The Burton D. Morgan Foundation in Hudson, Ohio, has announced a new strategic framework focused on three areas — grantmaking, ecosystem building, and knowledge sharing.
Recognizing that to maximize its impact, it needs to make more specialized, targeted, and synergistic investments, the foundation — which had taken a broad approach to boosting entrepreneurship across Northeast Ohio — developed the framework through a process that spanned much of 2018 and included a learning tour with partners across the region; surveys and interviews with more than a hundred and forty grantees, stakeholders, and colleagues; and a board-staff retreat dedicated to examining the information collected and identifying the best path forward.
Under the new framework, the foundation will continue to accept grant applications for youth and collegiate entrepreneurship programs but will shift its support for adult entrepreneurship programming to an invitation-only basis, with an initial emphasis on the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in nearby Akron. The foundation also will provide targeted funding in support of select region-wide initiatives. For the remainder of 2019, the foundation will accept applications from current grantees only.
In an effort to become a more entrepreneurial organization that better reflects the values and goals of the start-up and scale-up communities it serves, the foundation also plans to build more dynamic entrepreneurial practices into its everyday operations and will pursue more entrepreneurial ways of working with grantees, with the understanding that experimental programs must allow for pivots and multiple iterations along the way. In addition, it will streamline its application procedures to be more grantee-friendly and enable more nimble decision making.
Lastly, the foundation plans to play a greater role in knowledge sharing through its research arm, the Entrepreneurship Education Experiment, with a focus on individuals and organizations seeking to grow programs, ventures, and ecosystems.
"Morgan Foundation is excited to share with you its new vision for optimizing our philanthropic resources to catalyze entrepreneurial thinking and action," said the foundation's president and CEO, Deborah Hoover. "Through the new framework, we are redoubling our efforts to strengthen Northeast Ohio’s teeming entrepreneurial ecosystem and all the courageous entrepreneurs it serves."