(June 1, 2018, Warren, Ohio) – The Raymond John Wean Foundation announced this week that
Program Associate Nan Wilkoff was selected for the Next Gen Fellowship with Exponent Philanthropy, the country’s largest association of funders.

Exponent Philanthropy, whose stated mission is to create “a better world through informed,
passionate philanthropy,” created the Next Gen Fellows Program to develop the next generation
of foundation leadership. Crafted with a focus on peer networking and in-depth learning, Next
Gen is a six-month program that includes mentorship from experienced practitioners and field
leaders, a focus on best practices and emerging trends, and a personalized learning agenda for
each participant.

Wilkoff, who plays a significant role in supporting the Foundation’s grants administration and
Neighborhood SUCCESS Grant Program (Neighborhood SUCCESS), noted her interest in the
Fellowship as a way to further develop in the key concepts of grantmaking and to deepen her
leadership skills to advance the goals of Neighborhood SUCCESS.

Neighborhood SUCCESS, supports grassroots groups to enhance Youngstown and Warren’s
neighborhoods building on the financial, human and material resources in the community through
collaboration, communication and leadership. Among Wilkoff’s program responsibilities are grant
review, community leadership engagement and research to support grant decisions.
Wilkoff, a three-year employee of the Wean Foundation, received her Bachelor of Arts degree at
Rajamangala University in Thailand. She noted in her application that she was proud of having
“fallen into philanthropy,” enjoying a career in a field where information, resources and people
collaborate to better a community.

“The most enjoyable experience in philanthropy is to learn that there are groups of people who
are willing to help one another without expecting something in return either through the
improvement of the community, or the satisfaction of having contributed to a greater good,”
Wilkoff stated.

(June 15, 2018, Warren, Ohio) – At its June Board of Directors meeting, The Raymond John Wean
Foundation awarded Community Investment Grants totaling $643,500 to organizations whose work
aligns with its strategic priorities and includes integrated, equitable solutions enhancing the quality
of life in the Mahoning Valley.

Representing a sound and thoughtful approach to addressing the Foundation’s strategic priority of
Educational Opportunity: School, college and career readiness for Warren and Youngstown City
School District students, grants were awarded to:

Eastern Ohio Education Partnership (EOEP) – Fostering collaboration to align proven practices that
maximize educational outcomes, cradle to career.

Inspiring Minds (IM) – Engaging, inspiring and empowering youth to reach their full potential
through education and exposure to life-changing experiences.

Mahoning Valley College Access Program (MVCAP) – Increasing the number of Mahoning Valley
high school students attending college or post-secondary education.

Turning Foundation – Bringing classroom dreams to life, helping educators discover and secure
funding through grant opportunities and creating a learning environment that promotes student
success and connects to the well-being of the community.

Aligned with the Foundation’s strategic priority of Economic Opportunity: Increased economic
mobility for residents, funding was awarded to the Youngstown Business Incubator,
Women in Entrepreneurship Program (WE)
– promoting the growth and creation of women and minority-owned
enterprises as a channel for creating personal and community wealth.

Other grants awarded include:

Interfaith Home Maintenance Services, Inc.
Emergency Home Repairs

Kent State University Foundation, Inc.
The Road Not Taken; STEM Career Exploration for Young Women

Philanthropy Ohio
General Operating Support

Youngstown State University
Summer Bridge 2018

(March 8, 2018, Warren, Ohio) – At its March Board of Directors meeting, The Raymond John Wean Foundation
awarded grants totaling $178,000. The work represented by the five grantees represents the Foundation’s strategic
priorities of community revitalization, access to educational opportunities and the creation of economic opportunity
in the Mahoning Valley.Grants from the Foundation’s responsive portfolio were made to:

Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) for its Senior Financial Empowerment Initiative, which
provides services and evidence-based programming to increase the financial stability of Ohio’s aging population. The
initiative provides financial assessment, financial education and homeowner mortgage counseling to strengthen
senior citizens’ ability to age in place with financial security.

We Are Warren, an initiative that seeks to bolster existing youth programming and better utilize community
resources to ensure that Warren’s youth live safe, healthy, productive lives. Funding will go to Inspiring Minds for
Warren City School students’ participation in its six-week summer enrichment program and the implementation of a
workforce development program focused on young adults who have graduated high school and are enrolled in
college or pursuing a career.

