Member Spotlight: The Erie Community Foundation

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Erie Community Foundation joined GWP last year and we invited President Mike Batchelor to answer a few questions so members can get to know what they are doing in northwestern Pennsylvania. Members interested in learning more about The Erie Community Foundation’s activities are encouraged to contact Mike.

What do other funders need to know about The Erie Community Foundation?

The Erie Community Foundation (ECF) is a fast growing community foundation that has transitioned from a reactive grantmaker to one that is now “swinging for the fences” by encouraging transformational ideas designed to reshape our economy, to meet local needs at scale, and to influence key indicators as listed on our Erie Vital Signs website. 

We also recently released a five-year $30 million framework for this work to:

  1. Double our traditional “Helping Today” grants budget to $1,000,000 annually.  This is sustainable thanks to new endowments.                      
  2. Make $15 million in transformational grants to strong champions with ability to bring significant matching dollars to projects that can alter our economic trajectory
  3. Make $10 million of Mission Related Investments

What project or organization are you funding that is most exciting to you right now?

We’ve had recent success with a $4 million grant to create a downtown Innovation District focused on secure smart cities, along with a cyber technology incubator.  Negotiations  continue on another $4 million grant to establish a community college.  We’ve also had success creating a School Based Health Center and a significant nonprofit capacity building organization, The Nonprofit Partnership.  Our first Mission Related Investment, $2.5 million to the Erie Downtown Development Corporation, also holds great promise for downtown revitalization.

Currently, we are analyzing nearly 30 new “transformational ideas” that have been submitted via a white paper review process.  Those judged most promising will be asked to submit formal applications.

What funding areas would you like to form some partnerships around?

The Erie Community Foundation uses an entrepreneurial civic leadership and transformational grantmaking approach.  We are interested in partnering with any funder with an interest in developing solutions, at scale, to local needs.      

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