Cleveland Foundation makes major grant announcement, presents Homer C. Wadsworth Award at 2019 Annual Meeting presented by KeyBank

Release Date: 5.7.2019

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation 2019 Annual Meeting presented by KeyBank served as the backdrop for foundation leadership to highlight more than $101 million in support for nonprofit organizations in 2018 – the second consecutive year grantmaking at the foundation topped $100 million. Last year also represented the second-best fundraising year for the Cleveland Foundation, bringing in more than $132 million from generous donors in Greater Cleveland.

“Together with our donors and outstanding nonprofit, corporate and public sector partners, we had yet another record-breaking year helping the people and places of Greater Cleveland prosper,” said Cleveland Foundation president and CEO Ronn Richard. “It is an honor to serve as the community’s foundation, where we are fortunate to work alongside passionate Clevelanders to create and foster an environment of success for all of our residents.”

The foundation also announced a $2 million grant for Karamu House. Based in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood, Karamu is the oldest African-American producing theater in the country. Support from the Cleveland Foundation, which now totals more than $11 million in Karamu’s 104-year history, will go toward funding the third phase of their current renovation campaign, as well as theater, arts education, and community programming.

“Karamu House has tremendous historic significance in Cleveland and beyond, and the organization is doing meaningful work in the community right now,” said Lillian Kuri, Cleveland Foundation vice president, strategic grantmaking, arts & urban design initiatives. “We are proud to support the ongoing renovation of the venue, which will help further ingrain Karamu’s presence in the Fairfax neighborhood and in the artistic fabric of Greater Cleveland.”

The second phase of the renovation, which is being directed by the architectural firm of Robert P. Madison International, is slated for completion in June. The third phase – for which 70% of the funding has been raised – will focus on creation of a bistro and exterior improvements such as a new entrance, signage and marquee, as well as the installation of public art. Last year, more than 10,500 patrons attended shows at Karamu and more than 6,500 participated in its educational programming.

During the meeting, the foundation also honored Paul Clark, the recently-retired regional president of PNC Bank, with its 2019 Homer C. Wadsworth Award. The award is given annually to a local leader who has demonstrated creativity, innovation, risk-taking and good humor in a civic, volunteer, nonprofit or public sector role.

“Paul Clark embodies Homer Wadsworth’s courage, integrity and humility,” said India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation senior vice president, program. “He has been a tireless champion of education, from early childhood to high school and beyond, as evidenced by his work as co-chair of the Say Yes to Education Cleveland Fundraising Committee. Paul has also worked with a number of local nonprofits and the economic development and advocacy work he spearheaded continues to make our region a great place to live, work and visit.”

Clark retired as the regional president of PNC’s Cleveland market, effective March 31, 2019, after 43 years with the bank. He served as regional president in Cleveland for 14 years, helping lead the local conversion for PNC’s customers, employees and community partners following its merger with National City.

His civic involvement includes heading up the team that led the 2012 creation of the PNC Fairfax Connection, a community resource center PNC opened to offer free programming specifically designed to meet the needs of the underserved community in Cleveland. Today the center has more than 7,000 members who regularly attend classes and workshops on topics including financial education, job readiness, family engagement, technology and more.

A particular passion has been to advocate for the expansion of high-quality early childhood education. While at PNC, Clark did this via PNC Grow Up Great®, the company’s initiative to support high-quality pre-K education. In the Cleveland market, PNC has made more than $9.6 million in grants to local organizations working to better prepare children for school and life. In addition, in conjunction with his role as co-chair of Cuyahoga County Invest in Children, he led a private fundraising effort that raised $13 million in corporate and private donations in just 72 days. Coupled with an additional $10 million public investment by Cuyahoga County, the funding enabled the county to nearly double the number of children receiving help to attend pre-K. Clark also served as co-chair of the Say Yes to Education Cleveland Fundraising Committee that raised nearly $90 million by the January 2019 launch.

Held in the KeyBank State Theatre in Playhouse Square, the Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting included the Robert D. Gries Lecture by engineer, comedian, author and inventor Bill Nye. More than 3,700 free tickets were distributed for this year’s event, which also included a community reception.

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