Image of the Cleveland skylineUPDATED April 22, 2020, 3 P.M. EST

Dear Friends,

The well-being of the Greater Cleveland community has been our focus for more than a century. During that time, our community has faced a number of serious challenges: from the 1918 Influenza pandemic to the HIV epidemic – from the Great Depression to the Great Recession. Through it all, the Cleveland Foundation has stood ready to help our partners and neighbors weather the storm. Today, our community faces a new challenge presented by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The threat may be new and evolving, but our commitment to helping our community navigate this latest challenge remains steadfast.

The health and safety of our partners, staff and neighbors is our top priority. Following the guidance of public health officials, the foundation has activated procedures to conduct our work remotely and reschedule in-person meetings and public events. We have plans to implement the necessary business operations that will allow us to continue to serve our grantee partners and donors while following social distancing practices. Below, we have provided more details about these procedures and plans, as well as helpful resources.

As this situation continues to unfold, the foundation is actively listening to our partners who are serving on the front lines of this pandemic, and we are prepared to respond to the needs of our community as they arise. We have joined corporate, civic and philanthropic partners as well as individual donors from across the region to launch the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, an emergency 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 outbreak. You can learn more about the fund here. 

We will continue to provide updates and recommendations as necessary in the coming days and weeks via email, our website and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn). We encourage you to closely monitor updates and review the valuable resources provided by the CDC as well as our state and local health departments. Please take care of yourselves and consider the needs of others. Our community must act in solidarity – and with an abundance of caution – to protect our family members, friends and neighbors.

Finally, we encourage you to support local nonprofits that are serving the most vulnerable individuals and families in our community. This pandemic will further strain the finite resources of community health centers, homeless shelters, preschool and after-school programs, food pantries and other organizations that have already been dealing with reductions in state and federal funding.

Times like this remind us of our common humanity. Together, we must honor that humanity and step up to serve the greater good. 


Ronn Richard
President & Chief Executive Officer
Cleveland Foundation

Support the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

A coalition of Northeast Ohio philanthropic partners have joined together to create the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to deploy resources to nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines of the pandemic in our region. The Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible. The fund will provide grant awards on a rolling basis to nonprofit organizations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties.

Learn More About the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

Cleveland Foundation employees working remotely; office access restricted

Based on guidelines from public health officials related to social distancing, our office operations have transitioned to a 100% remote environment, beyond essential personnel who need to access our physical space on an as-needed basis. While we anticipate continuing in this manner until May 31, we will review and assess the latest developments and scale up or scale back as appropriate for our staff and guests. All office phones will be routed to personal cell phones, and our staff will remain accessible to the community throughout this time. We are not shutting down – we are simply looking out for the safety of our colleagues and guests, who on average, host or participate in more than 200 meetings each week in our current space. This is why we have plans in place to implement the necessary business operations that will enable us to conduct our work remotely. We will resume face-to-face operations in our office once it is advisable to do so.

Our main number, 216-861-3810, will be routed to a foundation-issued mobile phone designated specifically for these types of situations. Our receptionist will be monitoring this phone as normal from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Grant and planned gifts processing and distribution of checks/EFT will continue.

Cleveland Foundation events being rescheduled

All public and private Cleveland Foundation events are being cancelled or rescheduled. We are making public notifications as well as contacting those who have been invited or RSVP’d. 

Events cancelled include:

  • March Donor Conversations
  • March Fund Forum
  • Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards March winners announcement in-person event in Parma

Events being rescheduled include:

  • The African American Philanthropy Summit has been rescheduled as an all-virtual event Saturday, May 30. Learn more and register.
  • Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting presented by KeyBank

Please subscribe to the Cleveland Foundation monthly e-newsletter for the latest news, events and information.

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The Steven A. Minter Conference Center closed at present time

The Cleveland Foundation has suspended all meetings in our public conference facility – The Steven A. Minter Conference Center – until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to resuming our partnership with the nonprofit community to provide access to this free conference space as soon as it is advisable.

A message to our nonprofit partners

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting nonprofits in many ways. The Cleveland Foundation is here to support our partners across Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. In addition to funding available through the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund, we continue to accept grant inquiries through our regular grantmaking process. Please note that we have temporarily adjusted some of our grantmaking practices and reporting requirements in response to the crisis. You can learn more here

Cleveland Foundation maintains protections against market volatility

Recent market volatility has not changed our investment approach, which is anchored on our long-term investment horizon. We remain confident that this will allow us to generate value above our targeted return over full market cycles by capturing the mispricing of capital markets relative to fundamental value. Foundation portfolios are intentionally diversified with intelligent hedges and strategies targeted to dampen market volatility in order to create “all weather” portfolios, and performance to-date has illustrated the power of that diversification and hedging. The Investment Committee of the board, foundation staff and outside advisors are monitoring both unfolding market data and our portfolio positions and managers diligently. Donors and organizational fund partners may contact their donor relations officer with any questions or concerns.

Looking for COVID-19 information?

The Ohio Department of Health is a credible source for the public, businesses, community organizations and healthcare providers looking for updated information about COVID-19. Please visit for resources or dial the state’s call center with questions via: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).