Wean Foundation Holds Quarterly Meeting at Wean Park to Announce Grants

June 16, 2022 (Warren, Ohio) – The Raymond John Wean Foundation Board of Directors recently enjoyed the landscape of Wean Park while conducting their quarterly business on the stage of the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre. The presentations and resulting discussions centered around the Foundation’s racial equity outcomes which include funding viable solutions led by organizations whose leadership represents the race demographics of the communities they serve and supporting the sustainability of Black & Hispanic/Latinx organizations.

Guest speaker Bethia Burke, president of the Fund for Our Economic Future, shared insights from their “Where are the Workers” analysis during the meeting. “We are in a choice market where people are now able to make these choices about leaving their jobs,” stated Burke. “We think this information we have collected can help foster better relationships between leadership and staff.”

“Where are the Workers” is a collaborative, multi-part approach that includes a national scan of existing research, employer perspective and working-age adult perspective. As a grantee of the Wean Foundation, the Fund surveyed and included Mahoning and Trumbull Counties in their work on the project.

“We are grateful for the Foundation’s emphasis on capacity building which will help us to attract and

retain high quality staff. Through this grant we will be able to strategically grow and maintain better

wages for our staff,” says Mark Samuel, chief executive officer of Heart Reach Neighborhood Ministries.

The Foundation awarded multi-year general operating grants in support of capacity building totaling $240,000 to the following organizations:

Heart Reach Neighborhood Ministries, Inc. (HRNM) Runs youth and family assistance programs in Youngstown and Campbell with a mission to build relationships that create safe, supportive and empowered communities one person at a time. HRNM is a result of the 2018 Merger of Heart Reach and Neighborhood Ministries.

United Returning Citizens, Inc (URC). – Engages residents reentering society from incarceration through a wraparound approach in the primary areas of employment, housing and workforce development. Additionally, URC offers entrepreneurial programs, provides case management and addresses trauma associated with incarceration.

“This grant will allow us to continue to expand upon and deepen our services, while ensuring their sustainability for the years ahead. Day in and day out we see both the immense need and impact of the work we do in combating mass incarceration and its consequences. What we do would not be possible without the generosity and investment from the community and the Wean Foundation,” says Dionne Dowdy, executive director of United Returning Citizens.

The Wean Foundation accepts applications for Community Investment grants year-round. There is no deadline to apply. Completion of the WeanFolio through the Foundation’s website is the entry point for all grantmaking, capacity building and community building engagement.

All information in the WeanFolio is stored securely online and can easily be updated with the organization’s leadership, programs, reports or other important information. All submissions are

reviewed by Foundation staff who will respond with appropriate next-level engagement. The WeanFolio is not a grant submission, however it is a requirement to the grant application process. Those interested in potential partnerships, opportunities or other types of engagement with the Foundation are invited to submit a WeanFolio. To learn more, please visit weanfoundation.org.


About the Wean Foundation: The Raymond John Wean Foundation is dedicated to community-building in underresourced communities of Warren and Youngstown in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley. The Foundation leverages a dynamic combination of grantmaking, capacity building, convening and partnerships to provoke new thinking, strengthen communities and disrupt the status quo to achieve its vision: empowered residents creating an equitable Mahoning Valley. Visit weanfoundation.org to learn more.

Photo: The Raymond John Wean Foundation Board of Directors holding their quarterly meeting at Wean Park on the stage of the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre. (Photo by D. Bradley Photography/Donald Smith III)