July Grant Highlights

art teacher with preschool children

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, our board of directors approved $5.3 million in grants for the month of July. These grant dollars support a variety of arts, education and job opportunities for residents in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. Here are a few highlights:

Workforce training for refugees

The Refugee Response (TRR)’s Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program (REAP) helps refugees arriving in Northeast Ohio adjust to life in their new home by offering paid employment opportunities, while incorporating essential life skills training. Our July grantmaking includes $90,000 to help TRR develop a grassroots, standards-based workforce training curriculum for REAP focused on assisting refugees with language skills, soft skills and practical skills to help them become self-sufficient.

Professional teaching artist programs

The Center for Arts-Inspired Learning (CAL) has served more than 220,000 students in 250 Northeast Ohio schools, providing experiences in dance, drama, music, literary, digital and visual arts through trained professional teaching artists. Our $190,000 grant in July continues our support for CAL’s programs, including its Resident Teaching Artist Program and Teaching Artist Professionalization Initiative.

Adult literacy services for Cleveland’s east side

Seeds of Literacy has served ‪Cleveland’s near west side since 1997 and opened its first east side location, Seeds East, in 2014. In less than a year, Seeds East was at-capacity, and last year, it had the highest enrollment gains of any Adult Basic Literacy and Education (ABLE) program in the state of Ohio. To help serve the growing needs of residents in Cleveland’s Mt. Pleasant, Woodhill and Buckeye/Shaker neighborhoods, we granted $150,000 to Seeds of Literacy to support its adult literacy services in these east side neighborhoods, where more than a quarter of adults do not have a high school diploma, and functional illiteracy rates reach as high as 90%.

Neighborhood jobs in Greater University Circle

A key goal of the foundation-led Greater University Circle Initiative is to encourage employers in Greater University Circle to hire locally. Efforts like University Hospitals’ Step Up program have successfully developed neighborhood job pipelines for area residents. Our July grantmaking includes $30,000 to Towards Employment to modify the Step Up program to connect Greater University Circle residents to neighborhood jobs in industries beyond healthcare.

Medical school scholarships for Lake and Geauga County residents

The Sherman Johnson and Frances Battles Johnson Memorial Fund of the Cleveland Foundation was established in 1967 to provide medical scholarships for Lake and Geauga County students. In July, we awarded $112,000 in grants from the fund to seven medical colleges across the state of Ohio, supporting scholarships for students from Lake or Geauga County in their third or fourth year of medical school. The colleges receiving grants include Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), The Ohio State University, Ohio University – Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, University of Toledo College of Medicine and Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.

A contemporary art triennial for Greater Cleveland

FRONT International: Cleveland Exhibition for Contemporary Art is a new large-scale, multi-venue contemporary art program that will take place in Cleveland every three years, beginning in 2018. Fred Bidwell, who co-launched the Transformer Station gallery in 2013, will serve as the CEO and Executive Director of FRONT International. We are pleased to announce a $190,000 grant to support the two inaugural artistic directors for FRONT. In addition, this curatorial team will nominate the six international artists for the fall 2017 cohort of our Creative Fusion artist residency program. During their three-month residencies in Cleveland, the Creative Fusion artists will work with FRONT and other Cleveland arts institutions to create new work for the first edition of the festival, which will take place July 7 – September 30, 2018.

“The Cleveland Foundation has long believed in the power of art in bridging cultures, uniting people and celebrating new ideas” said our President & CEO Ronn Richard. “We are proud our support will enhance the international focus of FRONT, aligning it with our international artist in residency program, while putting more global eyes on Cleveland and helping Cleveland connect with the world.”