Our Response
to the COVID-19
Pandemic

We’ve launched a new “matchmaking” feature to connect nonprofits on the frontlines facing a surge in mobility needs to public transportation assets that might be able to support them due to a reduction in regular service.

About the
Paradox Prize

Transforming lives and Northeast Ohio’s economy

For decades, industrial, commercial and residential development has migrated outward, but there has been no net increase in jobs or population to substantiate the regional spread. The result: Jobs are farther and farther away from where people live, which creates a disconnect between people and the economy. This disconnect has real costs: People spend more time and money commuting, if they can get to a job at all; businesses struggle to fill open positions; municipalities spend on infrastructure to support new development while having to maintain the underutilized assets left behind; and our environment suffers as air quality declines due to long, car-based commutes. Ultimately, our regional economy loses its competitive edge.

Launched in June 2019, The Paradox Prize aims to inspire sustainable solutions that can eradicate the ‘no car, no job; no job, no car’ paradox in Northeast Ohio. Through three rounds of open competition, we have awarded nearly all of the $1 million in prize money to support a number of pilots that are testing ideas that have the potential to improve the mobility of hundreds of Northeast Ohioans and help businesses access the talent they need. Learn more about the winners below, and stay tuned for more details on future opportunities.

Round 1 Winners

Manufacturing Works

Award: $100,000

 

Connecting, in conjunction with the Cleveland Clergy Coalition and the American Association of Clergy and Employers, church-based neighborhood hubs in Lee-Harvard and Glenville in Cleveland to job hubs in Strongsville and Solon, using church vans that typically sit idle throughout the week.

Akron METRO

Award: $75,000

 

Testing its FlexRide program, a door-to-door, on-demand service connecting workers to job hubs in northern Summit County, in conjunction with ConxusNEO.

SHARE

Award: $16,000

 

Working with Express Employment Professionals to provide ride-sharing service for job seekers from East Cleveland, Euclid and Glenville to the Mentor/Painesville job hub.

Round 2 Winners

Community Action Wayne/Medina

Award: $100,000

 

Implementing dynamic routing software to build upon an existing program and create an on-demand vanpooling option, enabling multiple users with differing origins and destinations to access an affordable, efficient service.

LakeTran

Award: $75,000

 

Testing a new van service from underserved areas to high-paying manufacturing jobs in Lake County, working closely with employers, the Lake County Board of Commissioners and the Lake County Ohio Port & Economic Development Authority.

Round 3 Winners

Strengthening Stark

Award: $100,000

 

Connecting workers with workforce mobility solutions, wraparound services and job training. Working collectively with a half a dozen local agencies, including SARTA, to deliver innovative mass transit and on-demand point-to-point solution

Lorain County

Award: $100,000

 

Nearly a dozen Lorain County agencies have come together to test 24/7 work transportation solutions in portions of Lorain, Elyria and Oberlin through expanded public transit service and access to electric car sharing, with the potential to serve several hundreds of under-served residents.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Award: $100,000

 

In partnership with The Centers, piloting a Career Navigation Program for participants in entry-level job training to explore the use of public transportation service and its cost as part of GCRTA’s ongoing research regarding fare equity.

Advisory
committee

 

*Also a member of the Selection Committee

Bishara Addison, Towards Employment

Bishara Addison, Towards Employment

Curtis Baker, AMATS

Curtis Baker, AMATS

Nelson Beckford, The Cleveland Foundation*

Nelson Beckford, The Cleveland Foundation*

Debbie Berry, University Circle Inc.

Debbie Berry, University Circle Inc.

