The Raymond John Wean Foundation has awarded $837,500 in grants to eight organizations in the Mahoning Valley, including $712,500 to three groups under the foundation’s Big Bets initiative.
The foundation also awarded $125,000 to five other organizations.
The goal of Big Bets is to engage residents as leaders, build the capacity of community organizations and foster collective efforts and impact, foundation officials said.
The three Big Bets recip-ients are the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.
Their projects include developing model blocks for neighborhood improvement, addressing vacant property issues and providing fresh produce through urban agriculture, said Jeffrey M. Glebocki, foundation president.
The three organizations, with the foundation’s prior support, have recorded significant achievements in community revitalization, economic opportunity and public and civic sector leadership, and are poised to build upon them, Glebocki said.
“The level of our grant support for this core grant-making strategy remains a remarkable demonstration of how small foundations can create significant change in communities,” he said.
“The foundation’s theory is that if residents are empowered to work on high-priority issues, and organizations are given financial and technical support to increase their effectiveness, pursue best practices and build networks based on a common agenda, then an adaptive, healthy, vibrant and economically stable Mahoning Valley is likely to follow,” Glebocki said.
MVOC, which connects grass-roots organizing with impact on policy, systems and community change, was awarded $300,000 over nine months for general operating support.
YNDC, which works to rebuild market confidence in Youngstown’s neighborhoods and strengthen community development and revitalization, received $262,500 over nine months for strategic neighborhood transformation.
TNP, which works to empower residents through programming and projects that improve the quality of life in Warren’s neighborhoods, will receive $150,000 over nine months for general operating support.