Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Marc's Voice » A blog post about Cleveland, Youngstown and the Plain Dealer

Marc's Voice » A blog post about Cleveland, Youngstown and the Plain Dealer

Over here in NEO (North East Ohio) the Plain Dealer is the old school media player who’s has been the old school portal of note.

In yesterday’s Sunday paper the Plain Dealer published:

- yet another article on Youngstown and the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI)

- an attack on the Cleveland Foundation pulling their funding from the Fund for the Economic Future

Jim Cossler is the driving force the YBI and he’s almost single handedly forcing companies to move to Youngstwon. Jim’s fervor and passion is what ignites the YBI and makes Youngstown what it is today.

What’s funny about these two articles running in the same issue, is that the other article defending Brad Whitehead and the FFEF - is the claim that the agencies funded by the FEFF have made $1B of impact on our local economy.

Now I’m not some high falooted economist, but I’d sure like to know WHERE that impast is being felt! Perhaps Brad Whitehead’s $353,000 salary getting spent on his Mercedes lease or his kid’s private school is what the Plain Dealer is referring to - but I sure as hell don’t see that impact!

Take an organization such as JumpStart - the Cleveland equivalent to Cossler’s YBI. JumpStart has spent over $40M in the past five years and funded a little over $14M in investments to startups in the area. Yet I don’t know of one “hit” - such as the YBI’s ‘Turning Technologies’ investment.

YBI runs itself on a shoestring budget (under $1M) and still gets it together to renovate buildings and house startups - for free!

Perhaps if some of JumpStarts investments actually paid off and generated jobs - this whole ‘funding’ issue would disappear - but the honest fact is, that despite protestations and insider complaints, it was a really SMART move by the Cleveland Foundation to pull their support of the FEFF!

The BioEnterprise folks seem to be doing a pretty good job, but can you tell me what NorTech, Team NEO and Magnet do? this whole FEFF thing looks like a boondoggle to me! How can they claim to have any positive impact at all? Have their gone outside and looked around lately?

These non-profit folks are riding a gravy train of overhead, sucking up over 50% of their funding to pay themselves. Apparently this is standard operating procedures here in NEO, but that seems a bit greedy and inefficient if you ask me.

No where in the Plain Dealer article is this honest fact brought up! Rather the article focuses on the story told by David Abbot (of the Gund Foundation) and the other supporters of Brad Whitehead. Of course they’re going to support the FEFF, it’s THEIR money as well that’s getting squandered! They don’t want to look bad!



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