Adam Briggs, The Briggs Family Funds *

Adam Briggs, The Briggs Family Funds *

India Birdsong, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

India Birdsong, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

Alicia Booker, Cuyahoga Community College*

Alicia Booker, Cuyahoga Community College*

Bethia Burke, Fund for Our Economic Future*

Bethia Burke, Fund for Our Economic Future*

Ben Capelle, NEORide

Ben Capelle, NEORide

Ted Carter, Cuyahoga County *

Ted Carter, Cuyahoga County *

Kirt Conrad, SARTA

Kirt Conrad, SARTA

Robert DeJournett, Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce

Robert DeJournett, Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce

Dawn Distler, METRO Regional Transit Authority

Dawn Distler, METRO Regional Transit Authority

Sheri Dozier, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress*

Sheri Dozier, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress*

Rich Granger, DriveOhio*

Rich Granger, DriveOhio*

Chris Hitchcock, The Lozick Family Foundation *

Chris Hitchcock, The Lozick Family Foundation *

Jim Kinnick, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments

Jim Kinnick, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments

Rahul Kumar, Keolis North America

Rahul Kumar, Keolis North America

Sue Lacy, ConxusNEO

Sue Lacy, ConxusNEO

Victor Leandry, MOVE Lorain County

Victor Leandry, MOVE Lorain County

Dominic Mathew, Fund for Our Economic Future *

Dominic Mathew, Fund for Our Economic Future *

Marty McGann, Greater Cleveland Partnership *

Marty McGann, Greater Cleveland Partnership *

John Mitterholzer, The George Gund Foundation *

John Mitterholzer, The George Gund Foundation *

Melissa Pearce, Community Action Wayne/Medina

Melissa Pearce, Community Action Wayne/Medina

John T. Petures, Jr., Akron Community Foundation *

John T. Petures, Jr., Akron Community Foundation *

Jeffrey Sleasman, Clevelanders for Public Transit

Jeffrey Sleasman, Clevelanders for Public Transit

Sponsors

National Fund for Workforce Solutions
The Cleveland Foundation
Creative Cleveland Partnership
The Lozick Family Foundation
Drive Ohio
Cuyahoga County
Fund for Our Economic Future

Community
Partners

  • Akron Community Foundation
  • Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority
  • AMATS
  • The Briggs Family Funds
  • Clevelanders for Public Transit
  • Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
  • ConxusNEO
  • Community Action Wayne/Medina
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • Eastgate Regional Council of Governments
  • The George Gund Foundation
  • Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Cleveland RTA
  • Keolis
  • MOVE Lorain County
  • NEORide
  • Stark Area Regional Transit Authority
  • Strengthening Stark
  • Towards Employment
  • University Circle Inc.

Latest news

Strengthening Stark Wins $100,000 Paradox Prize
Apr 17 2020

Strengthening Stark pilot aims to help 100 people.

The Paradox Prize to Connect Nonprofits with COVID-related Transportation Needs to Area Transit Agencies with Available Resources
Apr 10 2020

New "matchmaking" feature added to website; Round 3 winners to get started on pilots

County-wide transit program opens workplace access
Jan 26 2020

WOOSTER — A lack of reliable transportation limited Glen DeHart’s employment prospects. He could only apply to jobs close to...

SARTA targets Massillon, Navarre, Green with new bus routes
Jan 24 2020

SARTA announced this week it is adding express routes in western Stark County and around the Akron-Canton Airport in order...

Lake County Agencies Collaboration Wins Grant from Paradox Prize Project
Jan 16 2020

Lake County officials recently collaborated with Lincoln Electric's Mentor facility and Component Repair Technologies to develop an approach to connect...

Paradox Prize Aims To Fix The Carless Commute
Jan 06 2020

As more jobs are located in the suburbs, The Fund For Our Economic Future's Paradox Prize aims to make the...

Ending the ‘no car, no job; no job, no car’ paradox in Northeast Ohio
Nov 18 2019

Northeast Ohio is a region built for the car, evidenced by cross-cutting freeways and huge parking lots that dominate the...

Paradox Prize gives $16K to ride-sharing startup helping East Cleveland, Euclid, Glenville commuters
Nov 12 2019

Share, a ride-sharing company, was awarded $16,000 from The Paradox Prize for helping job seekers and workers in East Cleveland,...

Paradox Prize grants available to groups helping workers without cars get to their jobs
Oct 14 2019

CLEVELAND, Ohio - It’s called the “transportation paradox” and it goes like this. “No car, no job; no job, no...

Community Action Wayne/Medina wins $100,000 Paradox Prize
Oct 04 2019

CLEVELAND — Community Action Wayne/Medina has won $100,000 as part of The Paradox Prize, a competition to support pilot programs...

Paradox Prize Names Two More Winners
Oct 04 2019

There are two more winners of funding in The Paradox Prize initiative, a program created by the nonprofit Fund for...

Paradox Prize Round 2 Winners Announced
Oct 04 2019

CLEVELAND--October 4, 2019--Community Action Wayne/Medina and Laketran have won funding to support pilot efforts that will connect people to jobs...

