Cleveland Foundation announces $15.6 million in fourth-quarter grants

Foundation awards a record total of $95 million in grants in its centennial year

RELEASE DATE: 12.19.2014

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors today approved $15.6 million in grants for the fourth quarter of 2014. These latest grants bring the foundation’s centennial-year grantmaking total to a record $95 million.

More than $3.7 million of this quarter’s funding will support two of the foundation’s key priority areas: youth development and education.

“Recent headlines in our region, and around our country, underscore how we all must play a role in protecting and promoting our community’s most precious asset – our young people,” said Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard. “Our children deserve the brightest futures possible, and these grants foster an environment where they not only can survive, but thrive as the next generation of Greater Clevelanders.”

Youth Development

The Cleveland Foundation joined forces with Cuyahoga County in 2008 to create MyCom, a network of local organizations focused on connecting Greater Cleveland’s youth with the caring adults and high-quality, neighborhood-based programs and services they need to succeed.

Today, the Cleveland Foundation board approved nearly $1 million in grants for two of MyCom’s lead agencies to fund an expansion of the MyCom network, which will allow MyCom to grow from 13 neighborhoods to 23 neighborhoods in the next year:

  • $660,000 to Starting Point, MyCom’s lead agency for out-of-school time and transitions programming. Starting Point works with organizations that provide academic, recreational and cultural activities for young people in grades K-12 after school, during holidays and in the summer.
  • $325,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited, MyCom’s lead agency for youth employment opportunities. The grant will fund youth employment training, summer and year-round jobs, career exploration programs for high school students and expansion of private sector employment for young people in MyCom neighborhoods.

Other grants this quarter reinforce the foundation’s focus on youth development:

  • A total of $650,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland
    • $400,000 to sustain support for Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance. The alliance was formed in 2007 through efforts of the Cleveland Foundation and others to create a model of mentoring and outreach to youth gang members and at-risk youth. This grant will help fund more than a dozen additional outreach workers to help the alliance continue to meet its goal to decrease violence within Cleveland’s neighborhoods by reducing the number of altercations by youth with guns and improving participants’ risk avoidance behaviors. 
    • $250,000 to assist Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland in expanding its arts programming at all of its sites and to move one West Side site, Walton School, from part-time to full-time status. This grant will enable Walton School to nearly double the number of students served and to increase the number of youth engaged in arts programming by 15 percent.
  • $335,000 to Esperanza, Inc. to extend core programming to reach a growing Hispanic population in Cleveland. The grant will support the organization’s recent successful efforts to increase graduation rates, college entry rates, grade point averages and Ohio Graduation Test scores among local Hispanic students.

Additionally, the foundation’s board of directors approved a $750,000 Program-Related Investment (PRI) loan to support the Partnership for Family Success, the nation’s first county-level Pay for Success project. Through a public-private partnership that involves Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland Foundation and multiple funders and service agencies, this initiative will focus on delivering intensive 12- to 15- month treatment to 135 families over five years to reduce the length of stay in out-of-home foster care placement for children whose families are homeless. The Cleveland Foundation is the first community foundation to make a PRI to support a Pay for Success model.


The Cleveland Foundation board of directors approved $1.05 million to continue its support of programs that further the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools:

  • $350,000 to Cleveland Metropolitan School District to fund two key strategies: expansion of the district’s Office of Portfolio Planning, Growth and Management and redesign of the district’s five career centers to better prepare students for available technical careers in the Cleveland community. 
  • $200,000 to Stepstone Academy to support the charter school’s successful model, which combines a rigorous academic curriculum, a blended learning approach and wraparound social services. The Cleveland Foundation has funded Stepstone since its 2012 launch in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood by Guidestone, a local mental health and social service agency. In just a few years, Stepstone has produced impressive gains in student achievement and reports high levels of student attendance and parent involvement. 
  • $500,000 to Teach for America to recruit, select and train incoming corps members, build teaching and leadership skills of current corps members, and engage local alumni in Cleveland-based school reform efforts. The Cleveland Foundation helped bring Teach for America to Cleveland in 2011; currently, 145 corps teachers work in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and charter schools. Approximately 90 percent of current corps teachers will reach their student achievement benchmarks.


Three grants, totaling $1.25 million, will further expand the foundation’s Encore Cleveland initiative, which seeks to channel the time, energy and talents of experienced Clevelanders into solving community challenges and filling unmet needs.

  • $948,300 to BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence to implement an Encore Cleveland Fellowship program, with a goal of recruiting and placing 40 fellows over the next three years in paid, time-limited engagements with local nonprofit organizations.
  • $199,000 to Fairhill Partners to create an evidence-based chronic disease management program to impact the health outcomes of vulnerable seniors. This grant will engage, train and deploy up to 60 low- to moderate- income adults ages 50-plus as lay leaders to deliver peer health education focused within the Greater University Circle neighborhood.
  • $104,512 to Benjamin Rose Institute to engage experienced artists ages 50-plus to provide creative programming for Cleveland’s seniors. Approximately 30 art professionals, who may include artists, art/music teachers or art/music therapists, will be recruited and trained to provide high-quality visual and performing arts activities customized for older adults with limited resources. The programs will be hosted at City of Cleveland sites such as recreation centers and assisted living centers.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.1 billion and 2013 grants of $89 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.

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