Committed to Transforming City’s Neighborhoods

NeighborhoodsWestside MarketCleveland skyline in evening lightGive NowGive to Neighborhood Revitalization

The Cleveland Foundation takes a holistic approach to neighborhood development that aims to provide residents with options in desirable housing, quality schools, viable employers, and thoughtful retail.Through a combination of grants and guidance, the foundation is collaborating with businesses, community development groups, nonprofits, academic institutions, and others eager to transform Cleveland’s struggling neighborhoods. The foundation is strongly committed to neighborhood revitalization and downtown redevelopment.

Our Approach to Neighborhood and Community Development


neighborhood and peopleFocus: The Cleveland Foundation seeks projects that invigorate struggling neighborhoods while maintaining economic and racial inclusion for residents and businesses.

What we’re doing: Working to retain and attract residents to the city.

The foundation approved a $4.5 million grant for Neighborhood Progress Inc.’s strategic investment initiative and its support of community development corporations working to bring about the recovery of nine neighborhoods in the city of Cleveland. The funds are earmarked for development projects in each of the neighborhoods involved: Buckeye, Central, Detroit-Shoreway, Glenville, Fairfax, North Collinwood, Ohio City, Slavic Village, and Tremont. These neighborhoods have been identified as having potential for residential and economic growth.


Rendering of the Museum of Contemporary Art at nightFocus: We aim to create a vibrant “urban core” where people want to live, work, and visit.

What we’re doing: Collaborating with partners on a holistic makeover of Cleveland’s cultural epicenter, the Greater University Circle initiative, which is focused on housing, eduction, economic inclusion, transportation, and community engagement.

In July 2005, the Cleveland Foundation launched a special initiative focused on leveraging the many assets in the Greater University Circle area, which include the University Circle District, the Cleveland Clinic Campus, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and seven adjacent neighborhoods (Buckeye-Shaker, Central, Fairfax, Hough, Wade Park-Glenville, Little Italy, and East Cleveland).

5 Minutes With…India Pierce Lee

India Pierce Lee

Program Director for Neighborhoods, Housing, and Community Development

What were some of your childhood ambitions? 
I wanted to be a flight attendant. I actually ended up as an air traffic controller for a number of years.

How did you get into community development? 
In the 1980s, a councilman asked me to help build houses in his ward. Even though I had no experience at the time, I took him up on his offer and began to learn the nuances of community development from the ground up.

How did you end up at the Cleveland Foundation? 
When I saw the job description, it perfectly matched my experience. Ronn [Richard] and Bob [Eckardt] laid out their plans and their commitment for community development and showed me how sincere they were about changing the community.

What’s a typical week like for you? 
Consistently busy, lots of meetings, presentations but so many opportunities to learn from others and share. Everyday is different and it is fun. The best part is knowing we are here to serve and to make a difference in the loves of others. 

Why do you enjoy the work that you do? 
The staff is really committed. We work across all the different sectors – education, arts, human services. Ronn, Bob and the board are very supportive and willing to put the resources behind it. Working with so many committed partners who have a vision for the future of this city.