Cleveland Foundation Announces $15.3 Million in Grants

Board authorizes grants in areas of economic development, education, arts and culture, and public health

Release Date: 6.27.2013

CLEVELAND – The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation has authorized $15.3 million in grants in the second quarter of 2013 to local nonprofit organizations for programs in economic development, public education reform, arts and culture, public health, and other vital areas.

Economic Development

The board approved grants totaling $2.8 million to continue key support to organizations that have established Cleveland as a national model in creating an “entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Among the $2.8 million in support is a $400,000 grant to the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI). Last July, the foundation helped bring the Columbus-based micro-lender to Cleveland after identifying a local need for a provider of smaller loans to residents hoping to launch their own businesses.

In the past year, ECDI has made $1.3 million in loans to 30 businesses – 40 percent of which are minority-owned, 62 percent are female-owned, and 30 percent are located within the city of Cleveland.

“We are encouraged by the impact ECDI has been able to make in its first year on the Cleveland landscape,” said Robert E. Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation. “The foundation is pleased that our micro-lending vision has become a reality, resulting in more than 75 new jobs thus far. We are proud to continue our support of ECDI as it prepares to expand throughout Cuyahoga County.”

In addition to the ECDI grant, the foundation’s grant support in the area of Economic Development includes $675,000 to NorTech, $500,000 to JumpStart, Inc., $500,000 to Team NEO, $400,000 to MAGNET, and $325,000 to BioEnterprise Corporation.

Public Education

Nearly $2 million was approved this quarter to advance the foundation’s focus on public education reform.

The grants in this arena include $950,000 to CollegeNow Greater Cleveland, a continuation of the foundation’s 15-year support of the organization’s Post Secondary Access Initiative. The initiative seeks to increase post-secondary access for low-income, first generation students.

In addition to funding advisory services and scholarships, the support approved includes $130,000 for the Cleveland Foundation College Now Scholars Program for the upcoming school year. Launched in 2011, the program was designed to provide the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s top performing students with intensive, individualized college access and financial aid counseling. Of the 50 students who participated in the program this past school year, 100 percent are heading to college, with 75 percent accepted into highly selective colleges and universities. As a whole, the students received $1.2 million in merit-based financial aid, including scholarships and grants.

In addition, $1 million was granted in support of the Cleveland Plan.

  • $500,000 to Cleveland Metropolitan School District to support data based decision-making through the Strategic Data Project Fellowship, being jointly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will also be used for talent recruitment and development in the district and college and career planning for middle and high school students.
  • $500,000 to the Friends of Breakthrough Schools to support operations and expansion of current schools in the charter school system, as well as to assist with new school development.

Arts and Culture

The board authorized $865,000 in grants to nine local arts organizations to support their continued participation in the Cleveland Foundation’s Engaging the Future initiative.

The grants will fund the final year of the three-year program, which has focused on innovation in audience development.

Among the grants:

  • $150,000 to Cleveland Play House, which has used Engaging the Future to support a creative audience development model focused on youth and family education
  • $80,000 to Cleveland Public Theatre, which credits its work with Engaging the Future to a 15 percent increase in attendance in the past year
  • $65,000 to DANCECleveland, which, through its involvement with Engaging the Future, has created a Dance Advance Team focused on expanding the modern dance company’s fan base. The success of this prototype has also attracted national attention and funding.

Other grants awarded for this final stage of the program include $150,000 to Great Lakes Theatre, $100,000 to Beck Center for the Arts, $100,000 to Karamu House, $100,000 to Museum of Contemporary Art, $70,000 to SPACES, and $50,000 to GroundWorks Dance Theatre.

Health and Aging

The board approved $200,000 to Case Western Reserve University’s School of Dental Medicine for updates to its Community Dental Clinic. The grant will help fund improvements to the 45-year-old clinic, including the addition of computer technology. The clinic is the largest oral health safety-net provider in Northeast Ohio with 85,000 patient visits and care estimated at $5.2 million in 2012.

In addition, Eliza Jennings Senior Care Network will receive $500,000 to expand an Alzheimer’s intervention program. The support includes a $200,000 grant and a $300,000 low-interest loan. The Cleveland Foundation was one of the initial funders to Eliza Jennings for this program in 2011, which allowed it to bring the learning therapy to Cleveland for the first clinical trial outside Japan. The promising results of that trial and its established success in Japan, has led Eliza Jennings to be chosen to expand this SAIDO therapy across the United States. This grant and loan will support that expansion.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $1.86 billion and 2012 grants of $91 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – economic transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts advancement – and responds to the community’s needs.