Wean invested $1.25 million in YNDC efforts

Staff report


The Raymond John Wean Foundation is one of 10 recipients of the Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships presented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in partnership with the Council on Foundations.

The award recognizes the foundation for its innovative housing and community-development partnership with Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone and the director of the Youngstown Community Development Agency that resulted in the formation of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. in 2009.

The organization, which serves as the vehicle for implementing neighborhood stabilization projects, manages all housing and neighborhood stabilization programming supported by the city and coordinates with the city’s Planning, Community Development, Code Enforcement and Demolition departments.

The Wean Foundation established its partnership with Youngstown to maximize the lasting impact of public and private dollars toward curbing citywide neighborhood decline and to implement the Youngstown 2010 comprehensive plan, said Jennifer Roller, interim president of the Wean Foundation.

Youngstown lost 18 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010 and 60 percent since 1930, leaving behind neighborhoods riddled with blight and economic hardship.

The partnership developed out of a realization by both parties that the city’s overwhelming population and economic distress could not be addressed without a strategic and long-term commitment, Roller said.

Since 2009, the Wean Foundation has invested $1.25 million into the operations and programming of YNDC. During this same period, YNDC implemented more than $5 million in redevelopment projects in transitional neighborhoods within Youngstown, and was the catalyst for an additional $5 million in public and private investment, Roller said.

“The partnership between the Wean Foundation and Youngstown was made possible because both entities committed resources to ensure genuine resident engagement,” Roller said. “It thrives because YNDC continues to be a remarkable driving force in community revitalization efforts in the city of Youngstown.”

In its first three years, YNDC achieved one of the most comprehensive and successful ongoing neighborhood stabilization efforts in the city’s history. It repurposed 220 vacant lots and rehabilitated 20 vacant and blighted homes, selling them to stable low- to moderate-income homeowners, Roller added.

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