Eastern Ohio Education Partnership (EOEP) will receive funding for continued
professional development for youth services program providers and educators.

International Partners in Mission for its Pilot Immersion Experience Program (IEP) that will send 20 students from
Warren and Youngstown City School Districts and Youngstown State University to El Salvador. Building on 14 years
of experience, this opportunity seeks to give students the opportunity to travel beyond their immediate geographic
area for immersive, transformational learning experiences focused on social justice initiatives.

Invent Now, a collaboration of Invention Project and the Ohio Youth Entrepreneurship Program (OYEP) provides
STEM and entrepreneurial skills programming for 50 middle school students in Warren and Youngstown City School Districts. Participants are challenged to create new and innovative designs as well as consider the business and marketing aspects of product development.

Youngstown CityScape for Sidewalk Squad, an expansion of Beautification 2018: Beyond Streetscape, which builds on the organization’s 20 years of beautification in downtown Youngstown. Sidewalk Squad will be an ambassador program designed to offer employment opportunities for young people as visible, on-the-street squad members who will provide general information and maintain the cleanliness and visual appeal of the city center.

(Feb. 8, 2018, Warren, Ohio) – The Raymond John Wean Foundation awarded $105,736 to 27 resident-led organizations seeking to transform their neighborhoods and communities. The funds were awarded as part of Neighborhood SUCCESS, a program of the Foundation which supports grassroots organizations seeking to develop resident participation and leadership, promote communication and collaboration among residents and build on existing resources in their communities. Neighborhood SUCCESS provides annual grants of $500 to $5,000 to projects aligned with the Foundation’s strategic priorities of community revitalization, economic opportunity, educational opportunity and public service leadership.


“The 2018 Neighborhood SUCCESS grantees are leveraging existing resources and engaging residents to implement innovative solutions for their neighborhoods,” said Corrie Adams, program officer for the Foundation.


Organizations seeking grants participate in a process that includes an orientation, technical assistance workshops and interviews.  Funding decisions are made by a council composed of residents from Warren and Youngstown. Those seeking grants must match the amount they are seeking with volunteer labor, cash and in-kind donations.


Among the 2018 grantees are the Junior Organizers, a group of Warren G. Harding students, working to create meaningful opportunities to support other youth in Warren through mentoring and enrichment.


In Youngstown, West Princeton Block Club is working to transform a vacant lot into a Peace Corner for neighbors to gather, recreate and meditate.


Since 2008 Neighborhood SUCCESS has awarded $1.6 million to more than 485 projects in the Mahoning Valley.


2018 Neighborhood SUCCESS Grant Awards 

Name Project Title
A Bridge from Coal to Diamond Girls ABC Diamond Girls
Boulevard Park Block Watch Beautiful Boulevard Park Neighborhood
Brownlee Woods Neighborhood Association Lynn Park Playground Improvements
Citizens Uniting Citizens, Inc. Family Ties
Crandall Park South Neighborhood Association Neighborhood Safety and Tree Planting
Dave Grohl Alley Committee Dave Grohl Alley – ReFRESH
Downtown Youngstown Partnership Downtown Youngstown Street Tree Replacement
Earth Angel Farm Earth Angel Farm Earth Tub and Recycle Room
Friends of the Mahoning River 7th Annual RiverFest
Historic Perkins Homestead Neighborhood Assoc. Perkins Rose Garden Revitalization Project
Junior Organizers Operation Outlet
Know Your Neighbor Block Watch VOICES
Martin Luther Lutheran Church Hope For Newport Community Garden
Mount Hope Veterans Memorial Park, Inc. Mount Hope Cemetery – Maintenance and Beautification
Northeast Homeowners and Concerned Citizens Association Verona Avenue Neighborhood – Improvement and Beautification
Quilts from the Heart Quilts from the Heart
Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association Mahoning Ave. Corridor Connections
St. Patrick’s Church of Youngstown South Side Orchard
Stop One Place Help is Available, Inc. General Assistance to Families
T.N.R. of Warren, Inc. A Purrfect Solution for Neighborhoods and Community Cats
The Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past Sojourn to the Past
The Upton Association 4th Grade Ohio History Tour
Trumbull County Historical Society Look Here: Warren’s Past in the Present
Upper North Heights Neighborhood Association UNA Beautification Project
Urban Farm Cooperative Urban Farm Cooperative Beginning Farmer Initiative – Annual/Perennial Project
West Princeton Avenue Block Watch Club Peace Corner
YSUscape Community Painting Day

