Celebrating Black Philanthropy: #BlackFuturesFundCLE invests in neighborhood development, health and human services

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By Cameron Aloway, Cleveland Foundation Marketing & Communications Intern

August is Black Philanthropy Month. As we celebrate the power of giving in the Black community, we’re showcasing the work and talent of organizations that received grants from the Cleveland Foundation’s Cleveland Black Futures Fund in its second round of funding. Launched in 2020, the Cleveland Black Futures Fund (CBFF) supports an ecosystem of Black-led and Black-serving organizations through funding and fellowship opportunities. With careful selection, the foundation awarded $1.6 million to 43 Black-led and Black-serving grantees for its second round of grantmaking. In our third blog of the series, we’re highlighting grantees who are investing in neighborhood development as well as health and human services for the benefit of Greater Cleveland residents.

Neighborhood Development

Greater Collinwood Development Corporation

Greater Collinwood Development Corporation Logo Although the name and service area have changed throughout the years, the Greater Collinwood Development Corporation remains committed to the successful redevelopment of Greater Cleveland neighborhoods. The organization creates new opportunities for home ownership through its housing redevelopment program, home repair assistance and community engagement. Overall, the service area of Greater Collinwood Development Corporation represents roughly 35,000 residents in seven commercial districts and four industrial corridors.

The organization’s Five Pointe Community Center serves people in the Greater Collinwood area by focusing on inclusive programming that provides adequate resources for all residents. As a local community center, Five Pointe Community Center is dedicated to the ongoing effort to build a stronger community in Collinwood. Learn how you can support the Greater Collinwood Development Corporation by visiting their website or following them on Facebook.

Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association

Established in 1963, The Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association (NCA) was created as the first metropolitan-wide organization to help, plan, coordinate and budget the work of neighborhood centers in the country. NCA works to serve as a fiscal agent for publicly funded organizations supporting neighborhoods by providing administrative and technical assistance and coordinating professional development to staff. Greater Cleveland NCA supports a plethora of local nonprofits that serve residents of all ages to build a better, inclusive community.

Learn how you can be involved with the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association by visiting their website or following them on Instagram.

Health & Human Services

Bessie’s Angels, Inc.

Established in 2015, Bessie’s Angels was founded with the mission to educate, empower and nurture young women in Greater Cleveland impacted by the foster care system. Through its permanent low-income housing, Bessie’s Place provides food and shelter to displaced young adults while directly addressing homelessness in the city. Young women involved in programming have the opportunity to stay in Bessie’s Place up to the age of 24.

Bessies Angels logoBessie’s Place offers a range of services aiding and uplifting young women. Along with housing, Bessie’s Place addresses hunger through its pantry open to any members of the program. The housing program also offers free laundry, financial assistance and workshops on budgeting and goal setting. Bessie’s Angels invites 100 local businesses and organizations to help their initiative to support and empower young Greater Cleveland women.

Learn how you can support Bessie’s Angels or register for their services by visiting their website.

BEST Community Resource Center

BEST Community Resource Center (BCRC) was founded to be the pivotal point of contact for Greater Cleveland residents seeking supportive networks for all human service needs. BCRC works collaboratively with human service agencies across Greater Cleveland to effectively respond to and assist residents and families. Programs BCRC facilitates include academic support for at-risk students and its “Food and Nutrition Education Program.”

Best Community Resources LogoUpon request, the BCRC’s Mobile Academic Classroom (MAC) creates a quality learning environment for students and instructors by providing an innovative approach with access to training, including Adult, GED and financial literacy, career development and computer classes. With its dedication to create a better life for Greater Cleveland families, BCRC provides free and confidential assistance to residents regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation to create new opportunities for the overall community. Stay connected with BEST Community Resource Center on their website, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Broken Connections, Inc.

Providing clothing, food and shelter, Broken Connections, Inc. (BCI) serves as a community-based support service assisting runaway and homeless youth across Greater Cleveland. BCI works to alleviate the problems faced by runaways, helps with the reunification and strengthening of familial relationships and assists youth in making positive life decisions.

