$100,000 donated to aid Ohio’s economic growth

Jackie Valley

The Kent State University Foundation’s $100,000 pledge over three years to the Fund for Our Economic Future aims to promote economic growth in Northeast Ohio.

President Lester Lefton said the donation is an opportunity to help improve the region’s economy, which translates to improving the quality of life for students at Kent State.

“Our participation is part of being a partner in ensuring the economic viability and doing public good,” he said.

According to its Web site, the Fund for Our Economic Future is a three-year-old philanthropy collaboration among Northeast Ohio’s private and public sectors that strives to improve the region’s economy through grantmaking, research and civic engagement. So far, the fund has raised $27.3 million for its second, three-year phase of work. The first fundraising phase raised $25.4 million.

Lefton said the state of the region’s economy directly impacts the university. For example, he said enrollment decreased at Youngstown State University when the Mahoning Valley area lost jobs.

As a result of Kent State’s participation in the fund, Lefton said the university receives a vote in determining how the money is spent.

In addition, Lefton said Kent State can submit proposals to the fund for consideration; however, Kent State cannot vote on its own proposals.

Lefton said Kent State recently submitted a proposal to the fund to support a training program for minority small businesses. The status of that proposal is not yet known.

Kent State joins the University of Akron and Lorain County Community College in contributing money to the fund.

To facilitate the donation, Lefton said he asked the University Foundation for support.

Lefton said the University Foundation is a private, charitable entity whose mission is to help Kent State by investing the money from all donations to the university, and consequently giving the investment income back to the university.

Ron Kirksey, executive director of university communications, said the University Foundation heavily targets initiatives that affect students, such as providing money for scholarships, faculty chair positions and technology.

According to the University Foundation’s Web site, the foundation became incorporated in 1965, and its Board of Directors helps manage the assets in accordance with donor wishes.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].