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  • Writer's pictureErie Innovation District

When You Support the Erie Innovation District on Erie Gives Day, You Are Building a Better Erie.

When You Support the Erie Innovation District on Erie Gives Day, You are Building a Better Erie. Here’s How.

In 2016, leaders and visionaries from across Erie came together to form the Erie Innovation District (EID) with three goals in mind:

· Stopping “brain drain” in a community we love and call home.

· Replacing low-wage jobs with jobs capable of sustaining and supporting middle-class families.

· Revitalizing downtown Erie.

To quote Good to Great author Jim Collins, those goals are all big, hairy, and audacious. If EID can achieve those goals (and we will), the result will be a vibrant community with a bright economic future.

Thankfully, we are already on our way. The work done by EID and the wider Erie innovation and entrepreneurship community has already started to attract high-potential startups and generated positive local, regional, and national news stories about our city. The achievements of companies participating in EID accelerators have caught the attention of major business publications, and the Flagship Opportunity Zone is repeatedly recognized as one of the most innovative approaches to sustainable economic development in the nation.

But what does that all mean to the average Erie resident?

Why should anyone outside of a relatively small group of policymakers, civic champions, and entrepreneurs support the work of EID?

For decades, if you lived in Erie and wanted to see what a better tomorrow would look like, you had to climb the stairwell of an underutilized downtown building, pry open the door to the roof, and hope you were high enough to see all the way to Chicago.

For decades, our better tomorrows always happened somewhere else. For decades, raising our children in Erie meant wanting the best for them might mean wanting them to leave the street and the city and the family they grew up with.

Community planners and economic developers always talk about “brain drain.” Like we said earlier, stopping brain drain is one of our primary goals. What we never talk about is the “heart drain,” and what it means for families to choose between a community they grew up in and love and achieving their personal and professional goals.

EID’s mission isn’t creating a handful of wealthy entrepreneurs or a billion-dollar startup.

We exist so you don’t have to stand on top of a downtown high-rise to see the future you want.

Instead, you can walk into the lobby and shake hands with an entrepreneur who needs the roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic Erie is known for.

That’s the vision we have for our community.

And we need your help to make it happen.

Erie Gives Day is August 13, 2019, from 8 AM to 8 PM. On that day, participating nonprofits that receive donations during the specified time period will receive a prorated match from the Erie Community Foundation. Minimum gifts are $25, and all donations are tax-deductible. Donations to the Erie Innovation District will be used in our ongoing efforts to attract and retain high-potential companies and talented workers in thriving industries, including manufacturing, defense, and the Industrial Internet of Things.

We love this community. For far too long, the perception has been if you grew up here, it was a mistake to stay.

That is our past.

Our future is one where anyone lucky enough to set foot in Erie immediately knows it would be a mistake to leave.

We’re already on our way to that future—and you can help us get there a little faster by choosing to support the Erie Innovation District on Erie Gives Day.


To learn more about some of our big developments, feel free to check out the following GoErie articles:

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