Cleveland Foundation announces $24.8 million in Q1 2021 grantmaking

Release Date: 3.25.2021

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors today announced $24.8 million in grants approved in the first quarter of 2021 to support residents in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. Highlights of grants approved in the first three months of 2021 by the foundation’s board of directors include:

Youth, Health & Human Services

  • CHN Housing Capital ($250,000) – While Cleveland’s overall rate of childhood lead poisoning is estimated at 12%, childhood lead poisoning is disproportionately borne by Cleveland’s low-income households, including and especially those households located in predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhoods. As part of the Lead Safe Home Fund, CHN Housing Capital is working to help solve this problem by providing loans, grants and financial incentives for landlords seeking to make their rental properties serving largely BIPOC residents lead safe.
  • North Coast Community Homes ($75,550) – Although COVID-19 has pushed conversations around loneliness and social isolation into the public discourse, its impact on individuals with developmental disabilities, especially those in group housing, is rarely discussed or understood. This funding will allow North Coast Community Homes’ 600 residents and other individuals with disabilities to find new ways to live a full life and become better connected to place.
  • Partnership for a Safer Cleveland ($196,000) – Cleveland homicides in 2020 were up 44% from 2019 and the number of guns confiscated was up 23% from the previous year. This grant will allow Partnership for a Safer Cleveland to increase collaboration and improve efficiency around the implementation of the 2021 Pivot Plan aimed at crime prevention and violence reduction in the community.
  • Pregnant with Possibilities Resource Center ($46,000) – Cuyahoga County is home to one of the highest infant mortality rates in the United States, with Black babies accounting for 60% of infant deaths in Cuyahoga County in 2019 despite Black people making up just 29.7% of the County’s population. Funding will allow Pregnant with Possibilities Resource Center to double the capacity of “Making Opportunities Matter” (M.O.M.), a 13-week program that includes sessions on stress management, sleep safety, being present as a parent, financial literacy and goal setting.
  • Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) ($450,000) – According to a 2020 report by the social policy research organization Mathematica (What Does Covid-19 Mean for Youth Unemployment), the Black youth unemployment rate is typically double the unemployment rate among whites, Asians, and Hispanics – a statistic that has only been compounded by COVID-19. This grant will allow Y.O.U. to continue to administer the summer youth employment program for nearly 12,000 Cuyahoga County teens and young adults, while securing an additional 500 jobs by summer 2022.

Neighborhood Revitalization & Engagement

  • City of Euclid ($300,000) – Research shows that parks and greenspace increase an individual’s well-being, both physically and mentally – a fact that has only been underscored by COVID-19’s impact. Funding will help the City of Euclid complete an innovative lakefront public access trail, mitigating erosion and protecting natural habitats. The all-purpose, accessible 16-foot-wide lakefront pedestrian and bike trail will connect to a new lakefront park and include amenities such as benches, bike racks, trash cans and lighting for enhanced safety and security.
  • Cleveland Neighborhood Progress ($398,000) – The Middle Neighborhoods initiative represents the diversity of Cleveland’s residents, and supports larger place-based strategies and the coalition-building necessary to inform housing policies. This grant provides two-year support for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress to conduct stabilization work in the Bellaire Puritas, Collinwood, Lee-Harvard and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods.
  • Downtown Cleveland Alliance ($1,200,000) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, downtown Cleveland saw small drops in apartment, office and retail leasing, and a huge decrease in hotel occupancy. This three-year grant will allow Downtown Cleveland Alliance to continue to make downtown more livable for residents and workers, while leveraging public and private resources to enhance downtown and its neighborhoods, with the understanding that racial equity and inclusion must play a central role in every facet of its operations.
  • Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity ($250,000) – As an integral partner of Cleveland Purpose Built Communities (CLE PBC), Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity produces safe and affordable housing that contributes to the creation of mixed income dynamics in an effort to deconcentrate poverty. This funding will help provide for the construction of 10 single-family units and to assist in 45 exterior repairs for residents currently living on Hulda Avenue in the Buckeye-Woodhill neighborhood located at the center of CLE PBC’s focus area.
  • LAND Studio, Inc. ($420,000) – The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of well-designed and maintained public spaces to support physical, social, and mental health while highlighting the neighborhoods and residents that have experienced disinvestment and do not have equal access. This grant provides two-year support for LAND Studio to continue its transformational civic and neighborhood public space projects, including more accessible and high-quality parks and greenspaces in BIPOC communities; support a coalition of advocates for parks; and explore opportunities for enhanced access and connection such as a new greenway to connect the Kinsman, Central, MidTown and St. Clair Superior neighborhoods to the lakefront.