(December 7, 2017, Warren, Ohio) – At its December board meeting, The Raymond John Wean Foundation awarded grants totaling $2.12 million to four grantees for ongoing work in Mahoning Valley neighborhoods. The work represented by the grantees directly aligns with the Foundation’s strategic priorities of community revitalization, economic opportunity and educational opportunity.

Awards to strategic partners, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership (TNP), will support the organizations’ critical role in community revitalization and their work to collectively build community capacity. Both organizations have been recognized locally and statewide for their efforts, effectively leveraging relationships with neighborhood groups, local governments and national community development partners for significant local impact.

“From partnering on issues important to residents to lifting the resident voice in various capacities, our strategic partnership with YNDC and TNP has shifted siloed work into a collaborative effort in support of community revitalization in the Valley,” said Jennifer Roller, president of the Wean Foundation.

Other grants from the Foundation’s responsive portfolio include:

Policy Matters Ohio for its Making Ohio Policy Work for Mahoning Valley Families work which, in conjunction with Eastern Ohio Education Partnership, will conduct research in education policy and advocate for high-quality, accessible childcare for Valley families.  Additionally, YNDC and TNP will work together with Policy Matters on research and policy assistance focused on organizing and predatory land contracts.

Youngstown State University, Beeghly College of Education to establish the Ohio Youth Entrepreneurship Program’s Tech-E initiative.  Tech-E seeks to serve as a connector of K-12 educators to entrepreneurship and STEM-related resources, training and support.

(Warren, November 14, 2017) – Through a competitive, statewide application process, the Rockwood Leadership Institute and the Ohio Transformation Fund have selected the 2017 Leadership Now: Ohio Fellows cohort, which includes three area social change leaders – Sarah Braun, network action team manager, Eastern Ohio Education Partnership; Hannah Ferguson, independent contractor; and Deaudra Edgerson, family advocate with Headstart and vice president of Emerging Leaders Alumni Association, The Raymond John Wean Foundation.


Leadership Now: Ohio was developed through a partnership between the Ohio Transformation Fund and the Rockwood Leadership Institute with funding support from local and national foundations including The Raymond John Wean Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The eight-month fellowship provides 24 Ohioans, from multiple sectors, with skills designed to build civic capacity and drive a vision of systematic change in Ohio. Programming includes workshops focused on effective communication, relationship management, network mapping and individual coaching equipping participants to build community networks to drive statewide strategy.


The first of three multi-day retreats, held in October, has already demonstrated the program’s transformative nature. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to not only learn about, and eventually master, leadership best practices, but also to be guided through critical introspection,” said Braun. “I also have the privilege of growing alongside other leaders working toward equity and social transformation throughout Ohio, which will foster new collaborations and cross-sector partnerships in service of the common good.”


Braun is a licensed social worker with a master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and a bachelor of art’s degree in Community Health and Sociology from Brown University. In her position at Eastern Ohio Education Partnership, she works for cross-sector collective impact across the Mahoning Valley for education and career readiness. She is an adjunct professor in the Social Work Department at Youngstown State University.


Ferguson, the vice president of Silence Prevents Education and Knowledge (S.P.E.A.K.) and the co-founder of The Colony, Youngstown, said she is looking forward to the positive statewide impact this collaboration will bring.


“I honestly didn’t know what to expect regarding the program, but I am truly honored to be a part of this experience,” said Ferguson. “From my initial interview, I knew this was going to be intense. This wasn’t just going to be the typical leadership “conference.” I am excited to see myself, as well as the other fellows, grow and develop our leadership skills throughout this year.”


Ferguson received her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and her master’s in Business Administration from Keller Graduate School in Orlando, Florida. The co-founder of The Colony, Youngstown, she is also a recent graduate of the WE Launch program at the Youngstown Business Incubator, furthering her pursuit of opening an urban winery in Youngstown


Edgerson, who believes that “nothing will change if we don’t change it,” has worked with several organizations in Trumbull and Mahoning Counties as an advocate for low-income families. In addition to her degree in Applied Science from Youngstown State University (YSU), she has served in a range of leadership roles including president of Bridges Out of Poverty Student Union at YSU and assistant director of Trumbull County Take Flight.

