Meeting Challenges, Making an Impact

Each year, the Lake-Geauga Fund awards more than $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in Lake County and Geauga County, Ohio. Grantmaking is driven by an advisory committee in response to the stated needs of the community. The committee also engages in convening and asset-building activities that strengthen the fund and its ability to make an impact on the community.

Hispanic Growers: Girl holding carrots

The Lake-Geauga Fund is a part of the community that it serves, as an asset-builder, convener, and catalyst. The advisory committee, made up of local community leaders, seeks to foster positive growth in a variety of ways:

  • Promoting philanthropy that supports major initiatives
  • Supporting partnerships and collaborations. We help organizations pool their strengths and leverage resources to further benefit the community. Encouraging lively dialogue and exploring ways to work together that strengthens agencies and increases their potential to sustain and expand services.
  • Strategic grantmaking that meets the needs of the communties

In addition, more than $350,000 in scholarship support for students from Lake and Geauga counties was awarded through Lake Erie College, Lakeland Community College, the Lake/Geauga Educational Assistance Foundation, and eight Ohio medical schools.


Lake Metropark guide showing turtle to childrenThe Lake-Geauga Fund of the Cleveland Foundation was established in 1986 in response to the number of key institutions in the two counties that had long-range impact on the region. The fund was developed by individuals with an interest and passion in supporting growth of the region and addressing unique needs in Lake and Geauga counties.

Both are classified as rural counties with a substantial amount of open space and cultivated farmland.  Agricultural industry in the two counties includes a vibrant viticulture and nursery industry in eastern Lake County, a strong dairy industry and associated crop cultivation, and a growing equine industry that spans both counties. In addition, Lake County has a significant number of entrepreneurial businesses and manufacturing companies. Vital issues in the two counties include transportation, mental health services, affordable housing, and workforce development.

Since its inception, the Lake-Geauga Fund has awarded more than $17.6 million in grants in the two counties. The fund is guided by an advisory committee of residents who have a knowledge and passion for their communities. Committee members must be residents of Lake County or Geauga County and agree to serve two consecutive five-year terms.

2015 Grants

Catholic Charities Corporation

  • $28,718 Workplace-based resource program for Geauga County

Center for Community Solutions

  • $55,470 Geauga Income Collaborative

Child Care Resource Center of Cuyahoga County dba Starting Point

  • $27,234 Implementation of Step Up To Quality training for early childhood education programs in Geauga County

Friends of James A. Garfield National Historic Site

  • $25,000 Marketing and technology upgrade for the Garfield Centennial and the 2016 Republican National Convention

Geauga County Humane Society 

  • $35,000 Challenge Grant for programmatic expansion of Rescue Village

Lake County Historical Society

  • $13,500 Digitization of collections and mobile education

Suicide Prevention Education dba LifeAct

  • $15,000 Teen suicide prevention programming in Lake County and Geauga County schools

Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio

  • $35,000 School mentoring programs in Geauga County

Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity, Inc.

  • $45,000 Expansion into Lake County and development of the newly merged Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity

Village of Fairport Harbor

  • $45,000 Economic development initiative

Geauga Growth Partnership Inc.

  • $38,000 Staff Capacity for Intern and Career Readiness Programs

The Salvation Army

  • $25,000 Painesville Learning Zone Hispanic Tutoring Program


2014 Grants

Apollo’s Fire: The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra

  • $10,000 Apollo’s Fire Arts Partnerships in Lake County

Lake County Free Clinic

  • $25,000 Expanded medical services in Lake County

Painesville City Local School District

  • $57,000 Family Resource Center

Western Reserve Land Conservancy

  • $20,000 Western Reserve Land Conservancy Eastern Field Office 

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center

  • $30,000 Continuation of Lake and Geauga County-based programming

Jennings Center for Older Adults

  • $50,000 Planning activities associated with Senior Housing in Geauga County

Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio

  • $55,000 Outreach Expansion in Lake, Geauga & Ashtabula Counties 

Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc.

  • $45,000 Developing two pilot Stormwater projects in the Chagrin River Watershed

2013 Grants

Lake Metroparks

  • $100,000 Lake Erie Bluffs Observation Tower

Geauga Park District Foundation

  • $100,000 Observatory Park Phase IV: Restoration of the Historic Nassau Astronomical Observing Station

Lake Health Foundation, Inc.

  • $75,600 Geriatric Assessment Program (GAP) 

Advisory Committee

Following are current members of the Lake-Geauga Advisory Committee. Committee members must be residents of either Lake or Geauga county and agree to serve two consecutive five-year terms.

    • Dennis E. Eckart
      North Shore Associates, LLC
    • Nancy Guthrie, Chair
      Vice president, Huntington National Bank
    • Tracy Jemison
      President, Geauga Growth Partnership
  • Jane Neubauer
    Owner/Operator, Sugar Pines Farm
  • Todd R. Ray
    Program manager, Positive Education Program
  • Daniel D. Smith
    Consolidated Investment Corp.

Become a donor

The Lake-Geauga Fund’s impact in the two counties stems from the vision and commitment of the community it serves. The partnership that has grown among donors, community leaders, and nonprofit organizations promises a brighter future for Lake and Geauga counties. Learn more about becoming a Cleveland Foundation donor.

Apply for a grant


Upcoming Submission Deadlines

Inquiry due

Proposal due

Meeting date



November 2015