Cleveland Foundation Grants Total $18.8 Million in 4th Quarter

Funds touch several areas, from education to economic development

Release Date: 12.17.2008

In an ongoing effort to address Cleveland’s most pressing issues and create opportunities for the future, the board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation today authorized $18.8 million in grants and loans to various nonprofit organizations in the community. Among those receiving funds were:

Public Education

The board authorized seven grants totaling nearly $1.5 million to support students and schools within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). More than half that amount – $800,000 – will be used to help the district audit its existing specialty programs and schools, develop strategies to address schools in academic emergency or on academic watch, and make the best use of its facilities as it responds to declining enrollment while advancing educational reforms. 

“With these grants, we reaffirm our commitment to partnering with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District,” said Robert Eckardt, senior vice president for programs and evaluation at the Cleveland Foundation. “At a time of economic crisis, it is critical that the resources of the district be used as effectively as possible, and these grants will help to ensure that.”

CMSD will receive a grant of $217,600 to implement its Closing the Achievement Gap program for 10th grade males in the district. The program seeks to help boys stay in school and graduate on time through the use of mentors, an extensive support system, field trips, parent engagement, and tutoring.

Other grant dollars will help the district develop curriculum and improve services to English-language learners and gifted students, provide continued support for the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine, and fund a planning process for the proposed new Max Hayes High School.

Economic Development

For the sixth consecutive year, the board voted to lend support to the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of philanthropic organizations and individuals aiming to strengthen economic development in Northeast Ohio. The $4 million Cleveland Foundation grant will support the Fund in its own grantmaking efforts.

Other economic development actions authorized this quarter include:

  • $750,000 loan to the Common Wealth Revolving Loan Fund to support employee-owned firms in the region, enhancing employment opportunities and bolstering job creation and retention, particularly in the manufacturing sector.
  • $310,000 to the Ohio Aerospace Institute for construction of a renewably generated hydrogen fueling station for hydrogen-powered vehicles.
  • $272,500 to the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners to help develop the Great Lakes Wind Energy Center, a pilot wind energy project and technology development center to be associated with Case Western Reserve University.
  • $250,000 to Shorebank Enterprise Group Cleveland to continue its work providing direct lending and business development services to entrepreneurs, particularly those in underserved communities within Cleveland.
  • $250,000 to continue the Cleveland Foundation’s globalization initiative, which is designed to attract international companies to Cleveland.

Arts and Culture

“Creative Fusion” is the Cleveland Foundation’s multiyear initiative to bring accomplished artists from diverse cultures to Cleveland for extended periods of time. These artists will be embedded within existing cultural institutions to bring to Cleveland a cultural exchange of ideas, experiences, and creative expression.

Grants totaling $189,527 were authorized to the Cleveland State University Foundation, Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio, Playhouse Square Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, and the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. Those funds will support such activities as bringing Turkish artists to Ohio, developing a public art project with an international artist, attracting a persecuted writer to live and work in Cleveland, and finding ways for Northeast Ohio to engage with India’s popular culture as epitomized in that country’s “Bollywood” films.

Youth Development

Earlier this year, the Cleveland Foundation and its community partners introduced MyCom, a movement to connect young people in Cuyahoga County with comprehensive services they need to become successful teens and adults. The board authorized two MyCom-related grants:

  • $450,000 to Starting Point, a county agency that will provide out-of-school-time activities.
  • $350,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited, which will help prepare young people for employment and help them find summer jobs.

Neighborhoods and Housing

ParkWorks will receive $225,000 to continue its work in six Cleveland neighborhoods. ParkWorks enhances quality of life in Cleveland communities through park rehabilitation, recreational opportunities, beautification and green space development, environmental awareness, and citizen engagement. The organization will use this Cleveland Foundation grant to focus resources on land vacated by foreclosures and to maintain projects already under way at such sites as Harvey Rice Elementary School, Heritage Lane Park, and outdoor recreation facilities in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.

Faith- and Community-Based Organizations

A grant of $500,000 was authorized for Project Access, a Cleveland Foundation program that strengthens the leadership, management, and operations skills of small faith- and community-based organizations in Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs. That, in turn, helps those organizations better provide assistance to individuals in need in the community. In its first three years of existence, Project Access has helped more than 110 such groups.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s third-largest today, with assets of $2.2 billion and 2007 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.

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