(October 3, 2017, Warren, Ohio) –  Since 2008 Neighborhood SUCCESS, a program of The Raymond John Wean Foundation has funded just north of $1.5 million towards the development and implementation of more than 450 grassroots projects.  The resulting improvements in the quality of life can be seen in neighborhoods across Warren and Youngstown where the projects must be located.

Central to the Foundation’s work is the belief that resident engagement is essential to authentic and lasting change.  The Neighborhood SUCCESS grants program empowers resident-driven projects within the Foundation’s strategic priorities of community revitalization, economic opportunity, educational opportunity and public sector leadership.

Grants of $500 to $5,000 are awarded to support grassroots groups for the most promising projects designed to:

  • Expand meaningful resident engagement and leadership
  • Encourage communication and collaboration among residents and organizations
  • Build on the financial, human and material resources that exist in the community

A maximum of 30 projects are funded each year. All new and returning grantseekers must attend one of the seven orientations held in various locations in Warren and Youngstown. The sessions, held October through December, provide grantseekers with application and submission guidelines, fiscal management protocols and networking opportunities with peers.

In addition to a new online application for 2017, the Foundation welcomed six new members to its Resident Council.  Representing the diverse cultures of Warren and Youngstown, the Council reviews grant applications based on program-established criteria and makes final recommendations for funding. The current members are Nick Chretien, Deborah Cunningham, Greg Davner, DeAudra Edgerson, Neil Heller, Kim Kitchen, Karen Schubert, Sarah Smith and Joan Sullivan.

For orientation details, visit www.rjweanfdn.org

(Sept. 7, 2017, Warren, Ohio) – The Raymond John Wean Foundation, at its September Board of Directors meeting, awarded Community Investment grants totaling $345,000 to four grantees whose work is representative of the Foundation’s strategic priorities.

Grants from the Foundation’s responsive portfolio were made to:

Fresh Coast Communities for its Youngstown Green Infrastructure Community Education Program. Fresh Coast Communities is a nonprofit invested in redeveloping vacant and underutilized urban land to support neighborhood revitalization. Partnering with Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation and The Colony, the program will create a community education task force comprised of neighborhood leaders, trained in Green Infrastructure principles. The task force will, through public meetings, inform and educate residents, empowering them to exercise their voice in future infrastructure plans.

Mahoning Valley Manufacturers’ Foundation for Manufacturing Readiness 2.0, a two-year program that uses targeted recruitment and screening, job readiness training, technical training, supportive services, job placement and post-employment coaching for adults interested in entering the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing Readiness 2.0, with an emphasis on place-based hiring, expands the work of the initial Manufacturing Readiness program that has been in place since 2013.

REVITALIZE Home Mortgage in support of its REVITALIZE Home Mortgage Loan Fund. This investment will leverage other community resources in a regional effort to provide a two-county lending model for first-time homebuyers who are unable to access conventional banking products. Loans will be focused on homes identified and rehabilitated by Warren’s Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and Youngstown’s YNDC in support of neighborhood revitalization efforts across the Mahoning Valley.

The City Club of Cleveland to support the growth and sustainability of the City Club of the Mahoning Valley. The City Club of the Mahoning Valley’s mission is to “inform, connect, and motivate citizens to take action on issues relevant to our region and beyond.” Building on three 2016 pilot events in the Valley, all highly regarded and well-attended, operational support will develop 2017 programming and marketing strategies as well as establish a membership base.

(Warren, August 31, 2017) – After a competitive application process, the Emerging Leaders Selection Committee has chosen 15 engaged residents from Warren and Youngstown for the 2017 Emerging Leaders program at The Raymond John Wean Foundation.


This group of grassroots leaders will take part in a nine-week series of comprehensive workshops designed to cultivate fundamental leadership skills, as well as connect individuals to key community peers and stakeholders.


