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Foundation Puts Money Into Its Mission

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Provided by HudsonHubTimes.com
Written by Laura Freeman

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation Sept. 24 announced it will provide up to
$3 million over the next three years to JumpStart Inc. to help entrepreneurs start new companies in Northeast Ohio.

"We are putting our money where our mission is," said Morgan Foundation President Deborah Hoover.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation's mission is to support the free enterprise system by investing in organizations and institutions that foster the entrepreneurial spirit.

The "challenge" grant requires matching funds from individuals, corporations or private foundations for a combined $6 million invested in venture development organizations. Cleveland-based JumpStart relies on charitable donations to invest in new companies with the return shown in a growing company in the region.

JumpStart Chief Executive Officer Ray Leach, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, said the organization chooses companies that will grow rapidly, create jobs and have the greatest impact on the community.

"Our goal is wealth creation and job creation," Leach said.

"We're looking for companies that can grow to $30 million to $50 million in five to seven years."

JumpStart provides hands-on assistance and funding to new companies that are product related and show high growth, job potential and are attractive to venture capitalists.

"Every 60 days we narrow applicants to six and pick one to three to invest in," Leach said.

He said 32 companies in the last four years have been chosen to receive start-up investments. Those companies have created 346 new jobs with $56.3 million produced in goods and services.

Of the 32 companies, 60 percent are located in Cuyahoga County, 20 percent in Summit County and the remaining 20 percent in Lorain, Lake, Geauga or Wayne counties, Leach said.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation grant supplements previous grants to JumpStart of $250,000 in 2005 and 2006 and $350,000 in 2007, Hoover said.

"JumpStart continues to stand out as the premier entrepreneurial services provider in the state and as a major force in creating a culture of entrepreneurship through Northeast Ohio," Hoover said.

Hoover said she hopes the $3 million challenge grant will inspire other organizations to donate to JumpStart.