Cleveland Foundation Announces $12.9 Million in Grants for 4th Quarter

Release Date: 12.17.2010

The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation today authorized $12.9 million in grants to nonprofit organizations working in economic transformation, public education reform, neighborhood revitalization, youth development, and other areas.

Among those receiving funding this quarter:

Special Grant

The board awarded $150,000 to the Economic Growth Foundation to support transition activities for the incoming Cuyahoga County Council and County Executive Ed FitzGerald. The grant will fund an executive search for talented candidates to fill key positions, as well as an “integrity audit” to uncover all unethical practices within county government.

“The change to a new form of county government is dramatic,” said Robert Eckardt, senior vice president for programs and evaluation at the Cleveland Foundation. “We believe that getting the right people into the right positions is critical for the success of this new structure, and we’re pleased to be able to help.”

Youth Development

Three grants totaling $970,000 were made to lead partners of MyCom (short for “My Commitment, My Community), the youth development initiative serving Cuyahoga County children from kindergarten through college. Those grants were:

  • $550,000 to Starting Point for out-of-school-time activities
  • $270,000 to Cuyahoga County Family and Children First Council to oversee day-to-day operations and management of MyCom
  • $150,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited to provide summer employment opportunities to youth in MyCom neighborhoods

Economic Transformation

Shorebank Enterprise Group Cleveland received $400,000 in support of Green City Growers, the newest of the worked-owned Evergreen Cooperatives. Green City Growers is a year-round, large-scale food production greenhouse that will grow lettuce and herbs to be sold initially to local hospitals and produce distributors. Other Evergreen Cooperative businesses are a commercial laundry and a solar-panel installation and weatherization company.

An additional grant of $225,000 was made to Shorebank Enterprise Group Cleveland to continue offering small-business investment and low-cost capital, and promoting economic growth within Cleveland neighborhoods. The organization provides lending and technical assistance to small and mid-sized companies, with the goal of producing jobs and creating wealth within the city.

In October, Cleveland was one of five cities chosen to receive funding from Living Cities – a collaborative involving 21 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions – to help develop jobs and businesses that benefit low-income residents. Toward that end, the board authorized $335,000 to the National Development Council for staffing and management of financing for the initiative, which could bring up to $14.75 million in grants and loans to Cleveland.

Neighborhood Revitalization

The board authorized $250,000 for ParkWorks, which works to develop public spaces and to beautify urban areas. The grant supports a strategic partnership with Neighborhood Progress Inc. as well as ongoing efforts to develop parks and green spaces in Cleveland’s downtown area and various neighborhoods. The grant also will help ParkWorks complete a partnership with Cleveland Public Art, an initiative also partially supported by a separate $130,000 grant to CPA.

Public Education Reform

Friends of E Prep Schools was awarded $94,900 to sustain operations at two Cleveland public charter schools: Village Preparatory Academy and Entrepreneurship Academy (known as E Prep). Village Preparatory enrolls students in kindergarten through fifth grade, while E Prep runs from sixth through eighth grade. Both schools have posted measurable and impressive academic gains among their students.

Arts and Culture

The Gordon Square Arts District’s grant of $250,000 will be used for Phase II renovations to Cleveland Public Theatre. Planned improvements include building an office, dance studio, terrace, and an elevator, along with utility upgrades and renovations to the James Levin and Gordon Square Theatre lobbies. The Gordon Square Arts District, a collaboration of three nonprofit organizations, seeks to use the arts as a catalyst for revitalizing Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.

Other Grants

Other grants this quarter included:

  • Community Re-Entry received $400,000 for the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance Outreach Project, which provides crime prevention and conflict mediation to Cleveland youth and young adults who are victims, perpetrators, or at risk of street violence.
  • The Cleveland Foundation’s Project Access program was awarded a $350,000 grant. Project Access is a nine-month business-training program designed to strengthen the leadership, management, program, and community-advocacy skills of faith- and community-based organizations in Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs.
  • The Cleveland Museum of Natural History received a $40,000 grant and a $250,000 low-interest loan for construction of a “smart house” to help visitors better understand “green” construction and the effects of global climate change.
  • The Cleveland Botanical Garden was granted $150,000 to build long-term sustainability for the Green Corps Urban Youth Program, through which high school students receive hands-on educational opportunities and seasonal employment to promote academic success and workforce readiness.

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Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s second largest today, with assets of $1.8 billion and 2009 grants of $79 million. The foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation proactively directs two-thirds of its flexible grant dollars to the community’s greatest needs: economic transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhoods, and arts advancement.

For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, please visit ClevelandFoundation.org.