Cleveland Foundation announces $19.2 million in June grants

Foundation awarded $26.9 million to area nonprofits in Q2 2015

RELEASE DATE: 6.29.2015

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors has approved $19.2 million in grants for the month of June, bringing the foundation’s second-quarter grantmaking total to $26.9 million.

The June support focuses on the foundation’s priority areas of education and economic development, centered on initiatives to strengthen Cleveland’s core neighborhoods and its residents.

Last week, the foundation announced a $5.5 million grant for Northeast Ohio Medical University and Cleveland State University’s Partnership for Urban Health, to support the post-secondary education of urban primary health care professionals. Additional education support this month includes $1.3 million in grants focusing on the development and growth of innovative district and charter schools in Cleveland. In total, the foundation approved more than $7 million this month for education-related grantmaking.

“Throughout the Cleveland Foundation’s nearly decade-long collaboration with partners and our city’s leaders to transform Cleveland’s public school system, our longest and perhaps most impactful strategy has been our focus on the creation of new and innovative schools,” said Robert E. Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation. “As we work to redefine and personalize how we educate our students, we also want to encourage our city’s industry clusters to focus on redefining how they train and recruit our residents to fill available jobs. We think these two strategies go hand-in-hand in creating and strengthening Cleveland’s future workforce.”

Among the $1.3 million in grant support for innovative schools:

  • $680,000 to Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) for the development of four new high schools:
    • $490,000 for the launch of three new schools on the rebuilt John Marshall High School Campus – the School of Civic and Business Leadership, School of Engineering and School of Information Technology.
    • $190,000 for second-year support of the Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts in downtown Cleveland. This year-round school has a programmatic partnership with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning.
  • $170,000 to Bard College for second-year support of a school model the foundation helped to bring to Cleveland last year. Bard High School Early College Cleveland is a partnership between Bard College and CMSD and is modeled after three successful urban high schools in New York City and Newark, New Jersey. All students graduate with an associate in arts degree along with their high school diploma.
  • $500,000 to Friends of Breakthrough Schools, one of the highest achieving charter school networks in Ohio. The foundation supported the launch of the Breakthrough Schools in 2010. The network has nearly tripled the number of students served in its first five years. This latest grant will help support the network’s goal to nearly double its number of schools – from 10 to 19 – within the next five years.

The board also approved a $119,431 grant to The Henry Ford Learning Institute for its ongoing work in guiding the CMSD in transforming its current high school-based career centers into career academies. Last year, a Cleveland Foundation grant funded the assessment of the centers. This latest grant will help the district implement recommended changes, with the goal to begin to launch these new career academies at five CMSD high schools in the fall. This redesign of the “career tech” program supports the foundation’s new college- and career-focused education strategy, which, in part, seeks to better prepare college and career academy graduates with the credentials to fill available family-sustaining wages in high growth sectors in Cleveland.

In addition, more than $1.75 million in funding will support the foundation’s new economic transformation strategy, which seeks to better connect Cleveland residents with careers and entrepreneurial opportunities:

  • $300,000 to Towards Employment to support the organization’s work in replicating a skills-based hiring model first launched in New Mexico. For this two-year pilot project, Towards Employment and its partners thus far have recruited 20 local businesses to create a TalentNEO network committed to using “skills scores” as part of the hiring process. This process looks beyond educational attainment to also emphasize apprenticeships, certifications, military service and life experience, with a goal of opening up family-sustaining wages to more core city residents.
  • $800,000 to JumpStart, Inc., including a $300,000 grant and $500,000 Program Related Investment to provide capital and operations support to entrepreneurs in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods in Cleveland. This includes support for a special entrepreneurial “hub” at the Victory Building’s new co-working space in the Health Tech Corridor, which will include an “entrepreneur-in-residence” maintaining office hours for one-on-one coaching support.
  • $480,000 to BioEnterprise Corporation to support a new initiative to identify and develop promising health IT technologies and to best align local health IT career pathways, especially within the CMSD. This program will work to address the gap in supply versus demand for credentialed IT workers, which was identified in a 2014 FutureWorks study commissioned by the Cleveland Foundation.


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 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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