Cleveland Foundation Announces $14.8 Million in Grants for 3rd Quarter

Economic transformation, education reform, arts, and human services among areas of focus

Release Date: 09.24.2009

The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation today announced $14.8 million in grants to address many of Greater Cleveland’s most vital issues, including economic development, public education reform, the arts, and basic human needs.

“We’re very pleased with this round of grants to be able to meet many of the community’s immediate needs while also continuing to invest in the region’s future,” said Robert Eckardt, senior vice president for programs and evaluation at the Cleveland Foundation.

Among those nonprofit organizations receiving funding this quarter were:

Economic Transformation

The board authorized a grant of $3 million to help with start-up costs of the Cleveland Center for Arts and Technology (CCAT). The center will partner with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to create year-round after-school programs for local youth in ceramics, sculpture, and digital arts, among other disciplines. These programs will be geared toward motivating students to graduate from high school and college.

CCAT will also offer adult job training programs, focusing initially on careers in the health sciences such as pharmacy technicians and phlebotomists. In addition, it will provide adult literacy and general equivalency diploma services. CCAT will be modeled after the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a nationally acclaimed arts and education center in Pittsburgh.

A grant of $125,000 was made to Kent State University’s Ohio Employee Ownership Center for training, management, and expansion of the Evergreen Cooperative Fund. The fund is a key component of the Greater University Circle Initiative, which is designed in part to address the economic disparity between University Circle and its surrounding neighborhoods. The fund recently helped launch two employee-owned businesses in Greater University Circle – the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry and Ohio Cooperative Solar – and is on track to help launch two more in 2010: a large-scale food production greenhouse and a hyper-local community newspaper written by citizens.

The University of Akron Foundation was awarded $200,000 for its Innovation Fund, which supports technology-based entrepreneurs and emerging businesses in Northeast Ohio. In return, those companies agree to accept interns from local universities and participate in various teaching activities.

The board voted to grant $150,000 for the ongoing operation of the Civic Innovation Lab. The Lab stimulates innovation by providing mentoring and funding for ideas that can improve Greater Cleveland’s economy. Since 2003, the Lab has granted more than $1.4 million to more than 50 such ideas.

A total of $250,000 went to ParkWorks for two major projects. One is the Land Reutilization Action Plan, which will seek ways that Cuyahoga County – and specifically the city of Cleveland – can use large tracts of available land as economic assets. The second project will aim to turn a robust local food production system into an economic engine for the region.

Arts and Culture

The board granted $1.2 million to help the Cleveland Orchestra implement its “Centennial Campaign,” a 10-year fundraising effort designed to secure the orchestra’s future and strengthen its relationship with the community.

Education/Public School Improvement

With its $685,000 award, Cleveland Scholarship Programs (CSP) will continue the Post-Secondary Access Initiative, which seeks to increase access to post-secondary education for low-income, first-generation students of all ages facing significant barriers such as academic preparation and affordability. The initiative offers both advisory services and scholarship support.

The Ohio Business Alliance for Higher Education and the Economy received $125,000 for its ongoing efforts to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education around the state. The organization has set a goal of doubling the number of STEM-related baccalaureate degrees conferred by Ohio institutions of higher learning by 2015.

Receiving a $100,000 grant was the First Ring Superintendents’ Collaborative, a group of school superintendents from 15 inner-ring suburbs around Cleveland. The funds will help the group adopt common assessment measures, develop student welcome centers for transient and transferring students, and implement a student wellness program focusing on physical activity and nutrition.

Other Grants

Other grants authorized by the board included a $300,000 award to the Cleveland Foodbank to help meet growing demand for its services. The foodbank’s distribution of food is up 21 percent over the past year, while local food pantries are reporting a 35 percent increase in clients. With its Cleveland Foundation grant, the foodbank will work to reduce food costs to member agencies, expand its retail store donation program, and train volunteers and member agencies to place food orders online.

A grant of $198,690 will help the Cuyahoga County Public Library strengthen its career counseling services and technology programs for local residents. The library system will add a technology trainer to facilitate public classes on computer skills, and a counselor to provide direct career, educational, and referral services.

View full list of grants this quarter

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Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s third-largest today, with assets of $1.6 billion and 2008 grants of $84 million. The foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. Currently the foundation proactively directs two-thirds of its flexible grant dollars to the community’s greatest needs: economic transformation (including advanced energy and globalization), public school improvement, human services especially youth development, neighborhoods and housing, and arts advancement.

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