We envision an improved quality of life for Barberton residents, now and forever.

Economic Development: Partners and Programming

Barberton Community Foundation has long partnered with the City of Barberton and Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) to support businesses and economic development in Barberton.

In 2020 the Foundation contracted with the Greater Ohio Policy Center to assist with the creation of a new impact plan for economic development and the Foundation’s role within that space. The Impact Plan outlined several action steps focusing on downtown development, investing in Barbertonians and hiring an economic development expert to build programming. Ted Herncane was hired in 2021 to facilitate the priorities in the impact plan.

The programs and partnerships listed here are the result of the efforts of the Foundation to strategically look at ways to increase our communitywide impact.


Bounce Innovation Hub Partnership

A new opportunity for Barberton residents or Barberton business owners 

Foundation is embarking on a partnership with Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub to bring awareness of Bounce’s programs, services and facilities to Barberton residents.

Bounce is a nonprofit organization that serves northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses and features co-working, private office and meeting and conference room space.

Founded in 2018, Bounce comprises nine floors and more than 300,000 square feet in a nearly 100-year-old rehabbed B.F. Goodrich tire plant on S. Main St. It currently houses more than 50 organizations and offers a vibrant, safe community for anyone who uses the space.

This new partnership offers the following benefits to those living in Barberton or whose business is located in Barberton:

The Foundation will provide a full scholarship to any Barberton resident or Barberton business that is accepted into Bounce’s MORTAR at Bounce program (a value of $295).

The Foundation will provide a full scholarship to anyone who registers for the Aspiring Entrepreneur class (a value of $75).

Aspiring Entrepreneur Program

Enhance your entrepreneurial mindset and develop functional skill sets.

The Aspiring Entrepreneur program is a 10-week program for anyone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and running their own business. As part of the GROW program at Bounce, participants will leave with an action plan and a new entrepreneurial mindset.

Program includes:

  • Action planning
  • The first steps to business validation
  • Curriculum and materials
  • Business coaching
  • Affordable workspace
  • Networking opportunities

MORTAR at Bounce

A program designed for women and minority entrepreneurs.

The MORTAR at Bounce is a 15-week business accelerator for established small businesses in a non-technology industry who are ready to grow and take a deeper dive into the nuances of business ownership.

The program is guided by a culturally competent curriculum and cohort-style classes encourage entrepreneurs to support each other. It focuses on serving minority- and woman-owned businesses, but applications are open to any entrepreneur or small business owner.

Program includes:

  • Cohort model for driven entrepreneurs to support each other
  • Access to legal support
  • One-on-one mentorship to provide guidance throughout the course
  • Opportunity to pitch your idea in front of potential investors, community leaders and customers
  • Ongoing support system provided by MORTAR and partner organizations and business support and brand development strategies that continue even after graduation

PRI Loan Fund

The Foundation makes Program Related Investments (PRIs) in order to stretch our financial resources, enhance our philanthropic impact and implement our economic and community development goals.

Federal regulations list three characteristics that distinguish PRIs from traditional foundation investments:

  • The Foundation’s mission is the primary motivation.
  • Generating income is not a significant motivation.
  • PRIs cannot be made with intent to influence legislation or a political election.

The Foundation partners with Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) to provide PRI funding to Barberton businesses. The loan program has invested over $14 million in economic development projects since its inception.