An impact investor, ECGRA’s mission is to elevate Erie County by galvanizing nonprofits and small businesses toward economic and community development. Since February 2008, ECGRA has invested more than $48 million in Erie County.

A growing movement spearheaded by the Rockefeller, George Gund, and F.B. Heron foundations, impact investing takes into account the social, cultural, and environmental effects of investments, in addition to the financial return. ECGRA has been measuring returns in both dollars and impact since 2011 and, in 2014, ECGRA formally adopted an Impact Investing Policy to effect change in five specific areas:

Impact: Small BusinessIMPACT: Small Business

To catalyze our region’s private sector and develop Erie’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by spurring small business development, building collaborations for business acceleration, and offering a broader spectrum of financing products for starting, growing, and reinventing small business. Learn more about Ignite Erie™.


Impact: Youth and EducationIMPACT: Youth & Education

To educate Erie’s workforce, strengthen schools and employers, and abate poverty. Initiatives include the School District Foundation Endowment Challenge, Summer Jobs and More pilot, and a $1 million joint Shaping Tomorrow investment with The Erie Community Foundation in four projects focused on education, healthcare, and character development for disconnected youth.


Impact: Quality of PlaceIMPACT: Quality of Place

To promote well-being, foster civic pride, drive tourism, and attract, retain, and mobilize creative talent and innovative businesses through cultural, heritage, service, and recreational organizations and projects. Currently, grant and endowment funds are at work for Lead Assets, Special Events, Community Assets, and Human Services.


Impact: Neighborhoods and Local CommunitiesIMPACT: Neighborhoods & Local Communities

To reinvigorate neighborhoods and main corridors, boost buy-local efforts, and combat blight. Current projects include Mission Main Street Grants and the Corry Neighborhood Initiative pilot.


Impact: MunicipalitiesIMPACT: Municipalities

To foster progress and functional cooperation among Erie County’s 38 municipal governments. Current programs include Multi-Municipal Collaboration Grants and Local Government Development.