August 25, 2020
In January of 2020, the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, the Young Erie Professionals and The Erie Community Foundation partnered together to create the Young Erie Philanthropists, a program aimed at educating and engaging young professionals in philanthropic giving. Today, members of the program made their first annual disbursement of the Young Erie Philanthropists Endowment, a donor-advised fund of The Erie Community Foundation. The young leaders presented a $5,000 grant to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants for the New Erie Mavericks project.
"We are very thankful and excited for this opportunity to showcase our young entrepreneurs," said Bassam Dabbah, Small Business Development Coordinator of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Erie Field Office (USCRI Erie). "By investing in our youth and in turn Erie, we are adding to the vibrancy and economic growth of our community.”
The New Erie Mavericks project will pilot a special focus on young entrepreneurs in the Microenterprise Economic Development Program (MED) at the USCRI Erie field office. This is a natural outgrowth of the MED program, launched in 2016, to foster economic development through immigrant and refugee owned businesses. The MED program has established 32 new businesses in Erie to date, creating nearly 50 jobs. To be completed within the calendar year, the New Erie Mavericks project will support two young entrepreneurs, under the age of 25, with mentoring, technical assistance, and micro-loan financing to launch new businesses.
“This was such a great opportunity for our members to learn how grant making happens. Choosing the nonprofit to receive this specific grant was icing on the cake,” said Kristi Bailey, Young Erie Philanthropist Advisory Committee Chair. “We came together, even through the pandemic, to establish criteria for the grant that was important to each of us. The new Erie Mavericks project checked all those boxes and then some.”
“The role of the Foundation is to connect donors to causes, and the next generation of leaders saw an issue and stepped up to the plate to make an impact,” said Mike Batchelor, President of the Foundation. “Because of the Young Erie Philanthropists grant, young entrepreneurs will launch businesses and make our community stronger.”