Erie Community Foundation Says YEP to New Erie Mavericks
Young Erie Philanthropists Endowment grants $5K to New American entrepreneurs
A maverick is someone that goes against the grain, free-willed and independent-minded. Those we call innovators often share the same traits, the very kind America has traditionally prided itself on rewarding.
Innovation can come from experience — an intimate knowledge of your industry's ins and outs, the continuous refinement of processes and practices honed over generations. But can also originate from a fresh perspective and an enthusiasm for new opportunities. No matter the source, when it's found within one's own community, it ought to be harnessed and nurtured.
The Young Erie Philanthropists Endowment, a donor-advised fund established by the Erie Community Foundation (ECF) and backed by the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership and Young Erie Professionals (and their recently-formed affiliate group, Young Erie Philanthropists), is focused on just that. With a grant of $5,000 in hand, donors sought out a nonprofit in alignment with its objective of promoting from within the Erie community,
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Erie Field Office (USCRI Erie) was the perfect match, thanks to its New Erie Mavericks project. The New Erie Mavericks project is a Microenterprise Economic Development (MED) program aimed at driving economic development through immigrant- and refugee-owned businesses. Since 2016, MED programs have been the catalyst for 32 new businesses in Erie, with nearly 50 jobs attached.
New Erie Mavericks will almost certainly add to that total after providing two young up-and-comers with mentoring, technical assistance, and micro-loan financing — before they even hit their 25th birthday. Fresh perspective and enthusiasm is a given.
"We are very thankful and excited for this opportunity to showcase our young entrepreneurs," said Bassam Dabbah. "By investing in our youth and in turn Erie, we are adding to the vibrancy and economic growth of our community."
The donors were happy to oblige. Said Kristi Bailey, chair of the Young Erie Philanthropist Advisory Committee: "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. 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."
It's been an eventful year and an eventful past couple months for the ECF, which recently observed another record-breaking Erie Gives Day — over $6.3 million in contributions for area nonprofits, collected from more than 11,000 unique donors. If the Young Erie Philanthropists Endowment is just icing on the cake, we're grateful it has so many layers.
Opinions vary on how much icing is too much icing, but would it be too maverick to hope for more?
Matt Swanseger (firstname.lastname@example.org) winces at the idea of chowing down on straight-up buttercream, but has been known to eat directly from a tub of whipped topping when left unattended.