Grantmaking Highlights

We believe grants of all sizes can make a difference. Each year, we authorize about 3,000 grants to meet community needs. Following are just a sample of the grants made in 2015 in four of the areas in which we focus:


The following grants were approved by the Cleveland Foundation board of directors in September 2015 as part of the foundation’s effort to bolster career education and training programs:

  • $98,000 to Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) to continue the foundation’s key role in supporting the transformation of the district’s four career center high schools – Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Max Hayes and Washington Park – from traditional vocational education design into a comprehensive career academy model. A fifth CMSD school, Garrett Morgan School of Science will also transition to this model. Grant support includes school-based professional development, the onboarding of newly hired academy coordinators charged with developing business and higher education partnerships and the creation of career guides for the pathways offered across the five academies, detailing jobs and salaries, required postsecondary credentials and relevant high school courses. The Cleveland Foundation has provided more than $600,000 in grants to support this transformation effort.
  • $200,000 to Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) to help launch a new program that aims to create an employer-driven advanced manufacturing career pathway for Cleveland’s youth. The program will allow students in high school to earn a high school diploma, a technical degree and additional college credits towards an associate’s degree. The coursework will also be combined with manufacturing experience that is partially- to fully-funded by the employer during part-time employment.
  • $169,000 to Westside Industrial Retention & Expansion Network (WIRE-Net) for the development of an apprenticeship consortium. Six employers have signed up thus far to participate in the consortium to provide apprenticeships which will allow individuals to “earn while they learn,” combining customized work experience with technical on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
  • $250,000 to University Hospitals Health System to expand the successful Step Up to UH program, which has focused on linking residents of the Greater University Circle neighborhoods to available entry-level jobs at the health system. The program includes neighborhood-based recruitment events, a 3-week job readiness training session and post-employment coaching. To date, the program’s graduates have a 75 to 80-percent retention rate, which far exceeds the average for these typically high-turnover positions. The Cleveland Foundation provided a $200,000 grant to support the pilot stage of this program.
  • $100,000 to the Spanish American Committee for a Better Community to assist with the development and implementation of the Families First program. The program will provide job readiness and placement for community members who only speak Spanish or limited English. In addition to the job readiness and placement services, the program will incorporate financial literacy workshops so that residents have the tools to manage their finances and build wealth once employed.

Boy holding pencil, working on paper.EDUCATION

The following grants, totaling $1.3 million, were approved by the Cleveland Foundation board of directors in June 2015 to support the development of innovative schools:

  • $680,000 to Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) for the development of four new high schools:
    • $490,000 for the launch of three new schools on the rebuilt John Marshall High School Campus – the School of Civic and Business Leadership, School of Engineering and School of Information Technology.
    • $190,000 for second-year support of the Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts in downtown Cleveland. This year-round school has a programmatic partnership with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning.
  • $170,000 to Bard College for second-year support of a school model the foundation helped to bring to Cleveland last year. Bard High School Early College Cleveland is a partnership between Bard College and CMSD and is modeled after three successful urban high schools in New York City and Newark, New Jersey. All students graduate with an associate in arts degree along with their high school diploma.
  • $500,000 to Friends of Breakthrough Schools, one of the highest achieving charter school networks in Ohio. The foundation supported the launch of the Breakthrough Schools in 2010. The network has nearly tripled the number of students served in its first five years. This latest grant will help support the network’s goal to nearly double its number of schools – from 10 to 19 – within the next five years.

