SOURCE: The Cleveland Foundation

May 18, 2005 09:51 ET

The Cleveland Foundation Spearheads Effort to Develop Nonprofit-Owned Businesses That Will Support Social Missions

Earned Income Ventures Help Nonprofit Organizations Develop New Sources of Funding

CLEVELAND, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 18, 2005 -- A distance learning business, international immersion trips, and a light manufacturing venture providing transitional employment for ex-offenders are three of eight social business ventures chosen to be part of the Cleveland Community Wealth Collaborative, a project funded by The Cleveland Foundation to help Cleveland-area nonprofit organizations start businesses that can be used to provide revenue for the organization.

Nearly 30 nonprofit organizations applied to be part of the Collaborative. The finalists were chosen after an extensive screening process, including a written application, site visits and presentations. The organizations selected to participate are: Achievement Centers for Children, Alzheimer's Association Cleveland Area Chapter, Center for Families and Children, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association, International Partners in Mission, Recovery Resources and Vocational Guidance Services.

Through the Collaborative, the participating nonprofits will receive 10 months of training aimed at helping them create and grow financially viable businesses.

The Foundation is working in partnership with Community Wealth Ventures (CWV), a firm with that helps nonprofits throughout the country operate successful business ventures, to provide training for the participating organizations.

"As funding for nonprofit organizations continues to tighten, this effort can bring long-term strength to Greater Cleveland's nonprofit sector," said Ronald B. Richard, president and CEO of The Cleveland Foundation. "By helping nonprofits develop businesses that will provide a source of income, we will be arming nonprofits with the ability to weather difficult economic times and continue meeting residents' needs."

Beginning this month, Community Wealth Ventures will provide support for the organizations in creating businesses, including in-depth monthly seminars with peer nonprofit leaders and experts in the fields of social enterprise and business development, as well as customized business consulting. CWV is partnering with the entrepreneurship program at Case Western Reserve University and the Weatherhead School of Management, which will engage graduate-level students in providing research and planning assistance to participating organizations. In addition, business executives from Cleveland-area corporations will serve as mentors.

The social ventures range from a facility rental business operated by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association to an employee assistance program run by Recovery Resources.

Center for Families and Children applied for assistance in launching a new package of services for families with special needs children. The organization plans to use the assistance from CWV to develop a business plan for the venture.

A selection team comprised of Cleveland business executives and representatives from The Cleveland Foundation and Community Wealth Ventures chose the participating organizations. Criteria for acceptance included: the nonprofit has a business venture under way or has done considerable research toward developing a business venture, has strong board and staff leadership, is in solid financial condition, is willing to take calculated risks to build its financial base and the chosen business venture advances the organization's mission.

"A focused effort like this will support nonprofit social enterprise leaders who are using community wealth to diversify their revenues and better support their missions," said CWV Chairman Bill Shore. "Our goal is to ensure the ongoing viability of these organizations that are doing so much good in Cleveland."

About The Cleveland Foundation

The Cleveland Foundation is a public charity dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Greater Cleveland. It is the oldest and second-largest community foundation in the nation. Its establishment in 1914 is cited as one of 10 events that most heavily influenced the development of the nonprofit sector in the 20th century and it continues to be a leader in its field. The Foundation has assets of approximately $1.63 billion and in 2004 awarded more than $86 million in grants and low-cost loans to Cleveland area nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, it has provided more than $1 billion to nonprofit organizations and causes. For more information, visit www.clevelandfoundation.org.

About Community Wealth Ventures

Community Wealth Ventures (CWV) is a consulting firm that works to generate new resources for the social sector using business ventures and corporate partnerships. It is a subsidiary of a nonprofit anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization, Share Our Strength. Community Wealth Ventures provides consulting services for a broad range of clients in the nonprofit, corporate, and foundation communities. In addition to Cleveland, CWV is also implementing Community Wealth Collaboratives in Springfield, Boston, Baltimore and Hartford. Visit www.communitywealth.com to read more about the firm and this project.

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