Cleveland Foundation announces $13.8 million in March grants

Board approves $22.2 million for Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga nonprofits in Q1 2018

 Release Date: 3.19.2018

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors today approved $13.8 million in grants for the month of March. Supporting residents in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties, the foundation has now invested $22.2 million for the first quarter of 2018.

This latest round of community funding is concentrated primarily on three areas: youth & social services, economic & workforce development, and education.

“As a community foundation, our most important work is to help Greater Cleveland residents have access to opportunities that can enhance their quality of life,” said India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation senior vice president, program. “When viewed together, the organizations represented in our grantmaking this month are creating a pipeline of opportunities for our community from the earliest age through college, career and beyond.”

Highlights from recently approved grants include:

  • In 2008, the Cleveland Foundation and its partners launched MyCom, a network of caring adults that work directly with young people to connect them to quality programs and opportunities in their neighborhoods. MyCom serves more than 8,000 youth in 21 neighborhoods through year-round programming in youth employment, after-school activities, community service, youth engagement and leadership. The foundation has granted $1.08 million to the Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI) to continue to serve as the intermediary and lead agency for MyCom youth and neighborhood engagement, and an additional $360,000 directly to eight neighborhoods to support youth development. NLI will continue to serve all 21 MyCom neighborhoods, with a focus in 2018 on youth success in school, career exploration and workforce involvement, science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM), and youth voice.
  • The foundation has granted $200,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) as it continues to manage one of the largest and most successful summer employment programs in Northeast Ohio. The funding will support the placement of at least 1,850 youth in summer employment opportunities and will include an additional one-week job readiness training for young adults (ages 18-24) and a two-day training for teens (14-17). These summer jobs help close the skills gap that exists between insufficiently trained youth and the needs of local employers by providing employability skills training, exposing youth to career pathways and helping businesses develop a much-needed talent pipeline.
  • The foundation funded the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) in 2015 to design and implement an employer-driven career pathway program to prepare underserved youth for careers in advanced manufacturing. Inspired by the European-style apprenticeship model, Early College Early Career (ECEC) is a holistic program that includes career awareness education (9th grade), an intensive “Introduction to Manufacturing” course (10th grade) and year-round paid internships at Cleveland-area manufacturing companies (11th & 12th grades). Since the launch of ECEC, MAGNET has engaged 1,000 students to explore careers in advanced manufacturing and currently has 100 students interning at seven manufacturing companies while continuing their education at five high schools and three community colleges. The foundation has approved a $450,000 grant to MAGNET to strengthen ECEC as a pilot that demonstrates the value of ‘earn and learn’ workforce development strategies.
  • Since 2010, NewBridge has offered community-based arts education programming for at-risk youth and demand-facing workforce training opportunities for adults, both at no cost. Aimed at improving academic and economic outcomes, the foundation has granted NewBridge $666,670 expand the following offerings for 2018:
    • CLE|LEAD is aimed at providing youth with many of the soft skills needed when seeking employment. It includes a six-month leadership, social-emotional learning, and job skills development program; a summer arts camp where CLE|LEAD graduates serve as paid counselors to middle school youth; and an arts mastery program where students can work with NewBridge teaching artists to focus on an artistic discipline.
    • Adult training opportunities include Phlebotomist, State-Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA), culinary professional, and a joint Patient Access/Microsoft Specialist Certification course. The programs are generally up to 10 weeks in length and include intensive in-class training, externships, mentorship and soft-skills training, and support from case managers and job placement professionals.
  • The foundation has granted $860,000 to College Now Greater Cleveland. College Now focuses on a critical issue – raising educational attainment and persistence levels in our community. Studies show that by 2020, 64 percent of new jobs in Ohio will require a postsecondary degree or industry-recognized credential. In Cleveland, that number currently stands at 20 percent. Foundation funding supports:
    • Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) Advising: Support for College Now’s 50 college access advisers and career pathway coaches in CMSD’s high schools. In the 2016-17 school year, 92 percent of enrolled seniors were served through the program.
    • Cleveland Foundation College Now Scholars Program: Provides a cohort of 50 top-performing CMSD seniors with college advising services. Ninety-eight percent of Class of 2017 program participants enrolled in Barron’s Top 4 Tier Colleges.
    • Scholarships for CMSD Students: Provides 50 students with a personal mentor and renewable scholarships, each averaging $1,500 annually.
    • Adult Programs & Services: College Now is combining traditional as-needed services with new, targeted, case-managed services such as personalized college access advising, student financial aid counseling and student loan counseling.
    • Scholarships & Retention Services for Adult Learner Students: Provides for renewable scholarships, as well as advising and retention services for adult learners.
  • Plug and Play is a global innovation platform that features a 12-week accelerator program and connections to more than 180 corporate partners. Since starting in 2006 in Silicon Valley, Plug and Play has become the largest accelerator in the world with 24 global locations, a network of over 300 global corporations, and a network of more than 6,000 startups. Jumpstart, Inc. has received a grant of $200,000 from the Cleveland Foundation to support Plug and Play programming in Cleveland as part of a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic. It is anticipated that this will create new innovations for the region’s largest corporations, while providing access to customers for startups. Located in the Global Center for Health Innovation, it is projected that 20-40 start-ups a year will benefit from Plug and Play cohorts.