Wean Foundation President Discusses Building Relationships Through Grantmaking

October 20, 2022 (Warren, Ohio) – Jennifer Roller, president of The Raymond John Wean Foundation, joined David Holmes from Candid following his “Proposal Writing for Nonprofits” workshop at The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County to answer questions from a foundation’s point of view.

Roller sat down with Holmes for an hour-long question and answer session, first responding to his questions before opening it up to those in attendance. The two had a friendly conversation, sharing laughs while Roller discussed her background, how she got into the “foundation world,” what excites her about working at the Wean Foundation and what the Foundation looks to do in its grantmaking.

The session took on a theme of building relationships, which ironically, is how the Q&A came together. Roller and Holmes met years ago at a networking event. They kept in touch over the years cultivating a solid relationship built off the mutual respect for each other’s work.

Over the last year, the Foundation has shifted its grantmaking efforts to focus more on multi-year general operating grants, giving them the opportunity to foster and build relationships with grantees. “We learned what works with partners is establishing a level of trust,” continued Roller. “Too much emphasis is placed on results that many times cannot be accomplished in one year. The learning is also important.”

When asked how one can get involved with the Foundation, Roller explained the WeanFolio is the preferred place to start. Although it is a requirement for the grantmaking application process, the WeanFolio is not an ask or an application for a grant. It is a way for the Foundation to get to know an organization and to see if there is an opportunity for not only funding, but to establish a relationship with the Foundation.

Those interested in potential partnerships, opportunities or other types of engagement with the Foundation are invited to submit a WeanFolio at weanfoundation.org/apply-for-grants/#weanfolio.


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: Jennifer Roller, president of the Wean Foundation, discusses grantmaking from a Foundation’s point of view with David Holmes of Candid at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. Following Holmes’ workshop on proposal writing, Roller sat down for a question-and-answer session with Holmes and attendees.