Philanthropic collaboration expands EfficientGovNow; also awards grant extensions to NorTech and Team NEO
CLEVELAND–Dec. 8, 2009–The Fund for Our Economic Future today voted to sponsor a second round of the local government collaboration competition, EfficientGovNow, in which Northeast Ohio’s residents vote to determine which collaborations will share as much as $330,000 in grants.
The EfficientGovNow program is designed to promote greater government collaboration and efficiency among the region’s approximately 700 local governments, which spend more than $17 billion a year. Formed in 2004, the Fund is a philanthropic collaboration of organizations and individuals that uses grantmaking, research and civic engagement to strengthen the 16-county region’s economic competitiveness. The Funders Committee is made up of representatives of 69 entities that have each contributed at least $100,000 to the Fund. The committee met at Cleveland State University.
“The first round of EfficientGovNow held last summer succeeded in both encouraging more local government officials to collaborate with their peers and engaging residents to advocate for more efficient government,” said Fund Chairman David Abbott, who is also executive director of The George Gund Foundation. More than 13,000 residents voted in the first round of EfficientGovNow in July 2009. “Both the public and elected officials encouraged the Fund to conduct the competition again,” Abbott said.
Governments will be able to download the proposal form on January 6, 2010, and the public will vote in May to determine the grant recipients. For more information on the program, visit www.efficientgovnow.org.
One change from the first round of program is that the Fund will award as many as four grants, rather than three grants. As was the case in the first round, residents will vote for the three best collaborations from a pool of finalists, and grants will be awarded to the top three vote getters. Additionally, the Fund has reserved the option to award a fourth grant to a collaboration involving smaller communities.
Raphael Omerza, co-chair of the Fund committee that recommended the second round of EfficientGovNow and a member of the board of The Lake-Geauga Fund of the Cleveland Foundation, said the change was made in response to feedback the Fund received from the first round of the competition.
“Communities like the ones in which I live and represent in less populated areas of Northeast Ohio need to know that as long as they have a solid project that satisfies all criteria and they successfully engage and mobilize residents, then they will have a real prospect of receiving Fund support for their collaboration,” Omerza said.
Abbott said that the Fund realizes that the grant dollars alone will not transform the way local governments operate in Northeast Ohio. “By creating a competition where the public ultimately decides the outcome, EfficientGovNow can play an important role in encouraging an environment where the public demands and officials deliver more efficient, collaborative local government,” he said.
The three collaboration projects that won the first round of EfficientGovNow awards are not eligible to compete in the second round of the competition.
Additional grants Fund members also approved two grant extensions of $500,000 each to NorTech and Team NEO. NorTech supports development of the region’s technology-based economy and Team NEO attracts growing companies to the region. The grants are for operating support for both organizations while the Fund transitions into its third phase.
The third, three-year phase of the Fund begins on March 1, 2010, and the Fund expects to award its first round of grants to its major grantees in June 2010. The majority of the Fund’s grantmaking dollars goes to support six regional economic development organizations.
ABOUT THE FUND FOR OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE
The Fund for Our Economic Future is a collaboration of more than 100 foundations, organizations and philanthropists from across Northeast Ohio that strengthens the region’s economic competitiveness through grantmaking, civic engagement and research.