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Be My Neighbor

This philanthropic fund is encouraging business growth, but will it start a trend?

This story appears in the August 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Here's a novel concept: philanthropic organizations joining forces to transform a flagging regional economy by fostering entrepreneurship. Sound improbable? In Ohio, 80 entities formed Fund for Our Economic Future to do just that.

The three-year initiative launched in 2004 has raised $35 million, which is earmarked in part for fostering entrepreneurship and business formation in sectors with strong growth potential. "Our goal is to shift the regional economy from traditional industries to promising areas such as advanced energy, nanotechnology and electronics," explains Bradley Whitehead, who oversees implementation of the fund's initiatives.

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