Cleveland Foundation announces $9.9 million in September grants

Board approves $21.1 million for Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga nonprofits in Q3 2017

 RELEASE DATE: 09.27.207

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors today approved $9.9 million in grants for the month of September. Supporting residents in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties, the foundation’s grantmaking for the third quarter of 2017 now totals $21.1 million, bringing the yearly investment in Greater Cleveland to $62.9 million.

This latest round of community funding is concentrated primarily on three areas: education, health & human services and successful aging.

“The foundation continues to provide support to strengthen, build capacity and improve access to organizations serving many of our most vulnerable residents,” said India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation senior vice president, program. “The organizations represented in our grantmaking this month are critical partners in the Cleveland community.”

Highlights from recently approved grants include:

  • Beginning in 2006, and embedded as a major component of the Cleveland Plan in 2012, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) began its transition from comprehensive, neighborhood-based high schools toward a citywide portfolio that includes numerous specialty high schools. Typically, new high schools need up to four years to reach full enrollment and become self-sustaining. To help support the launch and continued start-up of 12 new high schools, the foundation granted nearly $1.2 million to CMSD. With the addition of three new high schools in August, students now have access to 34 high schools across the city.
  • Another aspect of the Cleveland Plan is to expand and support high-quality preschool education across the city. With that in mind, PRE4CLE was launched in March 2014 and has resulted in the creation of an additional 1,400 high-quality preschool seats. In order to accelerate the availability of high-quality preschool, increase parent awareness and engage policymakers around the importance of high-quality preschool, the foundation approved a $250,000 grant to Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County to support staffing around these PRE4CLE initiatives.
  • In 2015, Montessori Development Partnerships launched a new public charter school in Cleveland, Stonebrook Montessori, intended to serve 300 children ages 18 months to 15 years within its first decade. Sponsored by CMSD, the school is located in the Glenville neighborhood, one of Cleveland’s most educationally under-resourced neighborhoods. The foundation granted Montessori Development Partnerships $150,000 to support operations.
  • Serving Northeast Ohio for more than a decade, the Equality Ohio Education Fund (EOEF) is committed to collaborative work at the local level to educate residents about issues facing the LGBTQ community. Due to the fact that Ohio is one of the 28 states that do not protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, EOEF has become the de facto legal resource for everyone from individual citizens to government entities. EOEF received a grant of $279,500 from the foundation, part of which will be used to pilot a Northeast Ohio LGBTQ Legal Clinic – including a dedicated attorney – to better serve the community while building relationships with national organizations.
  • Now in its third decade of serving Greater Cleveland, Empowering & Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) is primarily focused on economic issues threatening seniors aging in place in Cuyahoga County. In 2014, ESOP launched the Senior Financial Empowerment Initiative (SFEI) to provide older adults (age 50+) with the knowledge, skills and abilities to better enable them to age in place with greater economic stability. In three years, ESOP has served more than 10,000 older adults through financial education workshops and one-on-one financial coaching and counseling services. The foundation approved a $100,000 grant to ESOP to support the expansion of its suite of financial programs and workshops.
  • The American Association of Retired People (AARP) Experience Corps intergenerational tutoring program builds and strengthens the literacy skills of underperforming children in grades K-3. Nationally managed by AARP, the program currently operates in 20 cities across the country – including Cleveland, where Greater Cleveland Volunteers (GCV) has managed it in CMSD since 1997. One of the first grantees under the foundation’s Encore initiative launched in 2013, GCV is charged with recruiting and placing Encore-aged volunteers (50+), as well as expanding its My Mentor My Friend program geared towards children in grades 4-8. In order to help accomplish these goals, the foundation granted GCV $207,600.
  • Under the guidance of WIRE-Net, the Encore Cleveland Technical Corps Program (TCP) has seen substantial growth over the past three years. Designed to engage retired and retiring tradespeople in the education of the next generation of skilled workers, this program builds on a 25-year partnership between WIRE-Net and CMSD. After starting solely with welding, the TCP grew last year to include auto tech, diesel mechanics, and building and property maintenance career pathways. The foundation approved a grant of $131,529 to WIRE-Net to recruit, train and place additional tradesmen and technicians, as well as to help create a SkillsUSA chapter. The mission of these chapters is to improve the skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training.