Cleveland Foundation announces $16.8 million in March grants

Foundation awards $21.3 million to Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga nonprofits in Q1 2016

RELEASE DATE: 3.18.16 

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors has approved $16.8 million in grants for the month of March, bringing the foundation’s first-quarter grantmaking total to $21.3 million.

Much of the March support focuses on programs designed to create stronger, healthier neighborhoods, including:

A $5 million grant to Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) to support the organization’s new emphasis on people-based strategies within Cleveland’s Community Development Corporation (CDC) network. These strategies include vacant land reuse, the expansion of community financial centers to bolster the economic security of residents and the development of programming using racial equity as a tool to better understand neighborhood dynamics and how best to ensure opportunity for all residents.

“The Cleveland Foundation is pleased to continue our long-standing support of the important work led by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress to improve our core neighborhoods and empower our residents,” said Robert E. Eckardt, Executive Vice President of the Cleveland Foundation. “Through CNP’s leadership, Cleveland is one of few cities that has a best-in-class network of high performing CDCs working in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods to drive change.”

The board also authorized a $425,000 grant to Cleveland Housing Network (CHN) to support its mission to build strong families and vibrant neighborhoods. The grant will help CHN to test an unsubsidized housing development model and launch a new program to provide 200 youth with employment, educational and leadership opportunities annually.

In addition to neighborhoods, multiple March grants focus on improving the health and well-being of residents, including:

  • $500,000 in support for the Greater University Circle Community Health Initiative, launched in 2014 to address the issues of infant mortality and lead poisoning in the eight neighborhoods that make up the Greater University Circle area. This initiative involves multiple partners, including Case Western Reserve University, Neighborhood Connections, University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic and the Cleveland Foundation. Support includes funding for a pilot program to train Hough residents as community doulas to guide Hough mothers-to-be through their pregnancy, birth and infant’s first year of life. The funding will also support lead poisoning education and remediation efforts in three high-risk census tracts in Glenville, including the recruitment of residents to be trained as lead risk assessors or abatement contractors and home lead exposure reduction to homes identified with elevated lead levels.
  • $650,000 to Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau to help establish a pediatric psychiatric care facility on its Shaker Heights campus. The 12-bed facility will serve youth ages 6 to 21 experiencing acute crises, particularly those with autism spectrum disorders. The need for this new facility was made apparent by a 4-bed pilot program Bellefaire launched in 2013, which has consistently been at-capacity.

The board also approved $1.49 million in grants for the foundation-led youth development initiative MyCom to grow its neighborhood-based programming in 17 neighborhoods throughout Cleveland, East Cleveland, South Euclid, Shaker Heights, Warrensville Heights and Parma. The support includes:

  • $885,000 to Neighborhood Leadership Institute (NLI) to support its role as the intermediary agency for the MyCom network. The funding will support NLI’s efforts to increase youth access to existing services and to expand programming as MyCom’s neighborhoods have more than doubled, from eight to 17.
  • $410,000 in total funding to seven MyCom partner agencies: Bellaire Puritas Development Corp., Friendly Inn Settlement House, Ohio Guidestone, Shaker Heights Youth Center, Slavic Village Development Corp., St. Clair-Superior Development Corp. and the Thea Bowman Center for neighborhood programming.
  • $200,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) to support its role connecting MyCom youth ages 14 to 24 to summer and year-round jobs. This grant will support the placement of 2,500 youth in summer employment this year in five targeted industry sectors: allied health, business, green jobs, technology and nonprofit.

March grantmaking also includes $1.14 million for scholarships and post-secondary support for students in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties:

  • $800,000 to College Now Greater Cleveland to support its school-based advisory services throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), scholarships for CMSD students and adult learners, and the Cleveland Foundation College Now Scholars program which guides top CMSD students through the college enrollment process. Over the past five years, 96 percent of Scholars have gone on to college.
  • $200,000 for scholarships administered by the Scholarship Selection and Advisory Committee of the Cleveland Foundation. In 2015, this committee awarded scholarships totaling $311,000 to more than 100 students as part of the foundation’s $2.4 million in scholarship support last year.

Two grants are from a donor fund at the foundation designated specifically to assist residents of the city of Painesville and Painesville Township:


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.2 billion and 2014 grants of $98 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga Counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – education and youth development, neighborhoods, health and human services, arts and culture, economic development and purposeful aging – and responds to the community’s needs.

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