BRIGHTEST MINDS | How philanthropy & business are growing the economy of Northeast Ohio

Thursday, October 11, 2018
9:30am to 11:30am EDT
The Meyer Foundation
1250 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 800
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Philanthropy and business don’t always seem like natural partners. Leaders in Northeast Ohio, however, have figured out how to bridge the divide between these two sectors for the benefit of their region.

Join us to hear from Deborah Hoover, President & CEO of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, and Bill Koehler, CEO of Team NEO, an economic development organization focused on creating jobs for Northeast Ohio’s residents. In conversation with moderator Carol Thompson Cole, President & CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners, they will tell the story of the Fund for Our Economic Future, a cross-sector initiative that is driving regional economic growth. The Fund’s innovative approach combines the strengths of philanthropy and business by assisting businesses to build equitable access to opportunity into their approaches, and for workforce and community development organizations to participate in economic growth strategies. 

Deborah and Bill will share why dozens of foundations have banded together through the Fund to advance growth and opportunity; how the Fund persuaded business leaders to join in a strategic partnership; and the challenges, frustrations and rewards of building such a partnership.

Members: Free
Non-Members: $45.00

Please register online. If you do not have an account, please contact Rebekah Seder, seder(at)


Deborah Hoover | For the last decade, Deborah Hoover has served as President and CEO of Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Northeast Ohio's philanthropic champion of the entrepreneurial spirit. The Morgan Foundation seeks to build the entrepreneurial mindset in children, teens, and college students through educational and experiential opportunities that target problem solving, innovation, and planning skills. For adult entrepreneurs, the Foundation works with its ecosystem partners to provide new ventures and their founders with access to knowledge, mentors, and financing. 

Ms. Hoover was instrumental in establishing the Foundation’s Northeast Ohio Collegiate Entrepreneurship Program, a Kauffman CampusesSM Initiative, to spread entrepreneurship across liberal arts campuses; and in establishing NEOLaunchNET, a collegiate experiential startup program. Most recently, she spearheaded the effort to create a Scalerator™ program in Northeast Ohio designed to help mid-sized companies develop the tools to grow. She serves on the Steering and Program Committees for the Deshpande Symposium, an annual convening designed for innovators and entrepreneurship leaders on university campuses. 

Ms. Hoover received the Northeast Ohio EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014 in the Educational Services & Nonprofit category and received the 2015 Foundation Leadership Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Cleveland Chapter. She also received the 2016 Deshpande Award for Outstanding Contributions to Advancing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. 

Deborah serves as Board Chair of the Bounce Innovation Hub in Akron since 2017. From 2013-2015 Ms. Hoover served as Chair of the Fund for Our Economic Future, a philanthropic collaborative created in 2004 to advance the economic competitiveness of Northeast Ohio and she continues to represent the Fund on the Team NEO Board. Ms. Hoover is Chair of the Advisory Council for the Foundation Center, Midwest and serves on the national board of the Foundation Center, the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Ms. Hoover also serves on the Board of Trustees of Western Reserve Academy and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 

Ms. Hoover earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College and a Master of Arts in Art History from the University of Chicago. She continued graduate studies at George Washington University National Law Center where she earned a Juris Doctor degree and was a member of the Law Review.  She is a member of the bar in the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, and Ohio. She also holds an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Baldwin Wallace University. Ms. Hoover will receive a second Master’s Degree in Cultural History from Kent State University in 2018, a program of study that has allowed her to explore the direct connections between entrepreneurship and philanthropy in America.

Bill Koehler | As Chief Executive Officer of Team NEO, Bill Koehler is focused on seeing northeast Ohio grow and thrive. With more than 20 years of banking experience behind him, Bill puts his knowledge and expertise to work as he collaborates with partners and others to attract new businesses and accelerate the impact of innovation in the region.

Bill has become a powerful voice in the economic development community, helping to align the services of Team NEO with the needs of the region. Under his leadership, Team NEO is working to improve the performance of northeast Ohio’s economic development system, with the support of its many partners.

Prior to joining Team NEO, Bill served as President of Key Community Bank, where he led 9,000 employees across 14 states. During his banking career, Bill worked with private and public middle market companies. Bill earned a Master of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance from Columbia University’s Business School and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard University.

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