Cleveland Foundation announces $17.9 million in grants

Health, the arts, and inclusive economic development a focus of second-quarter grantmaking


CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors announced a total of $17.9 million in grants for the second quarter of 2014. The two largest grants approved will support priority projects at two of the area’s key institutions.

A $750,000 grant to MetroHealth will help launch a school-based health center model in partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The grant will support a mobile health unit staffed by MetroHealth clinicians, which will be deployed during the school week at 23 district schools located near the health system’s community health centers and its main campus. The team will provide primary and preventive care to as many as 6,800 students in the first two years and will work to link students and their families to “medical homes” in close proximity to the participating schools.

A $625,000 grant to Cuyahoga Community College will support the college’s renewed focus on bolstering student graduation rates through a new program called “One Door Many Options.” The program will streamline the college’s service model to students, while providing more structured support services through the establishment of student-centered college success teams.

“Both of these grants provide key funding for initiatives that promote the success of young people in Cleveland, which has been a consistent focus in our first 100 years,” said Ronald B. Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “The journey from cradle to college is not an easy one. We know healthier students are more successful students, and enrolling in college is just the first step in a journey toward college completion. We hope our early support of these important projects will help lead to their long-term success, as well as the success of our overall community.”

Arts and Culture

The Cleveland Foundation board of directors approved a culminating series of grants for the foundation’s innovative audience development initiative for local arts organizations. Nine organizations participated in the Engaging the Future program, which the foundation launched in 2011 to help guide participants through the three-year process of analyzing how they were serving audiences and to provide opportunities for them to develop and test new and innovative approaches.

The grants approved this quarter will allow five organizations to bring creative audience development ideas – tested through the Engaging the Future process – to scale. In addition, for three of the organizations, funding will help them launch a permanent risk capital innovation fund, which they must match 1:1 through other funding.

  • $200,000 to Cleveland Play House to launch its Theatre@Home project, which centers around a digital application to give people access to behind-the-scenes information on all aspects of the theater in a game-like format.
  • $200,000 to Great Lakes Theater Festival, Inc. to take strategies it learned through Engaging the Future to attract non-traditional audiences for a classic theater company. The first project will involve a solo production of Les Miserables.
  • $20,000 to GroundWorks Dancetheater to implement the It’s Your Move project, a video and technology-based effort to engage everyday residents in GroundWorks’ creative process. GroundWorks encourages people to videotape a physical “move” of their own invention with their phone or video camera and send it for posting on the organization’s website. The dance company may use these “moves” as inspiration in choreographing new dances, making the audience an artistic collaborator.
  • $200,000 to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland to establish the MOCA Thursdays project. Beginning this year, the effort will provide summer programming on the plaza adjacent to MOCA in Uptown. The programming will be designed especially to engage young people and older adults in MOCA.
  • $10,000 to SPACES for a Creative Engagement Campaign focused on the organization’s move to “Hingetown,” a mixed-use neighborhood on the near West Side, in April 2015. The campaign will include a speaker series, the formation of an alliance of Hingetown organizations and a new visitors’ assistance program to train volunteers as “SPACESGuides.”

Cleveland Public Theatre, DANCECleveland and the Cleveland Orchestra previously received funding from the foundation to implement innovation projects through Engaging the Future.

Economic Development

Two grants that are part of nearly $2 million this quarter in support of economic development focus on providing early-stage funding to entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on inclusion and core city development:

  • $400,000 to Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) for microenterprise activities and establishment of a women’s business center. The Cleveland Foundation identified the need for a strong micro-lender in the area and worked with partners to help the Columbus-based ECDI expand into the Cleveland market in 2012. Since July 2012, ECDI’s Cleveland office has made $2.7 million in loans to 97 businesses with a focus on supporting minority business owners in the core city. The women’s business center will expand ECDI’s commitment to women-owned businesses by providing a dedicated resource center to help these clients start and grow their businesses. 
  • $400,000 to JumpStart, Inc. for support of local entrepreneurs and the launch of a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The CDFI will provide capital and services to existing tech and non-tech companies that are not able to access traditional funding. JumpStart will target its services to reach underserved women and minority populations in the core city. 

Centennial Gifts

When it joins the Tri-C JazzFest in hosting the Cleveland Foundation Days at Tri-C JazzFest this Friday and Saturday, the foundation will mark the halfway point of its centennial gifts to the community.

To date, the foundation has partnered with 10 nonprofit organizations for the centennial gifts, which highlight community assets the foundation has played a role in establishing or enhancing through the years.

“Our goal with these gifts was to increase access to and awareness of the area’s greatest assets,” said Robert E. Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation. “The response has been tremendous – many residents are experiencing these cultural institutions for the very first time, right in their own backyard. We look forward to sharing the gifts still to come.”

Many of the gifts have resulted in record-breaking crowds for the partner institutions including Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland International Film Festival, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and the four Wade Oval institutions: Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Western Reserve Historical Society.

The July gift will be announced next week.


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. For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, visit  and follow us at or @CleveFoundation on Twitter.