Cleveland Foundation receives $1.7 million from Geis Foundation to support youth


CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation today announced the first major gift of its centennial year: $1.7 million from the Erwin & Katherine Geis Charitable Foundation. The gift will be used to establish the Erwin & Katherine Geis Charitable Foundation Fund of the Cleveland Foundation, which will focus on supporting programs for Cleveland-area youth and providing scholarship opportunities.

The Erwin & Katherine Geis Charitable Foundation was established in 2001 and is supported by employees of Geis Companies and members of the Geis family as they honor the legacy of the construction company’s founders. Erwin and Katherine opened the family business as a machine shop in Northfield after emigrating from Germany in 1967. Today, Geis Companies of Streetsboro is one of the largest property development firms in the region and is co-managed by Erwin and Katherine’s sons, Fred and Greg Geis.

“There were a number of people who helped my parents get started in Cleveland, and they never forgot that,” said Fred. “Philanthropy has become the true legacy of my parents. Through our charitable work, which is a partnership with our employees, we hope to support others in the pursuit of the American dream.”

Geis Companies chose to partner with the Cleveland Foundation in part to tap into the foundation’s expertise and community leadership in education and youth development.

“The Cleveland Foundation has positioned itself in front of the key issues today as it helps donors invest in the right causes and really see potential in the city,” Fred said. “Entrepreneurs and donors have a chance to play a visionary role in the development and redevelopment of Greater Cleveland.”

Community revitalization is also an area where Geis Companies and the Cleveland Foundation have historically aligned.

“On behalf of the Cleveland Foundation and future recipients of this generosity, we thank Geis Companies for this gift, the first of our centennial,” said Ronald B. Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “Geis exemplifies the tenet of turning passion into purpose through charity, employee volunteerism, and projects that are laying the groundwork for success for the next generation of Clevelanders.”

Geis Companies is currently developing several projects in Greater Cleveland, including The 9, an upscale hotel with cosmopolitan apartments and other amenities on the site of the former Ameritrust Tower at E. 9th Street and Euclid Avenue.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2 billion and 2013 grants of $89 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – economic transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts advancement – and responds to the community’s needs.

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