December Grantmaking in Review

Welcome to 2016! It’s going to be an important year for Cleveland. Thanks to a great year’s end, our community has the momentum needed to tackle challenges and embrace the opportunities ahead. In December, our board of directors approved $12.7 million in grants. In 2015, we supported nonprofits in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties with grants totaling $93.7 million.

From programs promoting education and youth development to organizations serving adults who are facing challenges, our December grantmaking empowered Greater Clevelanders with tools, skills and opportunities to thrive.

Let’s take a closer look at some of our grantees:

MyCom, the Cleveland Foundation-led youth development initiative, promotes enriching experiences for youth in Greater Cleveland. In December, we supported MyCom with $800,000, including a $650,000 grant to Starting Point, the out-of-school time lead agency for MyCom, and a $150,000 grant to Youth Opportunities Unlimited, the youth employment lead agency for MyCom. The funding will help Starting Point expand and enhance quality programming available to young people, especially in afterschool hours, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited build its network of private-sector partners to provide more year-round jobs and internships for Cleveland teens.

Through its focus on encouraging at-risk youth to stay in school, Esperanza, Inc. has helped raise the Hispanic graduation rate in Cleveland from 30% to 61% over the past five years. Our $325,000 grant to Esperanza will help expand its successful educational and family programming, including programs focused on youth leadership, mentorship, family engagement and school attendance.

Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland (BGCC) is working to grow the number of youth it serves daily from 450 to 1,000 by spring 2016 and we’re supporting their expansion efforts with $200,000 grant. This grant supports BGCC’s plans to open its first high school-based clubs at John Adams and Lincoln West High Schools and also helps BGCC continue the arts programming it launched at all of its 12 sites in 2014.

As part of our college- and career-focused education strategy, we supported the continued transformation of Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s career center high schools into more innovative and relevant career academies with a $220,000 grant. We helped initiate this transformation and have funded it through a series of grants over the past two years totaling more than $850,000. In partnership with CMSD and Greater Cleveland Partnership, we’re helping support and develop programs which better equip students with the credentials to fill available jobs in Greater Cleveland that pay family-sustaining wages.

In addition to our support for programs and organizations focused on youth education and development, we’re funding adult training programs that promote economic stability, especially among Cleveland’s disadvantaged:

Asian Services in Action serves the low-income, limited English proficient Asian immigrant and refugee community in Northeast Ohio. Our $150,000 grant will help this social services agency continue its successful financial education pilot program, which helps participants build their savings rate and grow their credit scores.

Last year, the Economic and Community Development Initiative (ECDI) launched its Women’s Business Center of Ohio. The Cleveland center is part of a national network of educational centers designed to assist women – especially those with economic or social barriers – in starting and growing small businesses. We supported ECDI and the Women’s Business Center of Ohio with a $161,088 grant.

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries’ Central Kitchen program provides culinary training to formerly incarcerated individuals. Aimed at improving the program’s graduation rates, our $190,000 grant will increase wraparound services to participants, including academic tutoring and social services.

The Up Side of Downs of Northeast Ohio is launching a new job training program for adults with Down syndrome and we supported them with an $11,500 grant. The program will be based in the organization’s new retail space in Independence, which employs sales associates who have Down syndrome and sells merchandise made by individuals with Down syndrome.

We’re looking forward to more grantmaking in 2016. Stay tuned for a recap of our grants each month!