Burton D. Morgan Foundation celebrates 50th with Aviation hackathon, other grants

A high-flying hackathon is among the programs to benefit from Burton D. Morgan Foundation's latest round of grants.
At their September meeting, the Hudson-based organization approved nearly $700,000 in grants to organizations that promote regional entrepreneurship, including a grant of $65,000 to Kent State University Foundation for an aviation-focused hackathon event set for next year.
Called "Sky Hack - Innovation Takes Flight," the hackathon will celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the foundation and KSU's flight technology program. Students from across the region are welcome to develop solutions to issues related to the aviation industry. The event, which organizers say is the first of its kind in the country, is scheduled for Oct. 13-15, 2017.
Foundation president and CEO Deborah Hoover says the unique competition will not only recognize a pair of shared milestones, it will also highlight nonprofit namesake Burton Morgan's passion for flight, which included building and designing aircraft during his student days at Purdue University.
"We were looking to celebrate our anniversary next year with a special project that hasn't been done before," says Hoover. "There's a strong flight training program at KSU, so that gave us the idea to do the hackathon."
Other grants are slated to benefit groups supporting innovation and entrepreneurship at the youth, collegiate and adult levels. For example, Cleveland Water Alliance was awarded $50,000 to bolster programming and services to participants of "AquaHacking 2017," a hackathon designed to advance Northeast Ohio's growing water innovation cluster.
"Lake Erie is a great asset and we hope to grow water-related industries in the region," Hoover says. "We're focused on fresh water innovation, technology and stewardship."

Additional foundation grants include:
- $50,000 to Hebrew Free Loan Association to create a loan fund for small business owners and entrepreneurs
- $32,500 to Entrepreneurial Engagement Ohio for a series of science and technology forums
- $25,000 to the Hispanic Business Center in support of bilingual Hispanic and Latino entrepreneurs
Since May, the foundation has approved a number of smaller grants that align with its business-building mission. Among the recipients were 87.9 WKSU, which received $8,500 for sponsorship of its Exploradio program. Girl Scouts of North East Ohio ($10,000), Launch League ($20,000) and Hathaway Brown School ($15,000) garnered funding for programming and operational support. 

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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