Cleveland Foundation announces $12.7 million in December grants

Foundation awarded $93.7 million to Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga nonprofits in 2015

RELEASE DATE: 12.18.2015

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors has approved $12.7 million in grants for the month of December, bringing the foundation’s fourth-quarter grantmaking total to $22.4 million and the 2015 total to $93.7 million.*

The foundation’s support in December centers on educational and development programs for young people and adults.

“Through programs aimed at keeping young people positively engaged, to organizations offering new opportunities for adults facing challenges, we are pleased that many of our December grants will help empower a broad segment of Clevelanders to succeed and thrive,” said Robert E. Eckardt, Executive Vice President of the Cleveland Foundation. “As we reflect on the first year of our second century of grantmaking, the foundation is proud of the nearly $100 million in support we’ve provided this year through the generosity of our donors to enhance the lives of residents in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga Counties.”

Among the December grants approved:

$800,000 to support MyCom, the Cleveland Foundation-led youth development initiative:

  • $650,000 to Starting Point, the out-of-school time lead agency for MyCom, to expand and enhance quality programming available to young people, especially in the afterschool hours – a prime period for juvenile crime.
  • $150,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited, the youth employment lead agency for MyCom, to help build its network of private-sector partners to provide increased opportunities to Cleveland teens for year-round jobs and internships.

$325,000 to Esperanza, Inc. to expand its successful educational and family programming, including programs centered on youth leadership, mentorship, family engagement and school attendance. Through its focus on encouraging at-risk youth to stay in school, Esperanza has helped the Hispanic graduation rate in Cleveland grow from 30- to 61-percent over the past five years.

$200,000 to Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland (BGCC) to support the organization’s efforts to grow the number of youth it serves daily from 450 to 1,000 by spring 2016. Expansion plans include the opening of BGCC’s first high school-based clubs at John Adams and Lincoln West High Schools next month. This grant will also help BGCC to continue arts programming it first introduced at all of its 12 sites last year, thanks to a $250,000 Cleveland Foundation grant.

As part of the Cleveland Foundation’s college- and career-focused education strategy, a $220,000 grant to Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) will support the continued transformation of the district’s career center high schools into more innovative and relevant career academies. The foundation helped initiate this work and has funded it through a series of grants over the past two years totaling more than $850,000. The foundation is partnering with CMSD and the Greater Cleveland Partnership to support and develop programs which better equip students with the appropriate credentials to fill available family-sustaining wage jobs in Greater Cleveland.

Additional grants will support adult training programs to further economic stability, especially among Cleveland’s disadvantaged:

  • $150,000 to Asian Services in Action, Inc., a social services agency serving the low-income, limited English proficient Asian immigrant and refugee community in Northeast Ohio. This grant will support the continuation of a successful financial education pilot program, which helped participants build their savings rate and grow their credit scores.
  • $161,088 to Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) to support the organization’s Women’s Business Center of Ohio, launched earlier this year. The Cleveland center is part of a national network of educational centers designed to assist women – especially those with economic or social barriers – in starting and growing small businesses.
  • $190,000 to Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries to bolster its Central Kitchen program, which provides culinary training to formerly incarcerated individuals. This grant will increase wraparound services to participants, including academic tutoring and social services, in order to improve program graduation rates.
  • $11,500 to The Up Side of Downs of Northeast Ohio to support the launch of a new job training program for adults with Down syndrome. The program will be based in the organization’s new retail space in Independence, selling merchandise made by individuals with Down syndrome and employing sales associates who also have Down syndrome.

 *Unaudited total. Official total to be released in the first-quarter of 2016.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.2 billion and 2014 grants of $98 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga Counties 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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