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Kent State to host Aviation Hackathon with Burton D. Morgan Foundation grant

Published: October 9, 2016 12:01 AM
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HUDSON - At their September meeting, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved nearly $700,000 in grants to organizations that promote entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio, including a grant of $65,000 to Kent State University Foundation for a hackathon which will focus on aviation, the first of its kind in the nation.

The hackathon called Sky Hack - innovation takes flight was conceived as a way to mark the 50th anniversaries of Burton D. Morgan Foundation and Kent State University's Flight Technology program in 2017. Students from all academic institutions will be welcome to participate in this weekend-long event designed to develop solutions to issues related to the aviation industry. Prize money of at least $21,000 will be awarded. The event is slated to be Oct. 13-15, 2017.

"As Morgan Foundation approaches its 50th anniversary in 2017, we are excited to be planning the inaugural Sky Hack event with Kent State's College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology, also celebrating its own half-century milestone," said Deborah Hoover, foundation president and CEO. "This unique competition will recognize not only the shared anniversaries of our two organizations, but also the Morgan family's longtime dedication to the University and Mr. Morgan's passion for flight, demonstrated during his student days at Purdue University where he was an avid member of the glider club, designing and building his own aircraft."

"I can't think of a better way to celebrate 50 years of Flight Training at Kent State University than to partner with the prestigious Burton D. Morgan Foundation," said Robert G. Sines, Jr., Dean, College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology. "This gift will allow us to reach college students on a national level, providing an opportunity to develop ideas and solve problems in the aeronautics industry. We are looking forward to hosting this event in October 2017."

Other grants that will benefit organizations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship at the youth, collegiate and adult levels include the following:

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Cleveland Water Alliance - $50,000 to provide entrepreneurial support programming and services to participants of AquaHacking 2017: United for Lake Erie

Downtown Akron Partnership - $35,000 to support efforts to increase storefront retail activity in downtown Akron ($30,000) and the Akron Art Prize program ($5,000)

Entrepreneurial Engagement Ohio - $32,500 to support five science and technology forums in Northeast Ohio

Hebrew Free Loan Association - $50,000 to create and manage a loan fund for small business owners and entrepreneurs without access to conventional funding services

Hispanic Business Center - $25,000 to support the development and implementation of bilingual curriculums for Hispanic/Latino entrepreneurs in Northeast Ohio

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Ideastream - $40,000 to sponsor Nightly Business Report in fiscal year 2017

Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio - $40,000 for entrepreneurship programming and operations

Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland - $50,000 for entrepreneurship programming and operations

Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley - $35,000 for entrepreneurship programming and operations

Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio - $85,000 for entrepreneurship programming and operations

Since May, the Foundation also approved a number of smaller grants to support youth, collegiate and adult entrepreneurship programs and philanthropy. Among the recipients were: 89.7 WKSU for sponsorship of the Exploradio program ($8,500); Akron Art Museum for a series of Community Conversations focused on strengthening the relationship between entrepreneurship, the arts, and economic development ($10,000); Girl Scouts of North East Ohio for the Girl Executive Program ($10,000); Hathaway Brown School for salary support and student startup costs ($15,000); Independent Sector for the C-Suite convening in Cleveland ($5,000); Launch League for programming and operations ($20,000); National Council for Community Development for operating support ($20,000); StartupBus to sponsor a Startup Maker bus trip from Akron to the national competition in Boulder for 25 Akron-area entrepreneurs ($15,000); and University of Massachusetts-Lowell for support of the 2016 Deshpande Symposium ($3,775).

In addition to supporting entrepreneurship initiatives in the region, the Foundation also makes grants to institutions in Hudson. The following grants have been made since May to benefit the Hudson community: Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association for the purchase of portable screens, projectors and a PA system for use at community events ($2,515); Case-Barlow Farm for updates to the electrical system ($7,000); Hudson Farmers Market to support marketing initiatives in conjunction with the 10th anniversary season ($7,500); and Music from the Western Reserve for operating support ($5,000).

A more complete list of grants awarded can be found by visiting the Foundation's website at bdmorganfdn.org/grants-awarded.

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