Cleveland Food BankHUMAN SERVICES

The following grants were approved by the Cleveland Foundation board of directors in May 2015:

  • $200,000 to support the efforts of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to expand its successful SNAP Outreach Program, which helps eligible individuals enroll in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This grant will help the Food Bank reach more SNAP-eligible households through a best-practice SNAP messaging and outreach effort.
  • $200,000 to Linking Employment Abilities & Potential (LEAP) to launch the LEAP Training Academy, a new program to train community stakeholders on effective systems of integrated care and employment for individuals with disabilities. The academy will target Cuyahoga County businesses seeking to employ individuals with disabilities and will also develop special programming for those individuals, their family members and caregivers, and professionals serving this vulnerable population.
  • $199,500 to Humility of Mary Housing to help fund renovations at its Opportunity House facility, which serves homeless young men aged 18-24 who have aged out of the foster system and have a diagnosed disability. The renovations will create private bathrooms and kitchens for each unit, a required standard for federal and state funding. The Cleveland Foundation provided early funding for this facility, which opened in 2010 after converting a former convent in Garfield Heights.
  • $70,000 to Jordan Community Resource Center (JCRC), which serves female ex-offenders, those at risk of incarceration and young women who have aged out of the foster system. The grant supports a new partnership between JCRC and the Women’s Northeast Reintegration Center to expand a certified janitorial training program onsite for women during incarceration. This follows a 2014 Cleveland Foundation grant that helped JCRC launch this Success Supportive Housing & Workforce Development
  • $75,000 to EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute to continue the Cleveland Foundation’s support of this unique culinary training program for prisoner re-entrants. The foundation provided initial start-up support to EDWINS in 2013 and this latest grant will allow the program to adjust its model to provide additional educational and case management support to its participants.
  • $200,000 to Famicos Foundation, Inc. to continue the successful Circle North Healthy Neighborhoods Project. Circle North is an area in the Glenville neighborhood where the Famicos Foundation and its project partners, including Neighborhood Connections, have targeted efforts to better link residents to University Circle institutions. This grant will help expand the project’s youth employment program, launch a Glenville Youth Summit and provide leadership training sessions for residents.

Girl dipping brush in paint paletteYOUTH DEVELOPMENT

The following are grants approved by the Cleveland Foundation board of directors in October 2015 to support youth development:

  • $185,250 to Partnership for a Safer Cleveland, which focuses on preventing youth crime and violence. This grant will support the Partnership’s work to unite existing youth violence prevention programs in our community under shared goals, objectives and data-driven strategies. This alignment supports the city of Cleveland’s recent selection to participate in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, a network of communities and federal agencies that work together, share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence.
  • $200,000 to New Directions, Inc., a comprehensive treatment facility for chemically-dependent adolescents and their families. In researching ways to sustain the recovery process for young people released from its inpatient program, New Directions discovered an app that has shown impressive results nationally in the follow-up treatment of alcohol-dependent patients. This grant will allow New Directions to purchase and adapt the app technology and align its staffing model to support this highly interactive aftercare program.
  • $125,000 to Cuyahoga County Public Library to continue the foundation’s decade-long support of the library system’s Homework Centers, which provide kindergarten through eighth grade students with high-quality homework support and academic tutoring at 10 library branches. In addition to general program support, this grant will assist with newer programming, including Family Literacy Nights and keyboarding and mouse skills instruction for kindergarten through third grade students to prepare them for school-based computerized testing.
  • $15,000 to the ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland to support the organization’s annual service program that engages 120 CMSD high school students in a year-long design project in the community. The program pairs the students with volunteer mentors from local architecture, engineering and construction firms. This year’s project will be a design contest focused on two improvement projects for the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, ahead of the Gardens’ 2016 centennial. The winning design ideas will help inform the Gardens’ planned updates to its entrance and visitor center.
  • $33,000 to Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (CCGS) to expand its guitar instruction program within the CMSD. The grant will help fund additional in-school and after-school instruction classes for students at Lincoln West High School and will allow the program to expand to Walton Elementary, to engage students at younger ages. CCGS launched the free program at Lincoln West three years ago and, in that time, participation has grown from 20 students to 150 students.

Recent Grants

Lists do not include designated grants, donor-advised grants, or grants made by supporting organizations. See all Foundation grants lists and financial statements or you can search grants.