  • College Now Greater Cleveland ($600,000) – While Ohio aspires to a 65% postsecondary attainment rate by the year 2025, currently only 17.5% of Cleveland adults have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, with even lower completion rates for residents of color (9.7% for Black residents and 9.0% for Latinx individuals) – a number only exacerbated by COVID-19. This funding will help College Now Greater Cleveland 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 adults in Cuyahoga County who are eligible to start or continue their postsecondary education. Additional support will target the Cleveland Foundation College Now Scholars Program, which aims to eliminate the “undermatching” of CMSD’s top performing students by ensuring they receive proactive case-management-style college advising services to get them into competitive universities.
  • The Literacy Cooperative ($200,000) – It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of adults in Cleveland are functionally illiterate, leading to disparities in health outcomes, educational attainment and earning potential. This grant provides funding for The Literacy Cooperative’s continued work to coordinate partners engaged in the delivery of adult literacy programs and services. Additional support for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library ensures children in Cleveland will continue receiving books and parents have access to supporting information to help families develop and improve reading skills.

Arts & Culture

  • Broadway School of Music & The Arts ($35,000) – While COVID-19 negatively impacted many arts organizations, Broadway School of Music & The Arts was able to quickly pivot online for its core programming, in addition to adding virtual classes for a number of new partners. This grant will allow the organization to expand its staffing capacity in order to continue to meet the increased demand for community outreach and art education programming.
  • Twelve Literary Arts ($40,000) – The Hough Youth Council, which was formed in 2020 as an outgrowth of the public planning for the streetscape improvements for East 66th Street from Euclid Avenue to Superior Avenue, has been leading the planning and visioning for the future development of their own community. The funding will allow Twelve Literary Arts to continue to support the Hough Youth Council in the design and implementation of two to three public art projects, community youth and adult education projects, planning for East 66th Street and the continued work on the new form-based code for Hough.

Leadership Development

  • Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) ($100,000) – Since 2017, the Encore Entrepreneur Initiative (EEI) has helped Encore-age women (50+) and women of color in Northern Ohio to access the tools and resources that would help them overcome barriers on their entrepreneurial journeys. This funding will support a new cohort-based training series through the Women’s Business Center of Northern Ohio, “The Digital Connect,” which will help small business owners without (or with a limited) digital presence create or improve their own digital marketplace.
  • Fairhill Partners ($397,987) – Fairhill Partners has been a key partner in the foundation’s Encore Cleveland initiative since its inception in 2013. Encore Cleveland has sought to connect and fund a network of organizations that provide experienced Greater Clevelanders with an array of meaningful opportunities. This grant will support two critical programs. It will expand the organization’s evidence-based health promotion programming, adapting to virtual platforms while continuing to recruit, train and deploy valuable members of the community to benefit their peers as well as themselves. Additionally, funds will support a flexible model of recruiting and facilitating employment opportunities for older adults that specifically caters to the unique needs and challenges faced by older workers.
  • Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association ($100,000) – Research has found that social isolation and loneliness are primary contributors to negative physical, mental and emotional health outcomes. This funding will allow Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association to expand its iConnect program that engages older adults (55+) who have low income as well as individuals of color in activities via digital devices, telephone and in-person “pop-up” sites to connect people where they naturally live and gather.


  • Cleveland Water Alliance ($199,000) – Cleveland Water Alliance is leading a critical effort to augment how the region sustains and leverages our precious water resources, positioning Cleveland as an emerging center for clean water innovation. The grant will allow the organization to support the Cleveland Innovation Project in the development of a Water Economy Initiative, which includes water Accelerator Testbeds, expanded Open Innovation Challenge programming, water-based business attraction, and cultivating industry talent.
  • The Nature Conservancy – Ohio Field Office ($150,000) – With over 60 years of experience and expertise, The Nature Conservancy has worked to advance conservation of land and water by using a science based, non-confrontational, collaborative approach. This funding supports the Ohio Field Office in its efforts to advance critical policy and conservation strategies for a healthy environment.

Workforce & Economic Development

  • Evergreen Cooperative Corporation ($700,000) – Since its creation in 2008, Evergreen Cooperative Corporation has strived to create opportunity for its members, most of whom do not have a secondary education, 68% of whom live in predominately low or low-to-moderate income areas of Cleveland, and 57% of whom were previously incarcerated. This grant provides operating support to allow the organization to continue to promote and expand economic opportunity and wealth building to stabilize and revitalize Cleveland neighborhoods (primarily the Greater University Circle area) by catalyzing cooperative business development and ensuring local and worker ownership.
  • NewBridge ($850,000) – Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) have been linked to long-term effects on a child’s learning, behavior, health, and overall life success. Locally, about 4 in 10 children in Cleveland have experienced two or more ACEs, the most common of which is extreme economic hardship. This funding will allow NewBridge to expand its Social Emotional Learning (SEL) efforts in Cleveland Metropolitan School District with arts-infused youth leadership development opportunities. It will also help the organization expand its no-cost workforce training in phlebotomy and patient care to meet the growing demand for healthcare workers.

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