Cleveland Foundation headquarters rendering

Open New Doors with Us  

The Cleveland Foundation is excited to join residents, nonprofit partners and community leaders as part of a larger movement of equitable growth and placekeeping efforts already underway across Cleveland’s MidTown and Hough neighborhoods.  

What does “placekeeping” mean?

You may be familiar with the common term “placemaking.” “Placekeeping” is a different approach.

Placekeeping involves long-term creative collaboration with current residents and stakeholders to preserve and strengthen the elements they love about their neighborhood or public space and ensure new developments are aligned with their desires and needs.

After more than 100 years, it’s time to move out of an office building and into our community. Our move to MidTown represents an investment in Greater Cleveland’s neighborhoods and a fundamental change in the way we interact with you. Building our new home at the center of Cleveland’s core will connect us with the amazing work that is planned or already underway in the area, including the long-standing vision of Dunham Tavern Museum to make its campus welcoming and inviting to neighborhood residents; the creation of an innovation district that is focused on an economy that will work for everyone, with jobs of the future for all skill levels; as well as the reimagining of E. 66th St. that has been designed by residents and youth alike to connect the city north to south from Superior Ave. to Euclid Ave. Together, we can create a future that honors the history, social fabric and generations of residents while supporting growth that benefits the entire community.

The future E. 66th St. rendering

The future E. 66th St. looking north from Euclid Ave.

As a community foundation, our mission is to partner with our entire community, from non-profit organizations to individuals and families, to enhance the quality of life for everyone who calls Greater Cleveland home. Now, as we look forward to joining and building relationships with new neighbors in Cleveland’s core city neighborhoods, we can’t wait to continue to serve the people and organizations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties who made us the foundation we are today, the foundation we strive to be tomorrow and the foundation we can just imagine for the next century and beyond.

The Vision – Creating a Welcoming Space by the Community, for the Community  

Centered around a vibrant, welcoming and expanded community green space and the historic Dunham Tavern Museum, the area surrounding our new home will bring together people who live, work, learn, create, innovate and enjoy their free time in the neighborhood. This mixed-use hub will connect the city east and west along Euclid Ave. as well as north and south along E. 66th St. Co-designed by residents and local partners, developments to the district will preserve and enhance the neighborhood’s natural environment, social connections and diverse economic opportunities. Easily accessible via public transit, the district is intended to be a welcoming destination for all Greater Clevelanders as well as a unifying link between two of the city’s existing civic and cultural centers: Downtown Cleveland and University Circle. Join us.

Cleveland Foundation main lobby rendering

The entrance lobby on the ground floor of our headquarters looking east toward the Dunham Tavern Museum campus.

Welcoming 

Our new home will provide accessible community space for the people of Greater Cleveland to come together, work together and celebrate together. We want you to feel that this is a place where you are welcome, where you can be inspired to partner with others in the community, and where you can see your future possibilities and the possibilities of Greater Cleveland.

If this is the home of your community’s foundation, you should be able to access it, use it, and see yourself in it. To be the best neighbor we can be, we are reducing the footprint of our current workspace design by at least one third so that we can expand the availability of community space in our new home, including:  

  • A welcoming lobby that invites you in to be a part of your community’s foundation
  • An interactive art space showcasing the work of local artists and creators through rotating displays
  • A public café serving food and beverage options that will be operated by a local, mission-driven organization or entrepreneur who is committed to social impact
  • Additional spaces will be available by reservation for nonprofit or community use, including:
    • The Steven A. Minter Conference Center featuring multiple free meeting spaces available for nonprofits to use throughout the week
    • Additional ground-floor conference rooms for meetings and gatherings
    • A multipurpose room for community events, classes, performances and other activities
    • A community staircase connecting the second and third floors, offering informal gathering and event space
    • Indoor-outdoor event and meeting spaces on the building’s third floor featuring sweeping views of the city and a large terrace
Community staircase rendering

A community staircase connecting the second and third floors of our headquarters will offer informal gathering and event space.

In addition, we’re thrilled to announce that Neighborhood Connections will co-locate its offices in our new home – with a street-level presence on E. 66th St. – as it continues the critical work of building a more just, equitable and inclusive community. If you have ever been to a Neighbor Up Night, you know just how exciting this is that we are coming together in this new space.

Sustainable & Universal Design

The materials and design of our new home will bring the outdoors in and connect the environments within and beyond the building’s walls. Universal design features will ensure people of all physical abilities are able to move through the building easily. Free onsite and adjacent parking as well as the building’s location along major public transit lines will allow more people to conveniently travel to and from our home. The visibility and accessibility of our offices will help us better serve our community, providing a welcoming space where everyone can come together to address our greatest challenges and embrace our greatest opportunities.

