$3 Million “We Believe in Erie Fund” established for multi-generational change

April 30, 2021


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The Greater Erie Economic Development Corporation (GEEDC) and The Erie Community Foundation proudly announced the establishment of the “We Believe in Erie Fund.” Each nonprofit committed $1 million to the fund and plan to raise a third million. To date, $2.3 million has been raised. The two nonprofits are joining forces to inspire hope in the Erie community and bridge the gaps of economic and racial divides.

“By partnering with The Erie Community Foundation, we are both meeting the moment and making our ideas tangible to advance real generational change,” said GEEDC CEO Gerald Blanks. “We believe in Erie and if we are to continue being successful and making progress, we must do it together.”

Once the fund reaches the $3 million mark, the “We Believe in Erie Fund” will permanently provide $120K to $150K in education scholarships and apprenticeships each year to minority students. Students who are between the ages of 18 and 25, who want a better life trajectory and who commit to living in Erie will be eligible. “One of our goals has always been to increase create pathways to success,” said Erie Community Foundation President Mike Batchelor. “We also want to support local business efforts to strengthen and diversity their workforce. This partnership with GEEDC will help local minority students access higher education and local opportunities for good paying jobs,” Batchelor added.

“This Fund will help ensure that no one is left behind while meeting the needs of Erie’s high demand jobs of the future,” said James Grunke, President/CEO of The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership conducted a competitive workforce analysis and offered pathways to help Erie companies benefit from students who are seeking internships and apprenticeships. “The permanent endowment will provide opportunities for students to stay in Erie which impacts generations of families,” Grunke said.

To learn more about the “We Believe in Erie Fund” or to make a gift to the fund, visit www.ErieCommunityFoundation.org or call Susannah Weis Frigon, Vice President of Philanthropic Services, at 814-454-0843.

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