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Funding Sustainable Growth
For the Regional Economy

The Generation Foundation works collaboratively to help revitalize the Northeast Ohio economy and improve the quality of life for all of its four million citizens. It has made over $1.8 million in grants to early-stage nonprofit economic development organizations in life sciences, emerging technologies, innovative and advanced manufacturing, technology transfer, environmental remediation, and sustainability in the use of energy and water resources. Usually these are start-up organizations that would find it difficult to get other funding. The Foundation has worked with 50 other donors so that grants to organizations for which it was an initial funder have been leveraged by an additional $44 million in follow-on funding in addition to capital investments.

What's New....

Peter K. Ranney Elected New Generation Foundation President

Pete RanneyTrustees of the Generation Foundation have elected the organization's founder, Peter K. Ranney, as President, succeeding Glenn R. Brown, Ph.D.

"Pete Ranney is the ideal leader for us as we enter into a whole new era of grant making made possible by a multi-million-dollar challenge grant," said Trustee Heather B. Moore, owner of Heather B. Moore Jewelry.

"Pete conceptualized the foundation's collaborative structure in which its $1.8 million in grants has been leveraged by over $44 million in follow-on grants by other funders," added Founding Trustee Nancy McCann, also President of the John P. Murphy and Kulas Foundations. "He also arranged the first $1 million to get us started in 1997.

A native Clevelander, he attended University School and Case Institute of Technology, studying electrical engineering. He worked at and invested in a Cleveland transformer manufacturer until the company merged into Scott and Fetzer and later into Berkshire Hathaway. He then took a managerial position with a large New York import/export firm based in Tokyo. He became familiar with Japanese and Chinese securities and has invested in those markets for over 50 years. Success coming from these markets greatly benefitted many nonprofit organizations in Cleveland as a result of his philanthropic work.

Returning to Cleveland in the early 1970s, he began his 40-year work in charitable foundations, leading to a partnership with Herbert E. Strawbridge to form the Generation Foundation.

"Our objective is to bring a new, more effective and efficient approach to philanthropy," Ranney said.

In appreciation of Dr. Brown's service, Advisory Board member Allen H. Ford said that everyone associated with The Generation Foundation is profoundly grateful for his leadership. Brown succeeded the organization's first President, Herbert E. Strawbridge, in 2100 and served 12 years in that capacity.

 $10 Million Challenge Grant Proposed for Generation Foundation

A prominent Cleveland philanthropist has proposed a series of major gifts to The Generation Foundation that would match dollar-for-dollar all sizeable new contributions up to a total of $10 million.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow the Foundation into a $20 million organization that will make a major impact in funding regional nonprofits that focus on sustainable economic development,” said President Glenn R. Brown.

Since its inception in 1997, initiated by a $1 million grant from the Cleveland Foundation funded by the P. K. Ranney Donor Advised Fund, The Generation Foundation has made more than $1.7 million in grants. Sixteen other funders have joined in supporting the Foundation’s 87 grants. Grants from other public and private sources to organizations for which the Generation Foundation was an initial donor have exceeded $44 million.

“The donor’s motive is to stimulate collaboration among the region’s foundations, corporations and concerned citizens who recognize that sustainable economic development, conservation of resources and the development of alternative sources of energy is key to continuing our region’s economic recovery,” said William R. Seelbach, a Foundation Trustee and executive at The Riverside Company. “This will create new jobs replacing those lost in the manufacturing sector and raise the overall quality of life.”

“In 2001 at a City Club conference, we proposed that the Cleveland philanthropic community should pool its resources and collaborate in grant making to technology-based initiatives with the ability to work catalytically in economic development,” said Founding Trustee Peter K. Ranney.

As this idea caught on, one consortium of funders, the Fund for Our Economic Future has awarded more than $62 million in grants since 2004 to accelerate business growth in the region.

“What makes The Generation Foundation unique, besides the huge leverage it has achieved, is our Advisory Board – 22 community leaders representing the corporate, academic, political and scientific sectors,” said Board member Steven W. Percy, retired CEO of BP America. “This group helps identify worthy grantees and evaluates their proposals so that Trustees have in-depth critiques before deciding on grant proposals.”

Groups chosen for funding by the Foundation are typically entrepreneurial nonprofit start-ups that have actionable ideas in some area of sustainability. Many of these groups are almost invisible to the larger funding community or may have not yet applied for any foundation funding.

“The Generation Foundation makes a lot of what you might call seed-capital grants, much like an early-stage investor capitalist might do,” said Founding Trustee Nancy McCann, President of the John P. Murphy and Kulas Foundations. “The grantee might use our funds to prepare a business plan or launch a demonstration project which would give it both more credibility and a chance for other funding by major donors.”

All Board members, including Heather B. Moore, Owner of Heather Moore Jewery; Thomas M. Morley, President of Lube Stop; and Tim Ryan, Trustee of the Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust; together with donor-volunteer Jeanette Grasselli Brown and Executive Director Robert Miller are beginning conversations with individuals and foundations who support the Foundation’s mission and might like to immediately double a grant or gift, or join in a leadership role.

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Fall 2013
Generation Foundation
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