MidTown Civic District greenspace

A civic district immediately surrounding our headquarters will make the area more walkable and inviting to residents and visitors, strengthen connections with neighborhoods north and south along E. 66th St., and expand greenspace around the Dunham Tavern Museum by a net acre.

Our new home is also being designed with the natural environment top-of-mind. As planned, the building is expected to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for green building design, with the goal of eventually achieving LEED Platinum standing – the highest sustainable design certification in the LEED rating system. A 250-kilowatt solar canopy over the surface parking lot will offer electric vehicle charging stations and is estimated to produce up to 60% of total annual electric demand for our headquarters building, providing enough renewable power to offset 542,080 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Over a 30-year period, this solar canopy is estimated to have the same carbon reduction benefit as 75,055 trees.

We’re excited and committed to move forward with this project, which aligns with ongoing efforts by many community partners and residents to realize long-term, equitable social and economic development in the heart of the MidTown, Hough and Central neighborhoods. We look forward to breaking ground soon and opening our doors to this new, accessible community space in summer 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is the Cleveland Foundation moving?

For nearly 40 years, we have been grateful to call Playhouse Square home. During that time, we have played a role in the community effort to redevelop the theater district and downtown Cleveland. With our current lease set to expire, our board and staff had a chance to thoughtfully explore a wide range of options for our future home and to determine whether there was an opportunity to play a similar role in the development of a different Cleveland neighborhood. More than a decision about office space, we viewed this as an opportunity to further our mission and strengthen our connections to Cleveland neighborhoods and to the people we serve.

Why this location? How was this decision reached?

Home to more than 650 organizations, including 50 nonprofits, 12 design and architecture firms, 75 health-tech and high-tech ventures, dozens of manufacturers and hundreds of small businesses, MidTown is a vital economic hub in the city. More than 18,000 people work in MidTown and more than 2,000 people call the area home. We recognized an opportunity to plant our roots in a district with a rich history and an exciting future, linking two of the city’s civic and cultural centers: Downtown Cleveland and University Circle.   

Nearly three years ago, our board of directors approved a set of selection criteria to evaluate potential sites for our future headquarters. Priorities included:

  • enhanced accessibility, visibility and compatibility to strengthen the foundation’s ties to the community;
  • feasibility in terms of cost and timeline;
  • and the opportunity to make a catalytic impact that would benefit the surrounding neighborhoods and Greater Cleveland as a whole while establishing a model for sustainable development.

The site in MidTown emerged as the strongest option that not only satisfied the criteria but represented the greatest chance to enhance our physical accessibility and make a city-wide impact.  

This move builds on more than 15 years of Cleveland Foundation investment in MidTown and is part of a broader community vision to enhance neighborhoods throughout the core city of Cleveland while honoring ongoing placekeeping efforts. We believe MidTown and the surrounding neighborhoods - including Hough and Central - are currently on the verge of the same type of exciting transformation that Playhouse Square was when we first moved there, and we see an opportunity to be part of this current and future development by physically locating in the area. This project represents our commitment to establishing a model for sustainable, inclusive and equitable development in Cleveland neighborhoods.

What is the vision for this new civic district in MidTown?

Centered around a vibrant green space and easily accessible via public transit, the new district is envisioned as an innovative mixed-use hub that connects the city geographically both east and west along Euclid Ave. as well as north and south for a mile along E. 66th St. It is designed to create a new sense of arrival and a new sense of place in the heart of the city.

Recognizing the disconnect between the Dunham Tavern Museum’s roots as a stagecoach stop on the Buffalo-Cleveland-Detroit post road and the current need for urban green space that has been informed by the community, this new district will be a welcoming destination for all Greater Clevelanders – residents, community leaders, entrepreneurs and students alike – as well as a unifying link between two of the city’s existing civic and cultural centers: Downtown Cleveland and University Circle.

Will this affect the foundation’s grantmaking or commitment to other neighborhoods?

Our move to MidTown will not affect our grantmaking support of Greater Cleveland’s nonprofit organizations. The cost of our new headquarters is similar to the rent we currently pay in Playhouse Square, and we intend the building to be a long-term asset for the community. The dollars being used for the headquarters project are entirely separate from our grantmaking funds. We have a long history of making significant place-based investments across the core city of Cleveland while continuing our grantmaking in other neighborhoods and areas of need. We remain committed to serving our three-county footprint of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties.

