major benchmarks we work to minimize over the next one to two years.
  • A link between economic growth and equitable access to opportunity is perceived, but the “how” is unclear. By and large, respondents believe that inequality and poverty significantly affect long-term economic growth. But nearly half (48%) believe high-skill jobs inevitably lead to increased opportunity, which may or may not be the case.
  • Whether in a “growth” or “opportunity” camp, there is a strong desire for future engagement. While a majority of respondents felt they resided in either a “growth” or “opportunity” camp (see further explanation below), a majority (82%) expressed interest in participating in a G&O Initiative that promotes a stronger connection between the two. What’s more, a majority felt either “somewhat” or “very” confident that a measurable impact could be made from G&O efforts. 

For an executive summary of the findings, click here. You can also access the full report.