The Financial Benefit of Creating and Sharing Vision


At our disposal is millions of dollars from the federal government and national foundations. All it takes is SHARED VISION, some good writing, and a higher value on the common good.

I’ve carefully watched the evolution of Voices for Choices, The Fund for Our Economic Future, Advance Northeast Ohio, JumpStart, Team NEO, One Community, and – now – the Northeast Ohio Citizens League. From an objective professional’s perspective – everyone seems to agree on the value of regionalism, partnership, and the role each can play at that table of dicussion. But, we fall short in mobilzing our own deeper partnerships that have the potential for raising new dollars and creating sustainable innovation.

Stepping back from the constant state of politics, what has truly begun to percolate over the past four years in Northeast Ohio is the stuff of a national model. We are at the beginning of a twenty year cycle of revitalization – and our start has the makings of best practice research. We are landmark, and we are all NOW a part of that identify. Dare we see ourselves worthy, now?

Let us have foresight long enough to see this different vision of what is happening.
Let us go beyond our own worlds, frought with self interest and the fear of losing power.
Let us realize we are doing something that has never been done before.
Let us practice what we believe.

As both a company dedicated to individual, organizational and community capacity building (inclusive of raising new dollars) I see all around me the missed opportunities for bringing in national and federal monies. I think it is because we are just learning how to work together on common issues, and raising money is a little too close to home for most folks. It is, after all, one thing to share technology and quite another to share the pot at the end of the rainbow.

But without an effort to develop shared visions for the purpose of raising new dollars – we will not expand our ability to affect the plan for Advance Northeast Ohio; a plan worthy of continuing. Sure, it’s not perfect, but nothing in life ever is.

Let us remember that revitalization isn’t about perfect – it’s about learning and improving.
Let us learn together differently.
Let us come together and raise money together differently.
Let us cast new innovations differently.

The word – I believe I am looking for – is TOGETHER. Or better yet, CONNECTED IN PURPOSE. The truth is – everyone wins when everyone wins.

This new set of eyes upon ourselves, combined with organizational leaders willing to create shared vision projects, will not only attract federal and philanthropic dollars – but the interests of social venture investors. We might even convince some of the nation’s most wealthy – that WE are the model worthy of study and replication.

Let us value ourselves THIS much: worthy of the wealth that awaits at the door and willing to change in order to manifest that higher common good.

Let US.


A good example of this lack of coordinated effort is Northeast Ohio’s failure to secure funding from the Dept. of Labor’s WIRED Initiative. Given our region’s present track record on workforce development, you’d think it would be a priority. If anyone has any inside information as to why NE Ohio is not a WIRED region, I would be very interested. There is not enough urgency to execute short-term solutions for displaced and underemployed workers from our aging employment sectors. The Workforce Investment Act is too rigid to solve today’s complex workforce development issues and our community colleges do not have enough capacity to prepare workers for unfilled jobs. We need something more innovative, urgent and flexible.

Dave, thanks for your comments. The region’s inability to win federal support to develop an improved, employer-driven talent development system has indeed been a significant failure. Partners in Advance Northeast Ohio are optimistic that the new Regional Talent Network under development will serve the region well. Keep an eye out for more information on the Network in the next few weeks. It is being organized as part of Gov. Strickland’s effort to revamp the state’s talent development system.