It is our hope that the enhanced visibility and accessibility of our offices will help us better serve our community, providing a welcoming space where everyone can come together to address our greatest challenges and embrace our greatest opportunities.

How will this impact existing residents of MidTown and the surrounding neighborhoods? How will they be involved in the process?

Our goal is to be a good neighbor to the residents of MidTown and the surrounding neighborhoods. We look forward to working closely with existing residents to understand how best we can join them to become a trusted partner in the neighborhood. This is already happening with the E. 66th St. planning project, which has incorporated a Hough Youth Council and a Resident Council in the decision-making process. As this project unfolds, we will continue to be purposeful in our planning to ensure we are engaging with, and learning from, our neighbors.

We are inviting the community to join its community foundation in being a part of our exciting next chapter. We will work with our partners including CDCs, neighborhood groups, civic leaders, and others who have been working in the community for decades. We believe this project should be informed by community input, leverage placekeeping efforts already underway and build on the forward momentum of MidTown – while embracing and celebrating the heritage of surrounding neighborhoods.

What is the timeline for this project – how long will it take?

We hope to break ground by the end of this year and open our doors to the community in summer 2022.

How will this project benefit the community?

When our board of directors unanimously approved this move, it kept the community and neighborhoods at the heart of its decision-making process. We are purposefully locating ourselves in the beating heart of this city to partner with neighborhoods and support their ongoing work toward equitable growth and development.

Our move to MidTown will accelerate existing and planned development in the district and surrounding neighborhoods and help to unite the city between Downtown Cleveland and University Circle. The development of the new civic district in MidTown will also further the community’s shared vision for enhancing the East 66th St. corridor from Euclid Ave. through the League Park District and north to Superior Ave., with the aim of creating a national-model public space that emphasizes seamless connectivity and accessibility via a 21st century green street.

You mentioned “a significant amount of space” at the future home will be accessible to the public. What will that look like?

To be the best neighbor we can be, we are reducing the footprint of our current workspace design by at least one third so that we can expand the availability of community space in our new home, including: 

  • A welcoming lobby that invites you in to be a part of your community’s foundation
  • An interactive art space showcasing the work of local artists and creators through rotating displays
  • A public café serving takeout and beverage options that will be operated by a local, mission-driven organization or entrepreneur who is committed to social impact
  • Additional spaces will be available by reservation for nonprofit or community use, including:
    • The Steven A. Minter Conference Center featuring multiple free meeting spaces available for nonprofits to use throughout the week
    • Additional ground-floor conference rooms for meetings and gatherings
    • A multipurpose room for community events, classes, performances and other activities
    • A community staircase connecting the second and third floors, offering informal gathering and event space
    • Indoor-outdoor event and meeting spaces on the building’s third floor featuring sweeping views of the city and a large terrace that can be booked for private gatherings

In addition, we’re thrilled to announce that Neighborhood Connections will co-locate its offices in our new home – with a street-level presence on E. 66th St. – as it continues the critical work of building a more just, equitable and inclusive community. If you have ever been to a Neighbor Up Night, you know just how exciting this is that we are coming together in this new space.

It looks like construction has already begun on the site. Why is that?

In order to move forward with the planned construction, the site needed to be remediated. This required the removal of underground gas tanks that had been on the property for decades. We plan to break ground on the construction of our future home later this year.

How will this change the Dunham Tavern’s existing museum and green space?

This partnership with Dunham Tavern Museum will ultimately help it to achieve its stated long-term goal of becoming a more accessible, usable green space for the surrounding neighborhood. By weaving together four key objectives – history, education, nature and community – the Dunham Tavern Museum’s plan will enhance and expand its campus, providing resources to improve its existing green space with plazas, gardens and intimate public parks; strengthen its connection to the surrounding neighborhoods with visible entry points; create a Heritage Trail and new east-west greenway; and elevate its presence in the community by telling the complete story of the land. These developments will expand the current green space surrounding the Dunham Tavern Museum’s campus by an additional net acre.

How is this consistent with the foundation’s mission and the intent of its donors?

For more than 106 years, our donors have chosen to work with us as a trusted partner in our shared philanthropic mission to enhance the lives of all Greater Cleveland residents, now and for generations to come. Thanks to the responsible stewardship and visionary leadership of the foundation’s board and staff over the years, we have successfully undertaken game-changing projects that align with our mission and values.

This project represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be part of transformative and equitable development in Cleveland’s core city neighborhoods. It will serve our mission by improving the quality of life in Cleveland neighborhoods and by strengthening the fabric of our city as a whole.

Contact Us
Email your questions and feedback about the future home of the Cleveland Foundation and follow #CLEHome on social media for updates.