Cleveland Foundation Grants $10 Million in 1st Quarter

Grants target immediate and long-term needs of region

Release Date: 03.26.2009

To help local nonprofit organizations serve the community during the economic downturn, the board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation today authorized $10 million in grants to support economic transformation, public school improvement, neighborhoods and housing, youth development, health care, and other vital areas.

“The current economic crisis is challenging to grantmakers and nonprofit agencies alike,” said Robert E. Eckardt, senior vice president for programs and evaluation at the Cleveland Foundation. “We remain committed to helping those groups that improve people’s daily lives, as well as to supporting long-term, proactive initiatives for strengthening Cleveland.”

Among those receiving funding from the foundation this quarter are:

Economic transformation

Shorebank Enterprise Group Cleveland was awarded $2.25 million to capitalize the Evergreen Cooperative Development Fund. The fund will assist a network of businesses that will be established in the neighborhoods of Cleveland’s Greater University Circle area. These businesses will employ local residents and, in most cases, be owned in whole or in part by the employees or by community-based nonprofit organizations and development corporations. This year, the fund plans to invest in starting businesses that include a commercial laundry service and a firm that will install and own solar panels in University Circle.

The board also voted to grant $450,000 to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for three priority projects:

  • $175,000 for planning and staffing necessary to launch cargo container shipping service. Such service will allow the port to become a major national transportation hub, connecting Midwest manufacturers directly to international markets via the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • $150,000 to plan for redevelopment of the port’s current site after its planned relocation to the East 55th Street area.
  • $125,000 to begin development of an international trade district in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood. The objective would be for domestic and international companies to establish distribution, manufacturing, warehousing, and assembly facilities near the proposed new port site.

Health care

Case Western Reserve University is the recipient of a $1.5 million grant for expansion of its Center for Proteomic Medicine. Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of proteins, which helps researchers identify causes and treatments for various human diseases. The center received an initial $1.5 million grant from the Cleveland Foundation in 2005.

Neighborhoods and housing

Neighborhood Progress Inc. (NPI) will receive $827,000 in support of its Strategic Investment and Vacant Property Reform initiatives. Through the Strategic Investment Initiative, NPI works to improve existing homes and acquire properties for redevelopment, demolition, and land reuse, with the goal of increasing property values, home ownership, and occupancy rates in select Cleveland neighborhoods. The Vacant Property Reform Initiative provides local community development corporations with operating support, strategic planning, training and technical assistance, debt and equity investments, and real estate development in an effort to prevent foreclosures and property abandonment.

A grant of $167,000 to the Cleveland Housing Network (CHN) will support that organization’s continuing operations. CHN works to restore housing market confidence in Cleveland, eliminating blight, preserving existing property values, enabling more families to become homeowners through a lease-to-own program, and helping current homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The board authorized $450,000 for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance for operations and priority projects. The alliance’s objectives include promoting Downtown Cleveland as an inviting, safe, and attractive place; stabilizing and increasing occupancy of the area’s commercial market and attracting investment in housing and infrastructure; and advocating and implementing essential quality-of-life amenities in Downtown Cleveland.

Youth development

MyCom, the Cleveland Foundation-led youth movement that provides positive experiences and caring adults for young people in Cuyahoga County, will benefit from four grants totaling $1.2 million:

  • $750,000 to the Neighborhood Leadership Institute to implement youth programs in eight selected neighborhoods around the county
  • $150,000 to the Cuyahoga County Department of Workforce Development to fund Just About Jobs, a summer youth employment program
  • $160,000 to Kent State University to collect and evaluate data in MyCom neighborhoods to inform programs, services, policies, and future funding decisions
  • $140,000 for communications and community mobilization to spread the word among families so they know how to access MyCom programs and services

Human services

The board authorized a $145,000 grant to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center for support of its Capacity Building Initiative. Through the initiative, the center seeks to move and expand its facilities, launch two satellite sites in the far east and west suburbs, expand its marketing and communications efforts, support public policy efforts to rebuild an anti-sexual assault coalition in Ohio, and develop culturally specific programs for the Spanish-speaking community and other underserved populations.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s third-largest today, with assets of $1.6 billion and 2008 grants nearing $85 million. The foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders 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.
For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, please visit