Cuyahoga County, The Cleveland Foundation Join as Sponsors of The Paradox Prize
Sep 10 2019

CLEVELAND--September 10, 2019--Cuyahoga County and the Cleveland Foundation have joined the Fund for Our Economic Future, the National Fund for...

Paradox Prize Round One Winners
Aug 20 2019

The first winners of the Paradox Prize are helping to bridge the transportation gap for Northeast Ohio workers. Three ideas...

Pilot programs rewarded with Paradox Prize grant money to test out, launch new transportation ideas
Aug 12 2019

Three projects are getting a combined $191,000 from The Fund for Our Economic Future as part of the Paradox Prize,...

Paradox Prize Winners Announced: Manufacturing Works, Akron Metro and SHARE Receive Round 1 Awards
Aug 09 2019

What if church vans were used during the week to transport nearby residents to work in job hubs that are...

Three winners announced in $1M Paradox Prize competition to link urban workers to suburban jobs
Aug 09 2019

The Fund for Our Economic Future today announced the first three winners in its $1 million Paradox Prize competition, a...

Three groups will share Paradox Prize money
Aug 09 2019

Three ideas to make it easier for people to get to work will share $191,000 to bring their ideas to...

Paradox Prize Announces First Round Winners
Aug 09 2019

The Paradox Prize announced the first winners in its competition to connect Northeast Ohioans with job centers. The top award...

Akron Metro RTA receives $75,000 grant for door-to-door pilot program
Aug 09 2019

The Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority has nabbed a $75,000 grant from the Cleveland-based Fund for Our Economic Future to...

Crain’s editorial: Mobility works
Jun 23 2019

Academic research, anecdotes and common sense tell us that Northeast Ohio suffers from a workforce mismatch, with a lack of...

The Paradox Prize Aims to Address the Gap Between Transportation and Jobs in Northeast Ohio, But Is the Problem Really a Paradox?
Jun 18 2019

The folks at the Fund for Our Economic Future and other organizations want to hear from you. Well, more specifically,...

Transportation a barrier to getting, keeping jobs
Jun 16 2019

For years, manufacturers have said they struggle to find reliable workers who can show up on time, day after day....

$1 million Paradox Prize seeks ideas to help Northeast Ohio residents get to where the local jobs are
Jun 06 2019

Interested in getting part of a $1 million prize? Then come up with a good idea — a big idea...

Eradicating The Transportation Paradox
Jun 06 2019

Residents across Northeast Ohio are faced with an untenable choice: a commute by public transit that can be as long...

Paradox Prize Seeks Transportation Ideas
Jun 04 2019

Connecting workers to available jobs involves bridging the skills gap, but that's not all. To get and keep a job,...

Cleveland to allow electric scooter rentals this summer, targeting key in parts of the city for pilot program
Jun 04 2019

Electric scooter rentals will be allowed in targeted areas of Cleveland this summer as part of a pilot project to...

Paradox Prize Seeks Answers to Transportation Issues
Jun 04 2019

“For decades, industrial, commercial and residential development has migrated outward, but there has been no net increase in jobs or...

$1M avail for big ideas to ease NE Ohio’s work transportation issues
Jun 03 2019

The Fund for Our Economic Future, in conjunction with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, The...

The Paradox Prize Seeks Solutions to Improve Worker Mobility in Northeast Ohio
Jun 03 2019

The Fund for Our Economic Future, in conjunction with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, The...

Economic development nonprofit offering prizes for transportation solutions
Jun 03 2019

The Fund for Our Economic Future is putting $1 million behind an effort to help solve what it calls the...

Putting Northeast Ohio workers on the map: The road to employment begins with worker mobility
May 23 2019

Worker mobility, or transportation to available employment, stands as a barrier for many people who live in urban areas or...

Introducing Merge Now, The Drive’s New Mobility Technology Podcast
May 17 2019

Introducing a new podcast called Merge Now, a weekly series of conversations with the people who are helping to shape...

Paradox Prize seeks inventive transportation solutions
May 13 2019

It’s the classic chicken-or-egg paradox, but in transportation terms: If you have no car, you can’t get a job. If...

Solutions sought to ease NEO worker mobility obstacles
Apr 08 2019

Too many of the region’s workers face an intractable scenario: no car, no job; no job, no car.  This stems...

Eradicating the Mobility Paradox
Mar 26 2019

Residents across Northeast Ohio are faced with an untenable choice: a commute by public transit that can be as long...