Cleveland Foundation announces $26.2 million in Q2 2020 grantmaking

Foundation, donors grant more than $58 million year-to-date

 Release Date: 6.30.2020

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors today announced $26.2 million in grants approved in the second quarter of 2020. Supporting residents in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties, the foundation and its donors have invested more than $58 million in the community year-to-date.

“This has been an unprecedented time for all of us,” said India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation senior vice president for program. “It has been heartening to see the community respond, first to the pandemic, and now to the national reckoning with racism. It’s more important than ever for the foundation to continue to fund across all of our priority areas, identifying opportunities where philanthropy can disrupt systems that have created barriers to equitable prosperity for all who call Greater Cleveland home.”

In addition to the board of directors authorizing a significant grant to help launch the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund alongside corporate, civic and philanthropic partners across the region, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in dollars granted from donor advised funds at the Cleveland Foundation. In the weeks after COVID-19 cases were first identified in Ohio, giving from donor advised funds jumped 70% from the same period last year, reflecting a nationwide trend.

“This is a real testament to our donors and highlights the true responsiveness of investing through a community foundation,” said Kaye Ridolfi, Cleveland Foundation senior vice president of advancement. “I am continually amazed by the generosity of Greater Cleveland and seeing this type of unprompted response speaks volumes about our community.”

Highlights of grants approved in the first six months of 2020 by the foundation’s board of directors include:

Youth, Health & Human Services

  • Sinai Health Care Foundation ($1,000,000) – Funding to the fiscal agent for the Lead Safe Cleveland Home Fund for a first-of-its kind, public-private partnership that will provide families and property owners the resources they need to make homes lead safe. This, along with investments from the City of Cleveland, State of Ohio, and philanthropic partners, brings the total pool of funds to more than $19 million.
  • Famicos Foundation ($2,946,000) – Funding to the fiscal agent for My Commitment to My Community (MyCom) for full-time staffing to meet the increased needs of the Say Yes Cleveland partnership, in addition to MyCom’s regular out-of-school-time programming and employment assistance for more than 8,000 youth across Cuyahoga County.
  • Cleveland Rape Crisis Center ($200,000) – To support an expanded service footprint – new offices in Shaker Square and Clark-Fulton – as well as ongoing outreach efforts supporting the African American and Latinx communities in order to become more accessible, both geographically and to individuals from underserved populations.
  • Kinnect ($105,250) – To continue to provide individual and group counseling to LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system via the Chosen Affirming Family Program, which also engages adult caregivers, providing outreach, education and counseling regarding LGBTQ issues.

Arts & Culture

  • SPACES ($50,000) – To expand the emergency relief grant program so that working artists in all disciplines may apply for a grant of up to $1,000 to replace income lost due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Rainey Institute ($300,000) – To continue to provide El Sistema (“The System”) youth classical music education training to 240 students at four different sites, with the goal to expand to more than 320 students by 2022.
  • Twelve Literary Arts ($175,000) – To expand the organization’s programmatic reach in the literary community through its various offerings, including in-school writer-in-residence programs at 12 partner schools, the after school youth poetry fellowship and poetry slam competitions.

Neighborhood Revitalization

  • MidTown Cleveland, Inc. ($600,000) – Two-year funding to help accelerate growth focused on equity and inclusion via a new master plan that will include catalyzing innovation, cultivating a mixed-income residential community, placemaking projects and strengthening AsiaTown.
  • Neighborhood Connections ($3,792,000) – Three-year funding to continue to invest in the people and neighborhoods of Cleveland and East Cleveland via its small grants program and community building work.
  • Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation ($1,183,737) – Two-year funding for the continued implementation of the Greater Circle Living initiative, which provides assistance to the employees of participating Greater University Circle non-profits and anchor institutions who wish to buy, rent, and/or rehabilitate housing in the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Downtown Cleveland Alliance ($500,000) – To support the Downtown Cleveland Recovery Fund, which was established to provide grants and business support services to small independent businesses in danger of closing following the property damages suffered after peaceful protests turned violent on May 30, with a focus on vulnerable and minority owned small businesses.
  • Group Plan Commission ($200,000) – To provide funding for the Group Plan Commission to continue to adapt and retool its operations, programming and maintenance in response to COVID-19 in Public Square and on downtown Malls A, B & C, including staff training, visitor education and awareness, installation of handwashing stations and virtual programming.


  • Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) ($100,000) – To support the organization as it expands into Ohio, with the goal of educating young people on the science, impacts, and solutions of climate change, while also creating a cohort of Action Fellows from area high schools.
  • Cleveland Water Alliance ($300,000) – Two-year funding to help strengthen and expand clean water innovation and research, to foster “blue economy” business attraction and to position Cleveland as a center of freshwater innovation.

Workforce & Economic Development

  • Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) ($415,000) – For continued development of the Early College Early Career (ECEC) program, with the goals of increasing the number of students in internships across the 10 participating schools, growing the number of participating employers, and expanding the educational options by offering additional industry certifications.
  • NewBridge ($850,000) – To help the organization expand its no-cost workforce training in phlebotomy and patient care, while growing its school-based offerings at John Adams High School and New Tech West.


  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District ($989,700) – To support the start-up and phase-in of nine new innovative high schools, including Campus International High School (Year 4); Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School (Year 4); Garrett Morgan School of Engineering and Innovation (Year 1); Garrett Morgan School of Leadership and Innovation (Year 1); John Adams College and Career Academy (Year 4); Lincoln-West School of Global Studies (Year 5); Lincoln West School of Science and Health (Year 5); Rhodes College and Career Academy (Year 3); and Rhodes School of Environmental Studies (Year 3).
  • College Now Greater Cleveland ($950,000) – To address postsecondary enrollment, persistence, and completion in Cleveland via the organization’s Say Yes advising program within Cleveland Metropolitan School District, as well as programs, services and scholarships for the more than 424,000 adults (aged 25+) in Cuyahoga County who are eligible to start or continue their postsecondary education; additional funding will support the Say Yes Scholars Program that provides coaching, comprehensive services and financial assistance for Say Yes-eligible Cleveland Metropolitan School District graduates who enroll as full-time students at Tri-C.
  • Friends of Breakthrough Schools ($500,000) – To enable the continued phase-in of grade levels at Citizens Leadership Academy Southeast in the Lee-Harvard neighborhood, as well as the expansion of the E Prep & Village Prep Woodland Hills campus in Union Miles by 50 additional seats.

Leadership Development

  • VANTAGE Aging ($184,648) – To provide workforce development services for older workers, matching job seekers (particularly those over the age of 50) with paid opportunities that match each individual’s skills and interests while simultaneously meeting the needs of a wide range of employers.
  • Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship Program ($150,000) – The 22nd summer internship cohort is currently underway in partnership with 18 nonprofit and public sector host agencies in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties. At a time when many internships have been cancelled, the paid summer interns are working on short-term projects while engaging in virtual professional development sessions, conversations with Cleveland leaders and cohort-building activities every week.

# # #