More than 25 years after its launch, the Lake-Geauga Fund of the Cleveland Foundation redefines its strategic focus and announces a new opportunity for organizations serving Lake and Geauga counties.
How do you define a community? How best can philanthropy address community needs? As the world’s first community foundation, these questions have remained central to the Cleveland Foundation’s work for the past 102 years.
More than 25 years ago, we responded to need in Lake and Geauga counties, located just east of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. At the time, other counties adjacent to Cuyahoga had established their own community foundations, but Lake and Geauga still lacked designated philanthropic support to address local needs. In an effort to address this, the Lake-Geauga Fund of the Cleveland Foundation was established. Since its inception, this committee-advised fund has distributed $17 million, providing funding to jumpstart new ideas, guide organizational strategy, leverage additional dollars and address high-priority program needs in Lake and Geauga counties.
In 2015, the Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors conducted an assessment and decided to integrate grantmaking in Lake and Geauga counties to give these communities access to the foundation’s monthly grantmaking opportunities. The Cleveland Foundation’s transition to become a three-county community foundation presented an opportunity for the Lake-Geauga Fund to define a new, more strategic grantmaking focus.
To inform this new focus, the foundation hosted two Fred Talks in April 2016. These forums convened nonprofit leaders and community stakeholders to participate in facilitated discussions about priorities in Lake and Geauga counties. From the priorities generated at these talks, a common theme emerged: collaboration – collaboration amongst organizations, across sectors and between various stakeholders to address community issues.
With this theme in mind, the Lake-Geauga Fund’s advisory committee has just announced a new request for grant proposals from organizations located in the foundation’s three-county footprint that provide programs and services that benefit residents of Lake and Geauga counties. The Fund is seeking proposals that demonstrate a collaborative mission addressing a significant local issue, identifying key stakeholders in the collaboration and outlining a coordinated approach to make a tangible difference. Approximately $200,000 is available for grantmaking this year for projects beginning in 2017, and proposals are due by November 14, 2016. You can get all the details about this new opportunity and learn how to apply for a grant from the Lake-Geauga Fund here.