At first, The Burton D. Morgan Foundation operated out of the law offices of Arter & Hadden in Cleveland. In 1976, Morgan retained John V. Frank, then a vice president and trust officer with what is now FirstMerit Bank, to head the Foundation. For the next decade or so, Frank operated the small Foundation from his West Akron home. By 1989, the Foundation’s assets had grown large enough to require relocation to offices in downtown Akron.
Almost a decade later, when Morgan was in his 80s, he began urging the trustees of his Foundation to provide large grants for buildings. Thus began a multi-year program that included buildings at four colleges: Denison University, The College of Wooster, Purdue University and Ashland University. All are dedicated to the study of entrepreneurship. The Foundation also made grants for administrative buildings at Western Reserve Academy in Hudson and Old Trail School in Bath.
Today, the Foundation focuses its grantmaking in three areas: youth, collegiate and adult. Youth grants range from money to support Boy Scout entrepreneurship badges and summer camps focused on economics and invention to funding for an entrepreneurship preparatory school in Cleveland.
At the college level, the Foundation has long supported Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. More recently, the Foundation began a collaboration with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, Mo., that will provide nearly $7 million to establish a culture of entrepreneurship on five Northeast Ohio liberal arts campuses.
Adult grants in recent years have included money to three Cleveland organizations dedicated to growing jobs in Northeast Ohio: JumpStart, BioEnterprise and NorTech. Grants also help support ventures in Hudson, Burt Morgan’s adopted hometown.
In 2006, the Foundation moved to Hudson, where it purchased and renovated a brick building formerly owned by the Hudson Library & Historical Society. The Foundation is headed by Deborah D. Hoover, who succeeded Frank in 2007.