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Economic development grows in Ohio

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Grant dollars for economic development have tripled in Ohio in the last decade to $24.6 million, a new study says.

Since 1995, the number of grants for economic development grew 125 percent, says the report from the Foundation Center’s regional office in Cleveland, which details Ohio grantmaking in the field of economic development.

“Spotlight on Economic Development Grantmaking in Ohio” analyses 329 economic development grants to Ohio nonprofits from 64 foundations, 34 of these local and 30 out-of-state.

According to the study, economic-development grants accounted for 7 percent of all grant dollars to Ohio recipients in 2005.

These include dollars aimed at small business development, employment training, tourism and job services focused on rural or urban populations.

Initiatives profiled in the report include $250,000 given by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation to establish an entrepreneurship center at Denison University.

Top Ohio grantmakers prioritizing economic development work included the Turner Foundation, Cleveland Foundation and George Gund Foundation.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Ford Foundation topped the list of out-of-state funders.

“Whether directly or indirectly, support for economic development also supports every other field touched by philanthropy,” Robert Jaquay, associate director of the George Gund Foundation, says in a statement.

The report also suggests that the spotlight on economic development is having real effects on the state’s economy.

In 2002, Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Ohio the worst place to be an entrepreneur. By 2006, the state had moved up to 23rd place.

The Foundation Center provides research, education, and training services to the philanthropic sector.

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