Our Next Chapter in Place-Based Impact

Foundation’s move to MidTown will help anchor new civic district and catalyze additional equitable neighborhood development


For more than 105 years, we have worked together with donors, residents and partners in our community to enhance the vibrancy of Cleveland’s neighborhoods and public spaces. We are thrilled to announce our intentions to realize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to join community partners in the creation of a new civic district in MidTown Cleveland.

Our board of directors has unanimously authorized the creation of a new home for the community’s foundation that will help to anchor an innovative civic hub planned around the historic Dunham Tavern Museum. This project builds on the foundation’s century-long commitment to place-building and neighborhood revitalization, and it will serve our mission by enhancing the quality of life in Cleveland neighborhoods and by strengthening the fabric of our city as a whole.

The Vision – A Sense of Place and a Sense of Arrival 

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

Celebrating the Dunham Tavern Museum’s roots as a historical gathering place and urban green space, 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.

We envision our future headquarters will include a significant amount of space that is open, accessible and useful to the community. 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. 

Following our board’s unanimous approval at the end of June regarding this vision and our relocation to MidTown, we will now be selecting a Cleveland firm to partner with S9 Architecture and serve as the local architect of record, with the overwhelming majority of the project budget to be spent locally in our community. We estimate that this project will take up to three years to complete, including design, construction and relocation. The foundation plans to finalize the purchase of land and move forward with the headquarters project as soon as outstanding contingencies are promptly resolved. 

Creating a New Welcoming Space for the Community

Many in the community have begun to express support for the vision of a new civic district in MidTown and the partnership with the Cleveland Foundation.

Cleveland Foundation Press Release

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 partnered with the community to support an important vision to redevelop the entire theater district and downtown Cleveland. We are proud to have played a role in the rebirth of Playhouse Square, which today welcomes more than 1 million guests to more than 1,000 events each year and is recognized as the largest performing arts center in the country outside of New York City.

With the expiration of our current lease in Playhouse Square on the horizon in 2020, 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 make a similarly transformational impact in neighborhoods across the city. More than a decision about office space, we viewed this as an opportunity to further our mission and strengthen our connections to Cleveland neighborhoods.

Why MidTown? How was this decision reached?

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 vision to enhance neighborhoods throughout the core city of Cleveland. We believe MidTown and the surrounding neighborhoods 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 propel current and future development by physically locating in the area. This project represents our commitment to establishing a model for sustainable, inclusive 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 civic hub that connects the city geographically, both east and west along Euclid Avenue as well as north and south along E. 66th Street. It is designed to create a new sense of arrival and a new sense of place.

Celebrating the Dunham Tavern Museum’s roots as a historical gathering place and urban green space, 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. 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.

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 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. 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 – the world’s first community foundation – in being a part of our exciting next chapter. We will work with our partners including CDCs, neighborhood groups, civic leaders, etc. who have been working in the community for decades. We believe this project should reflect community input and build on the forward momentum of MidTown while embracing and celebrating the heritage of surrounding neighborhoods. We envision our future headquarters to include a significant amount of space that is open, accessible and useful to the community. 

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

We estimate that this project will take up to three years to complete, including design, construction and relocation. The foundation plans to finalize the purchase of land and move forward with the headquarters project as soon as outstanding contingencies are promptly resolved.

How will this 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, using our assets, our reputation and our convening power to partner with neighborhoods to 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 catalyze the community’s shared vision for enhancing the East 66th Street corridor, from Euclid Avenue to the League Park District.

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 MidTown. It will enhance and expand Dunham Tavern Museum’s campus, providing resources to improve its existing green space, strengthen its connections to the surrounding neighborhoods, create a new east-west greenway, and elevate its presence in the community.

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

For more than 105 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 unprecedented and game-changing projects that align with our mission and values.

This project – the relocation of our headquarters and the launch of a new civic district in MidTown – represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to catalyze transformative, equitable development in Cleveland. We are leading by example, putting our resources to best use and boldly committing to the essence of place-based philanthropy. It will serve our mission by enhancing the quality of life in Cleveland neighborhoods and by strengthening the fabric of our city as a whole.

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