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Youth Development

We believe Greater Cleveland residents of all ages and backgrounds should have access to equitable opportunities, comprehensive programming and holistic support systems that maximize their potential in school, work and life. The foundation works closely with partners on large-scale long-term projects, including those outlined below, and also awards grants in response to urgent community needs in the areas of youth development, health and social services.

Youth Development


The MyCom Cleveland network helps young people in Greater Cleveland lead happy, productive lives through a focus on neighborhood-based out-of-school time activities, youth employment, leadership and engagement, college and career readiness, community service and mentoring. MyCom serves more than 7,000 young people across 20 Greater Cleveland neighborhoods.

Say Yes to Education

In addition to offering postsecondary scholarships, Say Yes Cleveland convenes community partners to scale-up in-school and out-of-school support services for students and their families, including physical and mental health services, legal clinics and more. Cleveland Foundation staff work closely with Say Yes Cleveland and community partners to ensure students are accessing the supports they need to succeed in school and beyond.


A collaboration between MyCom, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), True2U is an in-school volunteer mentoring program that helps CMSD eighth graders explore their true selves and prepare to make the most of high school as the first step on the path to college and career readiness.

Youth Violence Prevention and Intervention

Through programs like Peacemakers Alliance, administered by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland, we support crime prevention and conflict mediation for youth and young adults who are at risk of, victims of, or perpetrators of violence. Peacemakers partners with local hospitals and courts to intervene when youth are involved in violent or criminal acts, and it interrupts the cycle of violence through strategic gang outreach.

Health and Social Services 

Access to Integrated Behavioral Healthcare

Through funding to groups like Frontline Services, the Cleveland Foundation has supported integrated, trauma-informed services to address the physical and behavioral health needs of Greater Cleveland’s most vulnerable individuals and families.

Support for People with Developmental Disabilities

With grants to nonprofits like New Avenues to Independence, we have supported community-based services in integrated settings to reduce isolation among people with developmental disabilities and help them to work and live as independently as possible.

Services for Individuals and Families Facing Homelessness

Through funding to organizations like Front Steps Housing and Services, we have supported  consistent, hiqh-quality programs and resources to address mental illness, substance-use disorders and other barriers to housing and income stability for homeless individuals and families in Greater Cleveland.

Special Projects

Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund 

Soon after the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Northeast Ohio, we joined funding partners across the community to launch the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund (GCCRRF), an emergency response fund designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand capacity in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by strategically and efficiently addressing impact from the coronavirus outbreak. Learn more about the GCCRRF here.

Greater Cleveland Interfaith Alliance 

Houses of worship are among the most reliable strands in the social safety net. The Greater Cleveland Interfaith Alliance is a cohort-based, two-year capacity building program that supports cross-denominational faith organizations operating as safety points and resources in their communities. There are more than 30 faith-based organizations in the Greater Cleveland Interfaith Alliance, with 10 new organizations joining in summer 2020 as part of the program’s third cohort.

Want to learn more about youth development and social services initiatives in Greater Cleveland? Check out our Youth Development & Social Services e-newsletter archive: