The regional philanthropic group that last year handed out more than a quarter-million dollars for collaborative government projects... has completed the first phase of choosing this year's award recipients. ideastream's Rick Jackson has details on the just-named finalists in the EfficientGovNow competition.
27 applicants - Partnering cities, multi-county consortiums, and even a collective of inner ring suburbs competed for the awards, offered by the regional collaboration of foundations known as the Fund For Our Economic Future.
Brad Whitehead is the Fund's President, and says the breadth of proposals this year shows the potential for joint ventures, and made jurists decision making much more difficult. The ten finalists chosen represent 11 Northeast Ohio counties.
"Each and every one of them shows the kind of opportunities that are available through collaboration, that there are gains to be made, and we wanted to showcase the diversity of opportunity that is there."
Examples range from providing additional services and support for 911 services, to buying and installing solar electricity generation projects on industrial and commercial properties.
At stake for the candidates are shares of up to $330 thousand, which will be divided between three, or possibly four, winning projects.
The public votes on line, and Whitehead is confident that people will support projects based on validity; rather than the larger population-based areas dominating the voting.
Based on last year, he says some projects which aren't awarded fund money will still be launched. Many of those non-winners from 2009 - have proven successful.
"The cash is an important piece, but it's also that these projects get legitimized in the public's eye. When thousands of people come out and say that they want to see something happen, that certainly gives a boost to the project, and hopefully is a vote of confidence for the public officials who have brought these ideas forward."
Kent State University and the Knight Foundation are partners and sponsors of the competition.
Now that the ten finalist have been selected, the next step is for the public to select the final winners. People can review the projects at the fund's website and, beginning tomorrow, vote for those they deem most worthy.
Voting will end May 31st, with the winning projects announced in early June.
Rick Jackson, 90.3.