Cleveland Foundation announces $3.1 million grant to Neighborhood Connections to continue community engagement work

Release Date: 4.10.17

CLEVELAND – Neighborhood Connections, the nationally recognized, community-building program, is proud to announce $3.1 million in funding from the Cleveland Foundation.

The foundation’s board of directors approved the three-year grant earlier this year. The continued funding supports Neighborhood Connections’ signature initiatives – its grassroots grants program and the work of the Neighbor Up network, a diverse group of Greater Cleveland residents striving to make positive change in their neighborhoods and find innovative solutions to larger health and employment issues plaguing communities.

“We could not do what we do without support from the Cleveland Foundation,” said Tom O’Brien, program director of Neighborhood Connections. “The funding allows residents to continue working for meaningful change – not only in their own neighborhoods, but across the entire city.”

Neighborhood Connections’ grant program – the largest grassroots grants program in the country – offers grants of up to $5,000 to groups of residents in Cleveland and East Cleveland to organize projects that improve the quality of life in their communities. Groups are encouraged to work with partners, and to propose creative solutions to challenges in their neighborhoods. Since 2003, Neighborhood Connections has awarded more than 2,655 grants totaling more than $7.9 million. In just the past three years, more than 550 Neighborhood Connections grants totaling $1.5 million have helped secure an additional $5.1 million into Cleveland and East Cleveland neighborhoods.

Neighborhood residents gather in a meeting room for a NeighborUp Network Night In addition, Neighborhood Connections’ Neighbor Up network is leading community engagement work in several Cleveland neighborhoods and with University Circle anchor institutions. The network now has more than 2,000 active members, representing a broad constituency from neighborhoods and anchor institutions. Among the initiatives launched through the Neighbor Up Network are “Step Up to UH” – a jobs pipeline training program – and the “Neighbor Up Wealth Collective” – a group of neighborhood-based small businesses. Since the launch of these projects, 182 residents have been hired through Step Up and a total of $5,500 has been earned by Wealth Collective members at community events.

“The innovative work of Neighborhood Connections is positively transforming neighborhoods in and around the city,” said India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation Senior Vice President, Program. “The Cleveland Foundation is proud to continue our support for the impactful work Neighborhood Connections is doing on the ground every day to improve the lives of our community’s residents.”

The Cleveland Foundation launched Neighborhood Connections in 2003. Its mission is to fuel the power of neighbors to create, together, an extraordinary world right where they live.

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