Cleveland Foundation Awards $21.2 Million in Grants for 4th Quarter

Largest amount foundation has ever given in a single quarter

Release Date: 12.18.2007

The Cleveland Foundation’s board of directors today authorized $21.2 million in grants to address some of the most important issues facing Greater Cleveland. It is the largest amount the foundation has ever awarded in a single quarter.

Grants made this quarter focus on economic development, advanced energy, arts and culture, and public health, among other areas.

“Cleveland and Northeast Ohio have a variety of pressing needs, and that is reflected in the wide range and total amount of these grants,” said Robert Eckardt, senior vice president for programs and evaluation. “Foundation staff work diligently to respond to the ever-changing and ever-growing needs of the community. We are fortunate that, through the continued generosity of our donors, we have the means to respond.”

Nonprofit organizations receiving funding this quarter include:

Economic Development

The board authorized a grant of $3.6 million to Case Western Reserve University in support of the proposed Great Lakes Institute for Energy Innovation. Based in the School of Engineering and building on the university’s existing strengths in fuel cells and material science, the institute will generate new energy technology and conduct research and development in tandem with regional industry. Three major areas of research are envisioned: renewable power, energy storage, and efficiency of larger energy systems. Faculty and researchers at the institute also will develop outreach programs in science, technology, engineering, and math for Cleveland-area K-12 students and teachers. Cleveland Foundation funds will support recruitment of new faculty for the institute.

The Fund for Our Economic Future will receive $4 million. The Fund is a collaboration of philanthropic organizations in Northeast Ohio working together to help transform the region’s economy through grantmaking, research and civic engagement. It has been instrumental in helping to build and bolster inclusive, economy-sustaining industries in the region, a major element of the Cleveland Foundation’s economic development strategy.

A $525,000 grant will be made to the ShoreBank Enterprise Group Cleveland for ongoing operations and expansion of its products and services. ShoreBank promotes entrepreneurship, job growth and commerce to ensure that regional economic improvements also benefit the city’s urban core and minority-owned businesses.

Arts and Culture

The board authorized a $750,000 grant to the Great Lakes Theater Festival to bolster its capital campaign to renovate the Hanna Theater on East 14th Street. Among the planned renovations are reducing the theater’s seating capacity, improving its stage, and creating a professional space more appropriate for many of the community’s smaller performing arts organizations.

The Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood is the recipient of a $200,000 grant for strategic operating support. The grant is recoverable, meaning it will be repaid to the foundation over the course of four years. The Beck Center is the West Side’s oldest major cultural organization.

Youth Development

As one of the first steps in its newly designed Youth Development Initiative, the foundation granted $250,000 to Starting Point to establish “Out of School Time” services for at-risk youth in Cuyahoga County. Out of School Time programs around the country work with students during non-school hours to help them improve academically, behaviorally, emotionally and socially. The grant will help to cover program and personnel expenses.

Public Health

A grant of $200,000 to the City of Cleveland Department of Public Health will support the Making Greater Cleveland Lead-Safe campaign. Lead poisoning is one of the most serious public health concerns facing children in Greater Cleveland. Eleven percent of Cleveland children under the age of 6 have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, far above the national average of only 2 percent. The Lead-Safe campaign will focus on housing and environment; outreach, education and advocacy; medical interventions; and sustainability.

Cleveland’s St. Vincent Charity Hospital also will receive $200,000 for community outreach and health advocacy programs. The hospital serves some of the city’s most economically depressed and poorest neighborhoods, where residents are among those with the highest rates of heart disease and cancer in Cuyahoga County. Many of these diseases could be significantly curtailed or even prevented through healthy lifestyle changes and early diagnosis.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s third-largest today, with assets of $1.9 billion and 2006 grants surpassing $85 million. The foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders in perpetuity by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. Currently the foundation proactively directs two-thirds of its flexible grant dollars to the community’s greatest needs: economic transformation (including advanced energy and globalization), public school improvement, early childhood and youth development, neighborhoods and housing, and arts advancement.

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