The Erie Community Foundation unveils a five-year, $30 million framework to transform our economy, our downtown and our neighborhoods.

October 18, 2018

At The Erie Community Foundation annual meeting in June of 2018, Foundation President Mike Batchelor and Board Chair Tim Hunter announced to the crowd of 500 plus guests that Foundation grantmaking priorities focus on transforming our economy, downtown and neighborhoods. At Nonprofit Day, Batchelor continued the narrative with the announcement of a five-year strategic plan that will infuse $30 million into transformational progress.

“The work of the Foundation is made possible by generous donors, both past and present, who establish endowments or contribute to several types of funds to address the most pressing needs of our community,” said Batchelor.   


  •  Increased partnerships and collaborations to develop new and existing businesses;
  •  A diverse economy with expanding opportunity and family-sustaining jobs;
  • An educated and well-qualified workforce;
  • Children arriving at school nourished, supported and eager to learn; 
  • Safe neighborhoods with increasing home ownership rates, populated by healthy and engaged citizens;
  •  Community members connected to Erie’s natural and cultural resources;
  •  A strong and vibrant nonprofit sector;
  • A revitalized downtown with a dense and diverse residential population, that highlights Erie as a community of choice with great opportunities to live, work and play.


  • We will work with strong champions and address issues at scale;
  • We will encourage partnerships and collaboration;
  • We will support projects consistent with community plans that leverage matching dollars;
  • We will look for initiatives that demonstrate progress and inspire others.


  • Encourage collaborations and strong partners to address issues at scale;
  • Further support the Erie Innovation District, Community College, Neighborhood Centers and the Erie Downtown Development Corporation;
  • Empower and encourage the next generation;
  • Narrow disparities and build a more inclusive community;
  • Stimulate private investment and philanthropy;
  • Share knowledge so others can succeed;
  • Protect, enhance and promote Erie’s natural beauty and human diversity;
  • Focus on systems change per Erie Vital Signs.

“Every day, we work with donors and nonprofits to advance the quality of life for all in our community,” Batchelor added. “By unveiling our strategic plan to over 400 nonprofit and community leaders, we reached a major target audience and encouraged them to partner on projects, combine talents and think creatively to hasten positive change for our community.” The Foundation will achieve the goals through the following grant programs: Helping Today, Shaping Tomorrow and Transformational Philanthropy.

The Erie Community Foundation is committing $30 million over five years through the following three-step plan:

  1. $5 million: Double our Helping Today Budget
    In support of Erie’s strong and valuable nonprofit sector, the Foundation is doubling the Helping Today grants budget from $500,000 per year to $1,000,000. The doubling of the Helping Today budget is sustainable due to the growth of the Foundation’s unrestricted endowment.
  2. $15 million: Transformational Projects
    Seek transformational projects through a white paper process and extensive dialogue between the Foundation and the community. The goal is to address issues at scale with strong partners to advance the Foundation’s vision.
  3. $10 million: Mission Related Investments
    Access a portion of The Erie Community Foundation’s endowment principal to invest in local projects with strong champions.These are investments, not grants. Examples include mortgages, other loans and equity positions that are not easily financed in the conventional marketplace. We will look for modest returns to fill gaps.

Since 1935, the mission of The Erie Community Foundation is to improve the quality of life for all in our region by evaluating and addressing community issues, building permanent charitable endowments and promoting philanthropic and community leadership. To learn more about The Erie Community Foundation or Erie Vital Signs, visit or