“The Emerging Leaders program exemplifies the Foundation’s belief that meaningful resident engagement is essential for authentic, lasting change to occur,” said Corrie Adams, Program Officer. “Emerging Leaders, by activating their gifts and passions create a community of learning, inquiry and practice and push the needle toward a more equitable, vibrant and healthy Mahoning Valley.”


This year’s cohort includes individuals representing a wide range of organizations, including Taft Promise Neighborhood, Congressman Tim Ryan’s office, The Colony, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, and YouthBuild Trumbull County to name a few. Coming together from across the Mahoning Valley, these passionate individuals share a common goal of building their capacity for realized change.


When asked what motivated his participation in Emerging Leaders, Christopher Tennant of Youngstown

shared, “My goal is to give back to the community that made me who I am.  That requires me to develop and enhance my leadership potential and I’m excited to do so through this program.”


Tia Toles, one of this year’s participants and a current student at Kent State University, recognizes the value of learning new approaches to her leadership. “I believe this program will provide me with valuable knowledge to be an effective leader in my community,” Toles said. “Being exposed to people who have been successful in their own efforts and gleaning from their experience will help me to be successful as well.”


After a two-day retreat focused on self-awareness and team building, participants engage in immersion sessions and workshops facilitated by expert practitioners covering topics such as communication and negotiation, influence, collaborative leadership, Asset-Based Community Development, resource planning and resilience.


Since 2013, the Emerging Leaders program has developed the unique potential of nearly 50 resident leaders effecting change and influencing leadership in their communities. Past participants continue to gain and share their experience through an alumni association; additional training; civic engagement and volunteerism; public leadership appointments; job promotions; and entrepreneurial endeavors.


The Raymond John Wean Foundation is proud to announce the 2017 Emerging Leaders:


Daniel Bancroft, Youngstown

Cassandra Clevenger, Warren

Michelle Comanescu, Warren

Ira Cross, Youngstown

Mitchell Franko, Youngstown

Teresa Johnson, Youngstown

Keland Logan, Youngstown

Justin Mondok, Youngstown

Grimilda Ocasio-Santiago, Youngstown

Vincent Peterson, Warren

Rose Pixley, Youngstown

Lester Scott, Youngstown

Christopher Tennant, Youngstown

Tia Toles, Warren

Danyell York, Youngstown

(June 8, 2017, Warren, Ohio) – The Raymond John Wean Foundation awarded grants totaling $193,000 at its June Board of Directors meeting. Each project represented in this quarter’s funding demonstrates the Foundation’s mission of leveraging a powerful combination of support, alignment and partnerships with other organizations to advance community-building in the Mahoning Valley.

Grants from the Foundation’s responsive portfolio are:

In support of We Are Warren, an initiative that seeks to bolster existing programming and better utilize community resources to ensure that Warren’s youth live safe, healthy, productive lives, Inspiring Minds and the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership were awarded funding.  Inspiring Minds for Warren City School student’s participation in its six-week summer enrichment program in addition to the 2017-18 academic year component and Eastern Ohio Education Partnership for continued professional development for youth services program providers and educators.

The Ohio Transformation Fund (OTF) for its work to address the impact of mass criminalization and incarceration in Ohio’s communities. Matching funding from the Ford Foundation, the Wean Foundation, along with its Ohio partners, support on-the-ground work in community organizing, policy advocacy and civic engagement programs.  The partners of the collaboration understand that maximizing connections and aligning funder dollars is a model stronger than funders responding individually.

“Funding from OTF has allowed our advocacy power to grow exponentially.  In partnership with other OTF grantees, we’ve engaged in powerful intra-state connections, leveraged lobbying efforts and gained increased recognition and voice in the statehouse,” said Stephen JohnsonGrove, senior attorney, Ohio Justice and Policy Center. “This high-level access is vital to directly impacting communities through street-level, power-building organizations and people. This is an electrifying experience for OJPC and all our partners.”

In further partnership with the OTF, the Joyce Foundation and other Ohio funders, the Rockwood Leadership Institute, will roll out an Ohio-based fellowship. The Leadership Now: Ohio project will focus on building the capacity of social change leaders. Twenty-four Ohioans from multiple sectors, including several from the Valley, will convene and collaborate at three multi-day retreats infused with Ohio-specific workshops, network mapping and individual leadership coaching sessions to equip these leaders for Ohio’s critical role in local and national issues.