Cleveland Foundation Announces $19.9 Million in Grants for 2nd Quarter

CLEVELAND  – The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation has authorized  $19.9 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations for programs supporting education, economic transformation, arts and culture, youth development, and other vital areas.

Among those receiving grants this quarter: 

Access to Higher Education

The board approved $2.25 million in grants to strengthen college readiness and completion rates, especially among Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) students.

“Only 11 percent of Cleveland residents 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher,” said Robert Eckardt, executive vice president at the Cleveland Foundation. “Armed with that statistic and the knowledge that secondary education is tied to higher incomes, better health, and longer lives, our team created a strategy last year to bolster secondary education success among local students. This quarter’s series of grants is a reflection of that commitment.”

The $2.25 million in grants includes

  • $1.01 million to College Now Greater Cleveland to support a variety of programs, including the funding of college scholarships for adult learners and the Cleveland Foundation College Now Scholars Program, which started in 2011 to prepare the highest-ranking CMSD seniors for college entrance.
  • $750,000 to Cuyahoga Community College for the College Success Program, a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of CMSD students to successfully graduate from high school, make the transition to Tri-C, and succeed in college-level coursework.
  • $280,000 to support Naviance Succeed, a software tracking program that was implemented last fall in the Cleveland schools. Similar to a “personal GPS” system, it helps students identify career interests, select relevant high school courses, pinpoint colleges that best match interests, and track the college <application> progress.
  • $210,000 for scholarships distributed by the Cleveland Foundation Scholarship Selection Committee. Started in 2004, the program provides $1,500 to $3,000 “fill-gap” scholarships to support nontraditional college students with good, though not outstanding, academic achievement.

Economic Transformation

Among the grants authorized in the area of economic transformation are $2.2 million to continue support of three Northeast Ohio organizations focused on regional business attraction and development.

  • $750,000 to NorTech to develop regional innovation clusters in order to grow new industry opportunities. These clusters are centered in the areas of advanced energy, flexible electronics, and water technologies.
  • $750,000 to Team NEO to continue support of its role as the marketing and business attraction engine for an 18-county Northeast Ohio region.
  • $700,000 to JumpStart to accelerate the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem and the development of high-growth businesses throughout the region.

Arts and Culture

The board authorized $1.425 million to fund the next phase of the innovative “Engaging the Future” project. The Cleveland Foundation launched this new arts initiative in November 2011 to help the local arts sector tackle a problem facing arts organizations nationwide – how to attract a younger, more diverse audience.

The arts organizations involved in the project recently completed Phase I – identification of audience development challenges. This self-analysis was captured in online “audio postcards” – featuring each organization’s early thoughts on creative approaches to broadening its fan base. Phase II will involve funding some of these innovative strategies.

The 11 participating organizations are Apollo’s Fire, Beck Center for the Arts, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Play House, Cleveland Public Theater, DANCECleveland, Great Lakes Theater Festival, GroundWorks Dance Theater, Karamu House, Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and SPACES.

Youth Development and Career Training

The board approved a $1.5 million grant to support the youth and adult programs at NewBridge, the Midtown career center which the foundation helped to launch in 2010. It is modeled after the highly successful Manchester Bidwell program in Pittsburgh.

NewBridge offers after-school arts-based enrichment for high school students, as well as medical career training for adults. In July, the medical program will graduate its second phlebotomy class and its first pharmacy technician class. The arts program has had more than 350 student participants from more than 40 high schools in Cleveland and nearby suburbs.

Other Grants

Among the other grants awarded this quarter:

  • $150,000 to Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. (FRDC) to fund the Fairfax Intergenerational Housing project. FRDC is partnering with the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority to develop a housing community serving low-income families with grandparents raising grandchildren. There are 11,000 intergenerational families in Cuyahoga County, with 7,000 in Cleveland alone.
  • $150,000 to Greater Cleveland Sports Commission to support programs to promote successful aging for Cleveland’s seniors in conjunction with the National Senior Games, which Cleveland will host in 2013. In preparation for the games, the Sports Commission is planning a “Year of Vitality,” which kicks off in July 2012. The foundation grant will help fund the Year of Vitality programming, highlighting Cleveland as a city conducive to active aging, giving seniors opportunities to take part in new, healthy behaviors.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $1.8 billion and 2011 grants of $80 million. Through the generosity of our 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 vital issues – economic transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts advancement – and responds to the community’s needs.
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