Cleveland Foundation Grants Total $15 Million in 4th Quarter

Areas of focus include economic development, social services, and neighborhood revitalization

Release Date: 12.17. 2009

CLEVELAND – The board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation today authorized $15 million in grants to support a wide range of important issues in Greater Cleveland, including economic development, youth development, education, and neighborhood renewal.

For a full list of grants, please click here.

Among those nonprofit organizations receiving grants this quarter are:

Economic Development

Team NEO, the primary business attraction organization in the 16-county “Cleveland Plus” region, will receive $1 million to bolster its efforts to bring international companies to the area. Much of the work will focus on emerging industries in Northeast Ohio, including medical devices and advanced energy. Targeted countries include Germany, Spain, and other European Union nations; China; and Canada.

“This initiative is vital because our region needs a comprehensive international business attraction plan,” said Robert Eckardt, senior vice president for programs and evaluation for the Cleveland Foundation. “Team NEO will generate leads and help close international business deals to benefit our local economy. The Cleveland Foundation is excited to partner with it.”

The foundation will also put $175,000 toward its own international relations efforts, including work with the Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SME) Union, a group representing more than 300,000 small and mid-sized companies in Europe.

The board authorized a $300,000 grant for phase III of the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of philanthropic organizations that supports regional competitiveness. The Fund works to foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialization, as well as attracting and growing business in key sectors. 

The City of Cleveland Department of Public Utilities will receive $250,000 for the innovative design of a waste-to-energy facility at the city’s Ridge Road Transfer Center. The proposed facility will convert solid waste to synthetic gas, which can be used as a fuel much like natural gas.

Public Education Reform

A grant of $750,000 will be available to help the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) implement its transformation plan. Details will be announced in January 2010, but the plan is likely to address such issues as establishing new schools, promoting academic achievement and accountability, and putting the district on sound financial footing.

A separate grant of $428,000 to CMSD is designed to strengthen the district’s Academic Office. It will be used for professional development of administrators and principals, design of new schools, and improved instruction and intervention for specific student groups such as English language learners, those with disabilities, and gifted students.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation received $200,000 to implement its Ohio STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Teaching Fellows Program. The program recruits high-caliber college graduates with majors in STEM disciplines to teach in high-need urban and rural schools in Ohio.

A $115,000 award went to the Westside Industrial Retention and Expansion Network (WIRE-Net). The funds will support continued planning and design for Cleveland’s proposed new Max Hayes High School, which will serve as a career and technical learning center for high school and adult students.

Neighborhood Revitalization

Shorebank Enterprise Group Cleveland will receive $550,000 to support its work in Cleveland’s neighborhoods. Shorebank operates the Glenville Enterprise Center, which provides reasonably priced office, workshop, studio, and manufacturing space along with common, no-cost business services such as conference facilities, a mail room, loading docks, and seminars. Shorebank also offers business financing through its Enterprise Finance Funds and the ShoreBridge Capital Fund.

ParkWorks will use a $250,000 grant from the foundation to support its partnership with Neighborhood Progress Inc. in improving public spaces in six Cleveland neighborhoods – Buckeye, Detroit-Shoreway, Fairfax, Glenville-Wade Park, Tremont, and Slavic Village – as well as in downtown Cleveland.

A $250,000 loan was made to Enterprise Community Partners to benefit the Retrofit Fund, a demonstration project to retrofit affordable housing units in Cleveland with improved boilers, hot water heaters, and insulation in an attempt to reduce energy and operating costs.

Youth Development

Three grants were made to lead partners of MyCom, the youth development initiative that serves Cuyahoga County children from kindergarten through college:

  • $450,000 to Starting Point to continue its out-of-school-time activities
  • $300,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited to offer summer job opportunities for youth
  • $270,000 to the Cuyahoga County Family and Children First Council to oversee day-to-day operations and management of MyCom

Social Services

The board authorized a $300,000 grant to Emerald Development and Economic Network for renovation of the Community Women’s Shelter in Cleveland. The shelter houses 1,000 homeless women and children each year, but its two buildings are in need of significant upgrading to better serve residents and staff. The planned renovations also will help reduce operating costs.

Health Care

Grants of $150,000 and $100,000, respectively, were made to Neighborhood Family Practice and Care Alliance to implement electronic health records and improve patient care and organizational efficiency. During the economic downturn, the two health care centers have seen increased demand for their services from new patients, many of whom are recently unemployed.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s third-largest today, with assets of $1.8 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, human services and youth development, neighborhoods and housing, and arts advancement.

For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, please visit