Image of the Cleveland skylineUPDATED Sept. 1, 2020, 1 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 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 has further strained the finite resources of community health centers, homeless shelters, preschool and after-school programs, food pantries and other organizations that had 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 deploy resources to nonprofit organizations serving on the frontlines of the pandemic in our region. 

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

Cleveland Foundation office access restricted

Based on recommendations from public health officials, Cleveland Foundation operations are largely remote with a small number of staff working out of our office. Our staff remain accessible via phone and email and have the tools to continue our necessary business operations, from any location. If you are seeking to schedule a meeting with members of our staff, we ask that you conduct a video or telephone conference as an alternative as we are not accepting visitors to our office space at this time.

Our main number, 216-861-3810, is continuing to be monitored from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

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

Cleveland Foundation community events go virtual

We are honored to be able to gather the community virtually this year to join us at some of our favorite Cleveland Foundation events while also helping participants maintain physical distance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting Presented by KeyBank and Cleveland Book Week, including the 85th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, are moving to free, all-new virtual formats to include even more residents in Greater Cleveland as well as friends and partners across the country. Please save these dates, with more details to come!

2020 Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting Week Presented by KeyBank: Aug. 31 – Sept. 4

Featuring partnerships and community events with Philanthropy OhioThe City Club of Cleveland, the American Journalism Project, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and more! Get the details here

85th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards & Cleveland Book Week: Sept. 27 – Oct. 4

Featuring a televised special with WVIZ/PBS ideastream broadcast Oct. 1, alongside partnerships with the Cleveland International Film FestivalThe City Club of ClevelandGlobal Cleveland, the Great Lakes African American Writers Conference and more!

Common Ground 2020 re-envisioned 

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the national reckoning on systemic racism in America that has been at the forefront in recent weeks, Common Ground has adapted this year to give existing registered and multi-year hosts the flexibility to take action on the issues that matter to them and their communities.

Because of the current social climate, the Common Ground team felt a sense of urgency to support participants where they stand here in our shared new normal. For some, the next step may be taking immediate action or providing a service in an area of urgent need. Others may feel that connective conversations are more important than ever. Many are struggling to navigate the increasing demands for time and resources and must take a step back in order to reprioritize. With that in mind, this year’s Common Ground structure has been modified to help our community move forward. 

Visit our blog here to learn about our re-envisioned plans for Common Ground 2020, and how you can participate!

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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 Philanthropic Advisor 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).