Cleveland Foundation Announces $16.3 Million in Grants for 4th Quarter

Release Date: 12.19.2011

CLEVELAND – The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation authorized $16.3 million in grants to nonprofit organizations working in health care, education, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and other areas.The board also announced the appointment of four new members – Hiroyuki Fujita, Sally Gries, Michael B. Petras Jr., and Larry Pollock – effective April 1, 2012.

Among those receiving funding this quarter:

Health care

The board authorized a grant of $1.5 million to Cleveland State University for its Partnership for Enhancing Urban Health with the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). The program aims to increase the number of physicians providing primary care in urban settings. CSU/NEOMED is proposing a new model for training medical students through educational experiences that are interconnected and community based.

“It’s clear that fundamental changes in how medical students are developed, educated, and supported must be made,” said Robert Eckardt, executive vice president at the Cleveland Foundation. “It’s great that these institutions are coming together to create a pipeline for attracting a diverse pool of students to medical school, fostering an interest in primary care, and then keeping that talent in the Cleveland area.”

Neighborhood revitalization

Cleveland Housing Network was awarded $380,000 to support a pilot program offering stable, affordable housing for qualified buyers as part of the Greater University Circle Hire, Buy, Live Local Initiative. The project addresses the housing needs of local residents employed in businesses established in the neighborhoods of Cleveland’s Greater University Circle area.

Public school improvement

Teach for America received a grant for $750,000 to help pave the way for the nationally recognized nonprofit’s expansion in Greater Cleveland.  Teach for America recruits, trains, and supports recent college graduates and professionals who commit to teach for two years in under-resourced urban and rural public schools.

Youth development

Four grants were made to lead partners of MyCom, the youth development initiative that serves Cuyahoga County children from kindergarten through college:

  • $650,000 to Starting Point to continue its out-of-school-time activities
  • $150,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited to offer summer job opportunities for youth
  • $76,000 to Voices for Ohio’s Children to continue advocacy for after-school programs
  • $16,000 to United Way of Greater Cleveland to engage youth in community volunteering and philanthropy

A grant of $600,000 also was awarded to Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland for Amer-I-Can Foundation to employ 14 outreach workers through the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, a coalition of groups committed to gang and crime prevention. The outreach workers will work to build relationships with residents and youth in Cleveland neighborhoods.

Other grants

The board authorized a grant of $325,000 to LAND Studio, a new organization formed by the merger of local nonprofits ParkWorks and Cleveland Public Art. The group’s name is an acronym for land, art, neighborhoods, and development, and describes its areas of focus. The grant will be used for priority projects involving public and green spaces.

Three nonprofits received grants totaling $250,000 as part of a Social Enterprise Program to serve ex-offenders returning to Greater Cleveland. The program is piloted by the Cleveland Foundation and Cuyahoga County Office of Re-Entry.

  • $80,000 to Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries for a training program in its Central Kitchen
  • $90,000 to Career Development and Placement Strategies for training and employment opportunities in property reclamation and rehabilitation  
  • $80,000 to Verge for creation of a salon for career development in the beauty industry

New board members

In other business, the board of directors approved the appointment of four members, effective April 1, 2012. They are:

  • Hiroyuki Fujita founded Quality Electrodynamics, a medical device startup based in Mayfield, in 2006 and grew it into a multimillion-dollar business that makes detectors used in MRI machines. In 2009, Forbes magazine ranked QED No. 11 among the nation’s 20 Most Promising Companies in America. In 2010, Fujita founded eQED, a solar energy company. A native of Japan, Fujita came to Cleveland in 1992 to study at Case Western Reserve University, where he completed his doctorate in physics in 1998.
  • Sally Gries is founder and chairwoman of Gries Financial, a wealth management company, and of Fieldstone Associates, a real estate investment advisory firm. A graduate of Northwestern University, Gries was the founder of the first female-owned money management and financial planning firm in Ohio. She has served on many boards in Northeast Ohio, including Holden Arboretum, Hawken School, and Case Western Reserve University.
  • Michael B. Petras Jr. is chief executive officer of HGI Holding, a provider of specialty medical products for patients with chronic diseases. Before joining HGI, Petras was president and CEO of GE Lighting in East Cleveland. A graduate of John Carroll and Case Western Reserve universities, Petras has served on the boards of United Way of Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Partnership, and Achievement Centers for Children.
  • Larry Pollock began his career on the sales floor at J.B. Robinson Jewelers and worked his way up to the position of president and CEO of the company. He went on to become the chief executive of Cole National Corp., Home Place Stores, and Zale Corp. He currently is managing partner of Lucky Stars Partners, a private investment firm. He serves on the board of the Cleveland Clinic and is a trustee of the Musical Arts Association and Ideastream.

The new appointees will replace four board members whose terms expire on March 31, 2012: David Goldberg, Joseph P. Keithley, Dr. Maria Pujana, and Alayne Reitman.

“We are extremely fortunate to add four individuals with such a wealth of professional experience and civic leadership to our board,” said Ronald B. Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “I’m certain they will continue to build on the fine work done by their predecessors as we strive to improve the lives of Greater Clevelanders now and in the future.”

The Cleveland Foundation’s board of directors comprises 15 individuals who govern the foundation, establish policy, set priorities, and make final grant decisions. All members are unpaid volunteers serving staggered terms, for a maximum of 10 years. The foundation’s appointment process ensures that the board represents a diverse range of views and knowledge.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s second largest today, with assets of $1.9 billion and 2010 grants of nearly $87 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