'We Believe in Erie' Fund Demonstrates Belief in Inclusive Future
GEEDC, ECF initiative will provide $120k-$150k annually to minority students
Multi-generational change in Erie is far from a finished product. But by investing in the full diversity of the city's now, the Greater Erie Economic Development Corporation (GEEDC) and Erie Community Foundation (ECF) are plenty optimistic about achieving a more equitable future.
To that end, the GEEDC and the ECF jointly established the "We Believe in Erie Fund," which will permanently provide between $120,000 and $150,000 toward minority scholarship and apprenticeship programs annually once the fundraising goal of $3 million is reached. An initial contribution of $1 million was made by each organization, and an additional $300,000 had been pledged at the time of the announcement, so that goal coming to fruition is all but a certainty.
Mike Batchelor, president of the ECF, says the benefit is twofold: "supporting local business efforts to strengthen and diversify their workforce" and helping "minority students access high education and local opportunities for good-paying jobs."
"This fund will help ensure that no one is left behind while meeting the needs of Erie's high-demand jobs of the future," adds James Grunke, president and CEO of The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERGCP). The ERGCP consulted closely with Erie companies to help tailor employment pathways for minority student scholars and apprentices, maximizing long-term impact. "The permanent endowment will provide opportunities for students to stay in Erie, which impacts generations of families."
Gerald Blanks, CEO of the GEEDC, emphasized the importance of collaboration in making this vision a reality: "We believe in Erie and if we are to continue being successful and making progress, we must do it together."
To keep up to date on the "We Believe in Erie Fund" or to make a donation, visit eriecommunityfoundation.org
Matt Swanseger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org