Serving as a bridge for the city’s runaways and homeless, BCI aims to help them find their place through its BCI Basic Center Program (BCP). Utilizing community-based group home strategies, BCP provides emergency housing for 12 runaways and homeless youth for up to 21 days. BCP offers a homelike atmosphere to create a safe and inclusive environment. To learn how you can be involved with Broken Connections, Inc., visit their website, or follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.

Daughters of Hadassah House

With the aim to be a pivotal support system for young women transitioning out of foster care, Daughters of Hadassah House provides group support and housing to help residents adequately take care of responsibilities. Through the H.A.R.T House, Daughters of Hadassah House strives to bring awareness and help Greater Cleveland youth understand the impact of racism and sustain momentum for positive change.

H.A.R.T House’s three-phase approach is built on diverse concepts and an antiracism curriculum; residents will be encouraged to foster interactive learning that engages in the prospect of self-development with the provision of food and shelter. Visit Daughters of Hadassah House on Facebook to learn more about their story.

Life Exchange Center

Life Exchange logo The Life Exchange Center (LEC) is a peer-run organization with a mission to advocate and empower residents with mental illness or recovering from substance abuse. LEC provides a welcoming environment for residents to feel safe and understood and to make progress on a one-on-one basis. As a peer-led program, LEC focuses on the experience of the peer staff who have a mental illness or have formally recovered from substance abuse, creating a personal connection to the organization. By showcasing that members can lead a full and meaningful life, LEC served and supported 71 Cuyahoga County residents diagnosed with serve mental illness and frequent history of substance abuse in 2021.

Learn how you can support the Life Exchange Center and attend their weekly events on their website or follow them via Instagram.

Project LIFT Behavioral Health Services

With a mission to provide Black men with comprehensive health and recovery services, Project LIFT Behavioral Health Services works to promote social justice to improve access and resources to be culturally responsive and inclusive. Project LIFT Services prioritizes the needs of Black men through a holistic approach to address three key areas of wellness: mental health, social functioning and prevention.

Project LIft logoGuided through the values of learning, ingenuity, fortitude and triumph, Project LIFT Services is grounded on the belief that the best action goal of wellness is prevention through educational workshops, life skills training, and early intervention for resource linkage and treatment. Through innovative means, the organization sees that change and learning can occur without boundaries by meeting their clients where they are – this can include meeting them at barbershops, parks or during games.

Project LIFT Services maintains a safe and culturally responsive space for Black men who feel confused, lost or invisible. Learn more about the nonprofit and how you can support Project LIFT Behavioral Health Services on their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Spirit of Excellence, Inc.

Spirit of Excellence logoOver 39,000 Cuyahoga County adult residents live with cognitive disabilities. Built on the mission to uphold agencies and create vocational and recreational programs, Spirit of Excellence, Inc. supports the mental and physical growth of those living with developmental disabilities. Spirit of Excellence, Inc. connects residents in with adequate support to enable life-enhancing experiences and activities enjoyed throughout Greater Cleveland.

Through partnerships with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, Spirit of Excellence, Inc. established two adult programs to support Greater Cleveland residents: Rhythm of Life Adult Day Program and Your Excellence Transportation LLC. Both programs directly respond to the critical needs by engaging in one-on-one and group music and art therapy as well as activities to advance and promote healthy living to residents in need.

Learn more about how Spirit of Excellence, Inc. uses its resources to advance its community by visiting their website or following them via Facebook.

SOS Initiatives, Stewards of Strong Initiatives, Inc.

One in four children in Greater Cleveland does not know where their next meal will come from. Stewards of Strong Initiatives (SOS) works with disadvantaged youth and adults to help them work through problems through advocacy, education and resources. The SOS Initiatives Smart Food Solutions program dispatches drivers three days a week, eliminating the barrier of transportation by delivering quality prepared meals and frozen foods to the doors of residents across Northeast Ohio. In 2020, SOS delivered 37.5 tons of frozen food to hungry families and individuals and today is working to deliver more food to residents in need.

The Cleveland Black Futures Fund will be extending funding in a third round of grants, with applications opening Aug. 1. Black-led and Black-serving organizations can learn more and apply for a grant here.

Join us by making a gift to the Cleveland Black Futures Fund or by signing up to the newsletter for updates regarding the fund. 

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