Wean Foundation wins national honor

WARREN – The Raymond John Wean Foundation has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.

The award, offered in partnership with the Council of Foundations, honors 10 philanthropic funders across the nation for their public-philanthropic collaborations designed to address housing and community development challenges.

The awards were announced Wednesday during the council’s Fall Conference for Community Foundations in San Diego.

“As a winner of the Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships, we are honored to be among such esteemed company,” said Jennifer Roller, interim president of The Wean Foundation. … This partnership was made possible because both The Raymond John Wean Foundation and the City of Youngstown boldly committed resources to ensure genuine resident engagement. It thrives because the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) continues to be a remarkable driving force in community revitalization efforts in the City of Youngstown.”

HUD and the Council on Foundations developed the award to recognize philanthropic organizations for enhancing the quality of life for low-income and moderate-income families. The projects addressed housing and neighborhood improvements, education, health and recreation, transportation, arts and culture, public safety, sustainability and economic development.

In 2009, the Wean Foundation established a partnership with Youngstown to maximize the effect of public and private money toward curbing city-wide neighborhood decline and to implement the Youngstown 2010 comprehensive plan. The city had lost 18 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010 and 60 percent since 1930, leaving behind neighborhoods riddled with blight and economic hardship.

The Wean Foundation worked with the mayor and director of the City of Youngstown Community Development Agency to establish a community development corporation to serve as the vehicle for implementing neighborhood stabilization projects.

Launched in 2009, YNDC manages all housing and neighborhood stabilization programming supported by the Youngstown and coordinates with the city’s Planning, Community Development, Code Enforcement and Demolition departments to maximize impact.

Since 2009, the Wean Foundation has invested $1.25 million into the operations and programming of YNDC. During this same period, YNDC has used more than $5 million in redevelopment projects in transitional neighborhoods within the city and spurred an additional $5 million in public and private investment.

“I would like to congratulate the Wean Foundation and YNDC on receiving this distinguished award from HUD. I look forward to continuing our partnership as we attempt to revitalize neighborhoods within the City of Youngstown”, said Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone.