Cleveland Foundation Announces $10.5 Million in Grants for 4th Quarter

CLEVELAND – The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation has authorized $10.5 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations for programs supporting public education, youth development, economic development, and other vital areas.

Among those receiving grants this quarter:

Economic Development

The Cleveland Foundation has played a key leadership role in working to launch an offshore wind industry in Northeast Ohio over the past five years. Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $4 million to LEEDCo to support this effort. Today, the Cleveland Foundation board authorized a $250,000 grant to LEEDCo, bringing the foundation’s total support for this initiative to $1.5 million.

“The announcement that the federal government is partnering with LEEDCo is a validation of the Cleveland Foundation’s long-held belief that Northeast Ohio has the resources and potential to be the heart of the North American offshore wind industry,” said Ronald B. Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “As a LEEDCo partner, the foundation is proud to continue our support, as we step closer to the day when we will see that wind farm on Lake Erie.”

Public Education

On the heels of last week’s deadly elementary school shooting in Connecticut, the board has approved a grant of $195,000 to continue its long time support of a program that seeks to ensure the physical and emotional safety and stability of students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

With support from the Cleveland Foundation, CMSD first worked with the American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences following the Success Tech School shooting in 2007. The organization helped CMSD strengthen the behavioral supports and mental health services available to students. This newest grant will assess the progress made and create a plan for continued development.

“The foundation is continuing its funding of this initiative, recognizing the link between a safe and supportive school environment and students’ ultimate academic success,” said Robert E. Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation. “We understand these social service resources are especially important for students struggling with challenges related to poverty.”

In addition, the board is supporting the foundation’s focus on public education with a $330,000 grant to Esperanza to help the organization incorporate the ASPIRA model.

ASPIRA is a national organization dedicated to empowering Hispanic youth through education and leadership building. Esperanza’s focus is on advancing the academic achievement of Cleveland’s Hispanic youth; only 30 percent currently graduate from high school. Nationally, 94 percent of seniors participating in ASPIRA programming graduate, with most enrolling in college.

Youth Development

The board approved nearly $839,000 to Starting Point to support the agency’s coordination of out-of-school time and between-grade transitional programming for youth.

This programming is part of MyCom, (My Commitment, My Community), the local youth development initiative led by public-private partners, including Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, and the Cleveland Foundation.

Other Grants

Among the other grants awarded this quarter:

  • $85,000 to West Side Catholic Center to support the center’s growing need for services to homeless families. The number of homeless families with children in Cuyahoga County grew 20 percent in 2011. This grant will, in part, allow the center to provide rental subsidies to additional families, helping to move them from shelters to apartments and homes.
  • $75,000 to Ohio State University Extension Cuyahoga County to strengthen the local food industry cluster.  The grant will fund a plan outlining how to connect food producers, processors, and institutional buyers with a goal of creating employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for inner-city residents.

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Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $1.8 billion and 2011 grants of $80 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – economic  transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts advancement – and responds to the community’s needs.