Dear Friends

Challenging times like these put extra demands on all of us. Yet we are pleased that as a result of our prudent financial and operational management, and our ability to be flexible and act with a sense of urgency, the foundation was able to respond effectively over a tough year and help a great many nonprofits and citizens in need.


Much credit goes to our deeply committed board and staff, our caring donors, and our exceptional grantees and community partners. We thank each of you.

solid footing In the most difficult economy since the Great Depression, the foundation continues to be on extremely solid footing financially.

2008 was a very difficult year in the financial markets, and we were not immune to the repercussions. However, we had prepared for a rainy day with a well-diversified investment portfolio and carefully accumulated financial reserves.

At a time when others were seeing the value of their investments drop 40 percent or more, our composite return was a negative 26 percent, significantly better than the market overall. Though negative, our returns are still among the very best of community and private foundations nationally. And because of our substantial liquidity, our losses were largely “paper losses,” and they have been reduced considerably with the rise in the markets in recent months.

At year-end 2007, the value of our endowment was more than $2.2 billion, the highest in our history. By year-end 2008, it was $1.6 billion. However, in the first six months of 2009, we have seen it rise substantially – again at a rate that significantly outperforms the market – so that, as of this moment, it stands at more than $1.8 billion.

Our Investment Committee has done a terrific job in helping us navigate turbulent waters, and we are very appreciative.

great needs, great grants, great gifts In 2008, we authorized more than 3,100 grants, ranging from a few hundred dollars to $4 million, with a combined value of $84 million.

Despite the bad economy, in 2008 we managed to attract the highest level of donations in our history. We took in more than $71.7 million in new gifts and received pledges for a large number of testamentary gifts for the future. This record level of giving by our wonderful donors is why we can serve our community so well, precisely when we are needed most. We are pleased that those giving trends are continuing in 2009.

As you read the personal and inspiring stories throughout this report, we hope you will gain a deeper understanding of our work and its positive impact on our community year after year, as we carry out our donors’ wishes.

This year was characterized by our determination to help with the urgent, short-term needs of our fellow citizens in a challenging period, while simultaneously advancing our many and varied longer-term strategic projects to strengthen our city in the future.

We believe we have been able to accomplish both goals.

short-term actions The foundation stepped up efforts to meet our community’s most pressing needs in many important ways.

We created the Basic Needs Fund to support nonprofit organizations that provide basic human services and assist Greater Clevelanders who lack such essentials as food, clothing, and shelter.

We temporarily put our major annual capital grants program on hold, directing additional dollars to the community’s immediate needs.

We significantly shortened the time it takes to process grants, trying to be as flexible and helpful to our grantees as possible.

Many grants were made to assist those who have lost jobs or homes, or are struggling with addiction – problems caused or exacerbated by the financial crisis.

We held a series of six community conversations, involving 250 organizations, to hear directly from grantees about how they are faring and what we could do to help.

We added a website feature called Greater Cleveland Area Pulse ( to show how the downturn is affecting the county and to highlight the great need for financial assistance. There we show what we are doing, and what you can do, to help.

long-term solutions We also continue to focus on a significant number of opportunities to make progress in Cleveland over time. Specifically, we are addressing the vital areas of economic development (including energy and globalization), transformation of the public school system, neighborhood revitalization, human services especially in the area of youth development, and the arts. You will learn much more about our work in each vital area in subsequent pages of this report.

In economic development, we are involved in dozens of activities to attract international businesses to Cleveland and help local businesses and institutions expand in international markets. Toward this end, we conceived of and assisted Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson with several overseas trade missions. And we are seeing good results. Companies and organizations from Europe and Costa Rica are setting up operations in Cleveland, and we are pursuing opportunities in India, China, France, Germany, Spain, and Canada.

We continue to support key economic driver organizations like BioEnterprise, JumpStart, Team NEO, NorTech, and the new Energy Enterprise through significant contributions to the Fund for our Economic Future.

We are exercising our leadership in advanced energy, working closely with and supporting the State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University, the Great Lakes Science Center, and other partners. We are working hard to establish Cleveland as the epicenter for the manufacture of wind turbines and their components, as well as for advanced energy R&D in the areas of wind, solar, fuel cells, and more. We believe the renewable energy industry will create thousands of new jobs and tax revenues for the Cleveland economy.

In education, we continue to work closely with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and our philanthropic partners to develop a portfolio of new, innovative, excellent urban schools. This collaboration has resulted in the opening of eight new-concept schools. We are delighted that key indicators show these schools are quickly and significantly outperforming others in the district. We also are supporting the development of promising charter and independent schools that educate urban children, and we have high hopes for these as well.

In addition, we have made a significant investment in three projects to rapidly increase academic achievement: a study of school facilities, an audit of special schools and programs, and an analysis on turning around chronically low-performing schools. Working also with the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, we helped develop an education public policy report with recommendations for reforming education to make Ohio more globally competitive. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has included 80 percent of those recommendations in his education reform plan.

Our support of city neighborhoods remains strong, not just in housing, but with an increased focus on job creation.

The Cleveland Center for Arts and Technology, a replication of Pittsburgh’s highly successful Manchester Bidwell training center, is moving well along. It will provide career training and good employment opportunities for unemployed and low-income residents as well as year-round, after-school arts programs aimed at preventing at-risk youth from dropping out of school. It is scheduled to be up and running by the first quarter of 2010.

Existing initiatives in Greater University Circle, led by strong partnerships, are flourishing and stimulating reinvestment in the area, with new construction and development. With Shorebank Enterprise Group, we have launched the first two businesses of what is expected to be a dozen employee-owned, for-profit entrepreneurial ventures, known as Evergreen Cooperatives. They will employ hundreds of people in the neighborhoods and give them a chance to build equity in a business.

In the area of human services, we have been focusing on youth development via MyCom, which stands for My Commitment, My Community. MyCom collaborates with nonprofit and neighborhood groups across Greater Cleveland to enrich kids’ lives with thousands of after-school and summer activities, as well as summer jobs. Our major partner in this effort is Cuyahoga County.

In arts and culture, we continue to support Greater Cleveland’s excellent arts and cultural institutions through these challenging times. We also are moving ahead with Creative Fusion, a project to bring several resident international artists to Cleveland for long-term residencies, adding an exciting new dimension to our cultural life.

our gratitude Our staff powers everything we do, from working closely with our donors to identifying creative and effective ways to address community needs. Our board of directors not only guides us but actively works on our behalf in the community in important ways. To our staff and our board, we are grateful for your dedication and inspired by your talents.

We would like to offer special recognition to the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., who recently retired from our board after 10 years of devoted service, including three years as vice chairman. The foundation and this community have been enriched by his wise counsel and abiding concern for all Greater Clevelanders.

a look ahead We are optimistic about the future of our community.

Over the next year, we will be working hard to help the mayor and the school district improve public education. We will build on our holistic approach to strengthening neighborhoods with housing, employment, education, and human services. We will do everything possible to connect Cleveland to the world, and the world to Cleveland.

Back in 1935, as the foundation reflected on the accomplishments of its first 20 years, including surviving World War I and the Depression, our annual report noted, “Despite a changing world, the philanthropic motive … will long endure.”

In 2009, in the midst of economic turmoil, we can reassert this claim, confident that our organization and the philanthropic motive are powerful forces for positive change for all times. With you as our partners, we can and will ensure Cleveland’s future success.


Ronald B. Richard signature

Ronald B. Richard
President & CEO

David Goldberg signature

David Goldberg
Chairman of the Board

October 2009