Challenging the conditions that hold problems in place
The Wean Foundation is dedicated to community building that promotes a racially equitable future where one’s race identity has no influence on how one fairs in society.
Established in 1949, we leverage a dynamic combination of grantmaking, capacity building, and convening and partnerships in the underresourced communities of Warren and Youngstown, Ohio. We place race equity and inclusion at the heart of our work to focus attention and resources on the region’s most entrenched challenges. Together with residents, organizations and civic leaders we seek to create authentic change and address long-held assumptions, redistribute decision-making power, and challenge the systemic lack of equitable access to resources, knowledge and opportunity.
To advance community building in the underresourced communities of Warren and Youngstown, in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, through a powerful combination of grantmaking, capacity building, convening and partnerships.
Empowered residents creating a healthy, vibrant, equitable and economically stable Mahoning Valley.
Race Equity & Inclusion Focus
We are committed to creating a racially equitable future where a person’s race identity has no influence on how they fair in society. We seek to create an inclusive environment where each person can show up as their full self, feel welcomed, respected and valued to participate fully.
Our work has shown us it is not possible to solve entrenched challenges with entrenched beliefs. Fresh thinking, honest conversations and resident-led approaches are required to dismantle systems of advantage that concentrate decision-making and resources in the hands of the advantaged and place access to knowledge, opportunity and power out of reach for the others.
We believe that racial inequality is the conversation and that it is no longer acceptable as “the norm” in the Mahoning Valley. As we partner with those most affected by systemic racism, we leverage our role and resources to identify and remove barriers to progress for all who call the Mahoning Valley home. As a community, we must face the fact that losses in human capital, innovation, opportunity and dignity due to systemic racism are not only morally indefensible, but they are additionally costing all of us a better future.
Racial Equity Strategic Direction:
2019 – 2023
Launched in 2019, the Foundation instituted a five-year strategic plan including purpose statements, activities and measurements for success within the four pillars of its work; each intentionally designed through a lens of race equity and inclusion.
In 2020, facing the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and persistent racism, the Foundation deepened its commitment to uplift communities of color by further adding intentional Racial Equity Outcomes.
Fund viable solutions led by organizations whose leadership reflects the race demographics of the community within which they work.
Convening and Partnerships
Define challenges, formulate solutions and take collective action with Black and Hispanic/Latinx-led organizations who have a stake in the decisions being made.
Support sustainable Black and Hispanic/Latinx-led organizations (e.g. strong leadership, strategy and impact).
Create and sustain a culture that challenges racism.
A key principle guides all our work: The deliberate and intentional engagement of residents is essential for authentic, lasting change to occur.
We support viable solutions that are well-aligned with our mission, values and racial equity outcomes through four mutually reinforcing priorities:
Resourced and sustained physical landscape in Warren and Youngstown neighborhoods
School, college and career readiness for Warren and Youngstown City School District students
Increased economic mobility for residents in Warren and Youngstown neighborhoods
Public & Civic Sector Leadership
Efficient and effective local government infrastructure
We would like to acknowledge that The Raymond John Wean Foundation operates and recreates on the traditional Erie and Kaskaskia lands.
From humble beginnings to the progressive, private foundation we are today, The Raymond John Wean Foundation continues the legacy of its founder as we work to fulfill the Foundation’s vision of “empowered residents creating a healthy, vibrant, equitable and economically stable Mahoning Valley.”
In 1949, enterprising industrialist Raymond John Wean established the Foundation in Warren, Ohio, to serve the communities that contributed to his success in the flat-rolled steel industry. Three generations of the Wean family have worked toward that cause, with Gordon B. Wean currently serving as Chair of the Board of Directors.
Since our founding, the Foundation has consistently innovated new initiatives to refine its strategic grantmaking to support authentic change. In 2006, the Foundation enlisted PolicyLink, a national research and action institute, to help develop a long-term strategy. This work gave the Foundation a fresh perspective and outlined a new strategy to remain a catalyst for positive change as a place-based grantmaker with a focus on residents living in the underresourced communities of Warren and Youngstown. This work also transformed the Foundation’s governance from a traditional family-managed board to that of a private foundation with the majority of its directors being community leaders.
To support community building, we partner with empowered residents and organizations to achieve our vision and support lasting, equitable change for all who call the Mahoning Valley home.
The Wean Team
We’ve brought together a dedicated team to promote and support community-building in the Mahoning Valley.
Carries out the vision, sets the direction and connects all aspects of the Foundation’s work.
Senior Director of Programs and Operations
Supports thought partnership in planning and leading the Foundation’s grantmaking, capacity building and operations.
Supports the operation of the facility, programs and office administration.
Associate, Operations & Facilities
Oversees the activities of the building to ensure the facility functions at peak performance.
Interested in joining our team? See open positions.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors serves as the governing body and is composed of nine members deeply committed to racially equitable, resident-led community building.
Vincent Peterson Sr.
Wean Foundation Financial Statement
The Raymond John Wean Foundation is committed to managing its financial resources efficiently and effectively. A 990-PF form is completed annually and is available to view and download.
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Funding the development and implementation of viable solutions led by organizations whose leadership reflects the racial demographics of the communities in which they work.
Supporting the strong leadership, strategy and impact of Black and Hispanic/Latinx-led organizations.
Convening and Partnerships
Defining challenges, formulating solutions and taking collective action, with Black and Hispanic/Latinx-led organizations who have a stake in the decisions being made.