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.

Vision

Empowered residents creating a healthy, vibrant, equitable and economically stable Mahoning Valley.

Mission

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.

VALUES
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Resident Engagement

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Racial Equity

Inclusion

Social Equity

Collaboration

Community Investment

Learning

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, built 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.

Grantmaking

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.

Capacity Building

Support sustainable Black and Hispanic/Latinx-led organizations (e.g. strong leadership, strategy and impact).

Operations

Create and sustain a culture that challenges racism.

Strategic Priorities

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:

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Community Revitalization

Resourced and sustained physical landscape in Warren and Youngstown neighborhoods

Educational Opportunity

School, college and career readiness for Warren and Youngstown City School District students

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Economic Opportunity

Increased economic mobility for residents in Warren and Youngstown neighborhoods

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Public & Civic Sector Leadership

Efficient and effective local government infrastructure

Our History

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.

Our Team

We’ve brought together a dedicated team from across the philanthropy, business and community development sectors to promote and support community building in the Mahoning Valley.

Jennifer Roller

President

Carries out the vision, sets the direction and connects all aspects of the Foundation’s work.

jroller@weanfoundation.org

Fallon Peterson

Senior Director of Programs and Operations

Supports thought partnership in planning and leading the Foundation’s grantmaking and activating the facility as a civic space.

fpeterson@weanfoundation.org

Tara Walker-Pollock

Program Officer, Capacity Building

Implements the Grantmaking and Capacity Building Programs.

tpollock@weanfoundation.org

Erika Parker

Communications Officer

Shares the stories of the Foundation and its grantees with the community.

eparker@weanfoundation.org

Leandrah Hunt

Associate for Race Equity and Inclusion Data

Informs the Foundation‘s race equity and inclusion strategies.

lhunt@weanfoundation.org

John Spivey

Facilities Coordinator

Maintains the functionality, safety, maintenance and health and vitality of the facility.

jspivey@weanfoundation.org

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.

Gordon Wean

Board Chairman

Sara Daugherty

Secretary

Vincent Peterson Sr.

Board Member

Carla Baldwin

Board Member

Stanley Elkins

Board Member

Molly Seals

Vice Chair

Dante Capers

Board Member

William Mullane

Board Member

Sybil West

Board Member

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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Grantmaking

Funding the development and implementation of viable solutions led by organizations whose leadership reflects the racial demographics of the communities in which they work.

Capacity Building

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.