Wean Foundation awards $300K for pay initiative

The board of directors of the Raymond John Wean Foundation has approved $300,000 to support the equitable compensation of talent for seven nonprofits previously awarded $1.5 million in Community Investment Grants.

Equitable nonprofit compensation has become an increasing focus of the Wean Foundation over the past few years.

“We have come to the conclusion that a critical element of nonprofit success that is often missing is fair pay,”Jennifer Roller, Wean Foundation president, said. “What we also know is the burden of low pay in the nonprofit sector falls disproportionately on women and minorities. We don’t just want nonprofits and their workers to survive; we want them to thrive.”

Grants supporting educational opportunity include:

Kent State University at Trumbull, to build up its Building Black Leaders program, which provides black, biracial and multiracial students with personal, professional and academic support. The two-year grant will enable a study-away experience for students, emergency funding and the ability to hire a student to support the program.

Youngstown City School District, Rayen Early College High School, for programming support of its Summer Bridge program for one year. The Summer Bridge program supports incoming freshmen in their academic readiness and social-emotional well-being as they transition to high school.

Grants supporting community revitalization include:

Boston Avenue Neighborhood Association (BANA), which is focused on creating safe and beautiful spaces in the Youngstown South Side neighborhood, for general operating support over two years, including support for a fellow dedicated to building capacity in marketing, fundraising and outreach.

Economic Action Group, which provides economic development and entrepreneurial assistance programming within Youngstown and Warren, for general operating support over two years.

Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, which works to empower residents and promote sustainable community development in Warren, for general operating support, local organizing and the Strategic Partners fellowship over one year.

Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., which focuses on improving the quality of life in Youngstown, for general operating support, organizing and the Strategic Partners fellowship over one year.

Grants supporting public and civic sector leadership include:

Philanthropy Ohio, a statewide membership community of philanthropic organizations, to support advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and furthering its membership within the philanthropic sector of the Mahoning Valley over one year.

“These organizations believe in our community and that we can collaborate to work toward solutions,” Fallon Peterson, senior director of programs and operations at the Wean Foundation, said. “Each exhibits a commitment to bringing lasting change at the systems level to ensure a more equitable, vibrant Mahoning Valley. We are honored to partner with them.”

The Wean Foundation’s Community Investment Grants seek to fund the development and implementation of viable solutions that address long-held assumptions, redistribute decision-making power and challenge the lack of equitable access to resources, knowledge and opportunity.

“Our Building Black Leaders Program aims to empower and enrich black college students to become leaders in the classroom, community and in the lives of others,” Tiffany Tyree, assistant director of the program at Kent State University at Trumbull said. “The grant and support from the Wean Foundation will enable us to push forward with the program mission and carry out what is needed to assist our black students in defining and achieving their own ideas of academic, personal and professional success.”

The Wean Foundation is on course to distribute more than $3 million in grants in 2023, including more than $80,000 of Resident Engagement Grants to support community-building in Warren and Youngstown neighborhoods.


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