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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 $2 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....

Community West Foundation
Targets Economic Development

Collaboration— that synergy-creating process that allows grant makers to scale up their support of projects they have mutually chosen—took another step forward this month in Cleveland.

Community West Foundation, based in Rocky River,  has over $100 million in assets supporting organizations providing the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and medical care to those in need. In a new partnership with The Generation Foundation, the two organizations will cooperate in a regional grant-making initiative to support economic development.

“The Community West Foundation’s partnership with the Generation Foundation will increase local innovative options to support job training, and has extraordinary potential to help our most vulnerable citizens overcome barriers and achieve employment and success in life,” said David T. Dombrowiak, Community West Foundation President and CEO.  “By working together we can strengthen our communities, create opportunities, and keep hope alive for people in need.”

Although the two foundations are separate entities, the Community West Foundation made a substantial grant to The Generation Foundation so that both organizations could reach significant scale in their economic development grant making. 

 With the help of its 21-member Advisory Board, the Foundation will continue to research, identify and fund potential grantees that are positioned to make the greatest impact on the Greater Cleveland economy.

“At a City Club meeting in 2001, The Generation Foundation proposed the idea that foundations could collaborate in a single focus area—economic development. At that time, a negligible amount of Northeast Ohio grants went to this sector,” said Peter K. Ranney, President. “Now, with powerhouse organizations like Fund for Our Economic Future aggregating funds from dozens of corporate, foundation and individual donors, millions of dollars a year  invigorate our economy and improve the quality of life of all in Greater Cleveland.”

Since its founding in 1997, The Generation Foundation has made $2 million in grants, mostly to technology-based startups. Grantees include Cleveland Clinic Innovations, NorTech, One Community, WIRE-Net, Fund for Our Economic Future and the initial research leading to the formation of BioEnterprise.

“This natural collaboration creates real synergy,” said William W. Baker, Community West Board Chair. “It allows us to expand our grant making footprint to include all of Northeast Ohio. Rebuilding the area’s economy so that it creates abundant quality new jobs is the bedrock of what we are currently doing for so many distressed families: Illuminating Hope.”

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Why Northeast Ohio Needs an Open Data Collaboration

The goal of the Northeast Ohio Open Data Collaboration is to build-out a common platform based on well-designed, best practice data architecture.

By Lev Gonick, CEO

The sheer volume of structured data available in 21st century democracies has made citizens in Cleveland and elsewhere in the region some of the most informed and empowered people in history. Now, governments and other public sector organizations and agencies serving this tech-savvy, data-hungry public are under immense pressure to deliver public information as efficiently as TripAdvisor publishes hotel and restaurant reviews.“Open data means taking data that is sitting in the vaults of government, that the tax payers have already paid for, and jujitsuing it into the public domain as machine-readable fuel for entrepreneurship and innovation,” Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer.Over the past 20 years, or so, as demand and pressure for accountability, transparency, and efficiency has grown, a new platform technology has emerged to make delivering public information doable in a common, consistent and integrated fashion. All across the world, forward-thinking governments and other public agencies and organizations have already embraced and begun to experiment with this burgeoning field. They have created real-time dashboards with government performance metrics, geo-location tools for the use of real-time maps overlaying priority data, and APIs to help developers build apps using public information, and more. The open data movement is powerful not only because of its core values and commitments to openness and transparency. Twenty-first century government and public agencies and organizations need intelligent business tools to carry out their traditional functions and to propose and build innovative solutions and policies to address the community’s highest priorities.

What is Open Data?

Open data uses advanced network infrastructure and new tools like cloud-based technology and application programming interfaces (APIs) to help government agencies and other public organizations get more information out to citizens than ever before. The core of the open data movement is ‘making data that belongs to the public broadly accessible and usable by humans and machines, free of any legal constraints, bureaucratic restrictions, or proprietary technologies.’ Why? Because the goal of open data is to take this valuable resource out of government and other public agency database silos where it sits idle, or at best underutilized, and put it into the hands of people both inside and outside of government who can unlock its value.

Why OneCommunity?

Over 800 public sector facilities and agencies are on the OneCommunity fiber optic network throughout Northeast Ohio. The build-out of one of the nation’s largest public benefit and open networks provides OneCommunity with a well earned reputation for engaging with the public sector to build new, sometimes never-before-seen offerings. A number of public leaders across the region have asked us at OneCommunity to help them with what they know is a critical building block in meeting public demand and expectation in the digital age.

The Big Idea

The goal of the Northeast Ohio Open Data Collaboration is to build-out a common platform based on well-designed, best practice data architecture. The three verticals we will focus on are health and wellness, education and workforce development, and civic and government services.

Phase One: Health and Wellness Open Data Repository

With funding from the St. Luke’s and the George Gund Foundation, Case Western Reserve University’s Urban Health Initiative has convened stakeholders interested in creating a community health data dashboard and an open data platform focused on health and the social determinants of health. That resource will be available by January 2015. Working closely with Case Western, OneCommunity has convened a broader group of stakeholders under the moniker of “Digital Cleveland,” to investigate whether the region is ready to expand that vision to serve all sectors of interest. I am pleased to report that across the board, from coders to public officials, the time is right to begin a collective project. Jointly led by experts from Case Western Reserve University and OneCommunity, the multi-sector Open Data Portal will build on similar efforts undertaken in peer communities such as Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago and Baltimore.  It will also take advantage of the unique assets of our region including:

  • Unparalleled capacity for access to and secure storage of large datasets;

  • Voluminous data from world class health care institutions;

  • National leadership in health information technology; and

  • Entrepreneurship creating innovative uses of data to improve individual and community health.

In addition to OneCommunity and Case Western Reserve University’s Urban Health initiative, key stakeholder involved to date include:

  • Case Western Reserve University
    Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods

  • Center for Community Solutions Center for Health Affairs Cleveland Department of Public Health

  • Cuyahoga County Board of Health

  • Health Improvement Partnership-Cuyahoga

  • MetroHealth Hospital System

  • Office of Cuyahoga County Executive

  • University Hospitals

The Ask

We want you to be involved. Help us champion the value of Open Data. Help us build a region-wide Open Data consensus. If you have technical chops join the growing coalition of the willing working on building out the platform. If you are a data scientist or business analyst we want to hear from you too. Email Amy Sheon, amy.sheon@case.edu, to let us know what you can contribute to the region’s Open Data effort.

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What's New On
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 The Fall 2015 
Generation Foundation Newsletter

Cleveland State University Conference on Water & Climate Change

CSU will host a conference on water and climate change in April 2016.

 Click here to learn more.

Towards Employment Targets New Jobs for Cleveland

Click here to view the Towards Employment video now.

Visit the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 interactive website

Building the economic engine to empower a green city on a blue lake

Cleveland's Climate
 Action Plan

Click here to learn more.

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