Cleveland Foundation Grants Total $15.3 Million in 2nd Quarter

Awards focus largely on helping nonprofits survive economic crunch

Release Date: 06.26.2009

The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation today authorized $15.3 million in grants to a variety of nonprofit organizations in Greater Cleveland, with a significant portion designed to help them continue to fulfill their missions during the economic crisis.

“Normally, the foundation spends about one-third of our flexible grant dollars responding to direct requests from nonprofits and two-thirds proactively directing dollars into areas we deem critical to the community,” said Robert Eckardt, senior vice president for programs and evaluation. “But given the difficult economy, this quarter a larger-than-normal percentage of our grantmaking is responsive to requests from the community.”

Among those receiving funding from the foundation this quarter are:

Heath Care/Social Services

A $250,000 grant will help the American Red Cross, Greater Cleveland Chapter cover staffing requirements and support direct disaster relief in Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lake counties. Like many human service organizations, the Red Cross has dealt with significant cuts in funding in recent months. This Cleveland Foundation grant will give the agency the ability to continue responding to basic human needs in the community.

The board authorized a grant of $150,000 to the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland in support of its expanded patient access initiative. Through this effort, the clinic seeks to improve its outreach and access to various communities that lack health insurance coverage, and significantly increase the number of patients it serves overall. In 2008, the Free Clinic served 10,000 patients, about 43 percent of whom were employed but did not have insurance coverage.

North Coast Health Ministry will receive a $53,000 grant to implement a behavioral health program to provide mental health counseling to 120 patients a year. This new service will shorten the time primary care providers spend addressing patients’ mental health concerns, allowing them to focus on managing serious chronic conditions.

Neighborhoods and Housing

Through a grant of $250,000, the Cuyahoga County Treasurer’s Office will be able to expand its Foreclosure Prevention Program to at-risk homeowners in a number of inner-ring suburbs. The nationally recognized program has prevented more than 4,500 people from losing their homes to foreclosure through financial counseling and other services.

Early Childhood and Youth Development

Since 1999, Invest in Children has worked for the well-being of young children up to 5 years of age in Cuyahoga County by providing supportive services to parents and caregivers, and building awareness and advocacy in the community around children and family issues. In light of the program’s ongoing success, the board authorized a grant of $500,000 for evaluation, public awareness and outreach, and strengthening of existing services.

The board also voted to award $236,000 to Voices for Ohio’s Children for its work in helping Greater Cleveland youth transition successfully into adulthood. Part of the grant is dedicated to MyCom, the Cuyahoga County and Cleveland Foundation youth movement that provides young people, kindergarten through graduation, with the positive experiences and caring adults they need to reach their full potential and become good citizens. MyCom offers employment opportunities and out-of-school-time activities, helps young people through school transitions (e.g., home to kindergarten, elementary school to middle school, etc.), and links them to resources and opportunities in their neighborhoods.

Public Education Reform

The foundation committed up to $831,000 to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD) “Portfolio of Excellent Schools” strategy. Through this effort, CMSD has established several new schools since 2006. These schools have significantly outperformed their district peers in test scores, student attendance and retention, teacher retention, safety, and discipline. CMSD also received $95,000 for leadership development for principals and district administrators charged with turning around low-performing schools.

The Village Preparatory School will receive $180,000 to support its first two years of operation. The new elementary school for students in kindergarten through fifth grade will serve as a complement and feeder school to the Entrepreneurship Preparatory School (E Prep), a charter school authorized by CMSD for students in sixth through eighth grade. Village Prep plans to adopt many of the core practices that have made E Prep so successful, including an extended school day and year, uniform policies, a strict code of conduct, and a culture of high expectations.

Urban School News is the recipient of a $185,000 grant for its Catalyst: Ohio newsmagazine. For the past decade, Catalyst: Ohio has reported in depth on urban school improvement efforts in the state for its audience of policymakers, school and community leaders, and educators.

The board directed $70,000 to the Ohio Grantmakers Forum to begin the fourth phase of its ongoing education initiative. The first three phases included an in-depth analysis on the state of education in Ohio, a public engagement and education process on the findings, and creation of two work groups to develop policy recommendations for preparing students for success in the global economy and fostering quality teaching and effective school leadership. In this latest phase, the initiative will seek to influence state education policy and facilitate more effective education grantmaking.

Arts and Culture

The foundation will grant a combined total of $1.45 million to eight local arts groups as part of its Sustaining Excellence Program, which supports important arts organizations that have risk-taking business models. Those receiving funding are:

  • Cleveland Orchestra – $500,000
  • Community Partnership for Arts and Culture – $300,000
  • Cleveland Play House – $150,000
  • Great Lakes Theatre Festival – $150,000
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland – $100,000
  • Playhouse Square Foundation – $100,000
  • Apollo’s Fire – $75,000
  • Cleveland Public Theatre – $75,000

To aid in the construction of a new headquarters, the board agreed to grant $250,000 to the Rainey Institute, an organization dedicated to social change for Cleveland’s economically disadvantaged youth through education and participation in the performing and visual arts. Rainey will construct its new facility in the Hough neighborhood.

Civic Affairs

The Cleveland Leadership Center was awarded $565,000 to operate the Cleveland Executive Fellowship, in which fellows complete high-level assignments in corporate, education, nonprofit, and public-sector workplaces. At the end of that experience, fellows are encouraged to pursue important roles in the public or nonprofit sectors. Past fellows have gone on to positions of leadership within the office of the mayor of the City of Cleveland, Nortech, and CMSD.


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 of $84 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.

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