Cleveland Foundation Announces $18 Million in Grants for 2nd Quarter

Release Date: 06.29.2011

CLEVELAND – The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation has authorized $18 million in grants to nonprofit organizations working in economic transformation, arts and culture, public education reform, and other areas.

Among those receiving funding this quarter:

Economic transformation

The board authorized $3 million in grants to organizations working to support the economic vitality of Cleveland, both in existing and burgeoning sectors.

  • Team NEO was awarded $800,000. A joint venture of the region’s largest metro chambers of commerce, Team NEO works to attract domestic and foreign companies to Northeast Ohio.
  • NorTech received $750,000 for efforts to develop regional innovation clusters in advanced energy manufacturing, flexible materials, and other growing manufacturing sectors.
  • Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) was awarded $750,000 for its work toward creating the nation’s first freshwater wind farm in Lake Erie.
  • JumpStart received $750,000 for its work to support the growth and development of local high-tech and innovative companies.

“Together, these organizations address a full range of business growth, from start-up ventures to emerging industries to mature companies looking to relocate here,” said Robert Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation. “These organizations are establishing Cleveland as a vibrant place to do business.”

Public Education Reform

A grant of $800,000 will support 13 innovative schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District: two New Tech high schools, three high schools on the John Hay Campus, two STEM high schools, Ginn Academy, four single-gender elementary schools, and the newly opened Campus International School at Cleveland State University.

The board awarded $700,000 to Breakthrough Charter Schools, an independent operator of charter schools. Breakthrough Charter serves 1,200 children in four high-performing schools: Citizens’ Academy, E Prep, Intergenerational School, and Village Prep. In the fall of 2011, it plans to open two new schools, Citizens’ Leadership Academy and Near West Intergenerational School, each starting with 100 students. The group ultimately plans to open 20 schools by 2020 and serve 7,000 Cleveland students. CMSD sponsors and promotes current Breakthrough charter schools as options for students in the district.

Arts and Culture

The board approved grants totaling $1.4 million for Engaging the Future, an audience development initiative aimed at helping our vital arts institutions attract nontraditional, diverse audiences to supplement current patrons, some of whom are growing older and may relocate in retirement.

The grant will be used to provide seminars, hands-on workshops, focus groups, and competitive grants to an inaugural class of 12 organizations: Apollo’s Fire: Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, the Beck Center for the Arts, Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Play House, Cleveland Public Theatre, DanceCleveland, Great Lakes Theater, Groundworks Dance Co., Karamu House, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Spaces Gallery, and Verb Ballet . 

As part of an overall strategy, these participants will be challenged to find and engage young and diverse individuals for their boards, experiment with new programs while keeping loyal audiences, overcome perceptions of elitism, and work to understand what will attract younger audiences.

“This is a national issue, and Cleveland is one of the first cities to develop a program to address it,” Eckardt said. “Demographic research clearly shows that audiences are growing older and less diverse. We believe this initiative will expose new audiences to modern and traditional art forms while preserving the vitality of our city’s arts institutions for years to come.”

Other Grants

Other grants this quarter include:

  • $785,000 to College Now Greater Cleveland (formerly Cleveland Scholarship Programs) for five programs, including the continued implementation of career and college-readiness curriculum in Cleveland public high schools and a New Scholars program that will encourage high-potential public high school students to apply to highly selective colleges and universities nationwide.
  • $700,000 to Invest in Children, Cuyahoga County’s comprehensive early childhood system of services and supports, for pre-kindergarten scholarships and other needs.
  • $275,000 to Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio to support initiatives including Art Works, which provides youth from various socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to apprenentice with professional artists to gain job skills.


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.