For the Regional Economy
The Generation Foundation works
collaboratively to help revitalize the Northeast Ohio economy
and improve the quality of life for all of its four million
citizens. It has made over $1.8 million in grants to early-stage
nonprofit economic development organizations in life sciences,
emerging technologies, innovative and advanced manufacturing,
technology transfer, environmental remediation, and
sustainability in the use of energy and water resources. Usually
these are start-up organizations that would find it difficult to
get other funding. The Foundation has worked with 50 other
donors so that grants to organizations for which it was an
initial funder have been leveraged by an additional $44 million
in follow-on funding in addition to capital investments.
Peter K. Ranney Elected New Generation Foundation President
of the Generation Foundation have elected the organization's
founder, Peter K. Ranney, as President, succeeding Glenn R.
"Pete Ranney is the ideal leader for us as we enter into a whole
new era of grant making made possible by a multi-million-dollar
challenge grant," said Trustee Heather B. Moore, owner of
Heather B. Moore Jewelry.
"Pete conceptualized the foundation's collaborative structure in
which its $1.8 million in grants has been leveraged by over $44
million in follow-on grants by other funders," added Founding
Trustee Nancy McCann, also President of the John P. Murphy and
Kulas Foundations. "He also arranged the first $1 million to get
us started in 1997.
A native Clevelander, he attended University
School and Case Institute of Technology, studying electrical engineering.
He worked at and invested in a Cleveland transformer
manufacturer until the company merged into Scott and Fetzer and
later into Berkshire Hathaway. He then took a managerial
position with a large New York import/export firm based in
Tokyo. He became familiar with Japanese and Chinese securities
and has invested in those markets for over 50 years. Success
coming from these markets greatly benefitted many nonprofit
organizations in Cleveland as a result of his philanthropic
Returning to Cleveland in the early 1970s, he
began his 40-year work in charitable foundations, leading to a
partnership with Herbert E. Strawbridge to form the Generation
"Our objective is to bring a new, more effective and efficient
approach to philanthropy," Ranney said.
In appreciation of Dr. Brown's service, Advisory Board member
Allen H. Ford said that everyone associated with The Generation
Foundation is profoundly grateful for his leadership. Brown
succeeded the organization's first President, Herbert E.
Strawbridge, in 2100 and served 12 years in that capacity.
prominent Cleveland philanthropist has proposed a series of
major gifts to The Generation Foundation that would match
dollar-for-dollar all sizeable new contributions up to a total
of $10 million.
is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow the Foundation into
a $20 million organization that will make a major impact in
funding regional nonprofits that focus on sustainable economic
development,” said President Glenn R. Brown.
its inception in 1997, initiated by a $1 million grant from the
Cleveland Foundation funded by the P. K. Ranney Donor Advised
Fund, The Generation Foundation has made more than $1.7 million
in grants. Sixteen other funders have joined in supporting the
Foundation’s 87 grants. Grants from other public and private
sources to organizations for which the Generation Foundation was
an initial donor have exceeded $44 million.
donor’s motive is to stimulate collaboration among the region’s
foundations, corporations and concerned citizens who recognize
that sustainable economic development, conservation of resources
and the development of alternative sources of energy is key to
continuing our region’s economic recovery,” said William R. Seelbach, a Foundation Trustee and executive at The Riverside
Company. “This will create new jobs replacing those lost in the
manufacturing sector and raise the overall quality of life.”
2001 at a City Club conference, we proposed that the Cleveland
philanthropic community should pool its resources and
collaborate in grant making to technology-based initiatives with
the ability to work catalytically in economic development,” said
Founding Trustee Peter K. Ranney.
As this idea caught on, one consortium of funders, the Fund for
Our Economic Future
has awarded more than $62 million in grants since
2004 to accelerate business growth in the region.
“What makes The Generation
Foundation unique, besides the huge leverage it has achieved, is
our Advisory Board – 22 community leaders representing the
corporate, academic, political and scientific sectors,” said
Board member Steven W. Percy, retired CEO of BP America. “This
group helps identify worthy grantees and evaluates their
proposals so that Trustees have in-depth critiques before
deciding on grant proposals.”
Groups chosen for funding by the
Foundation are typically entrepreneurial nonprofit start-ups
that have actionable ideas in some area of sustainability. Many
of these groups are almost invisible to the larger funding
community or may have not yet applied for any foundation
“The Generation Foundation makes
a lot of what you might call seed-capital grants, much like an
early-stage investor capitalist might do,” said Founding Trustee
Nancy McCann, President of the John P. Murphy and Kulas
Foundations. “The grantee might use our funds to prepare a
business plan or launch a demonstration project which would give
it both more credibility and a chance for other funding by major
All Board members, including Heather B. Moore,
Owner of Heather Moore Jewery; Thomas M. Morley, President of
Lube Stop; and Tim Ryan, Trustee of the Fred A. Lennon
Charitable Trust; together with donor-volunteer Jeanette
Grasselli Brown and Executive Director Robert Miller are
beginning conversations with individuals and foundations who
support the Foundation’s mission and might like to immediately
double a grant or gift, or join in a leadership role.
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