Cleveland Foundation announces $18 million in December grants, bringing 2016 support to Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga County nonprofits to $91.2 million

December grants focus on empowering youth through education & violence prevention efforts

release date: 12.16.2016

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation board of directors has approved $18 million in grants for the month of December, bringing the foundation’s fourth-quarter grantmaking total to $30.7 million and the 2016 total to $91.2 million to date.*

The foundation’s support in December centers on empowering the futures of Cleveland’s young people through multiple initiatives, including the development of new schools, enhanced teacher training and student curriculum, and expanded community violence prevention efforts.

“This month’s grants exemplify the foundation’s ongoing focus on young people and ensuring they are equipped to realize their full potential,” said Ronn Richard, President & CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “Throughout the past year, and in partnership with our donors, we’re pleased that more than $91 million in grants enhanced the safety, health and overall well-being of all in our community.”

The December grantmaking includes more than $2.4 million for education, with $1.65 million of that support going to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) for planning, design and start-up of new schools within the district. The support encompasses:

  • $1 million for the creation of three new high schools in partnership with Carnegie Corporation of New York. The project is part of Carnegie’s Opportunity by Design initiative, which seeks to redesign urban high schools using research-based principles. The foundation’s $1 million grant will be combined with a portion of a recent $3 million Carnegie grant and $1 million from the George Gund Foundation to open a newly imagined school at John Adams High School and two new schools at James R. Rhodes High School.
  • $298,404 to support three new-school projects in the district. The grant will help launch the Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School, which aims to prepare students for careers in these fields. Cleveland is a hub for these two industries and each has significant shortages in qualified workers. The school will be temporarily housed in CMSD’s Lakeside Building, which is close to the airport and lakefront and also houses the Cleveland School of the Digital Arts. Part of this grant will support the ongoing academic redesign of the Cleveland School of the Arts and the phase-out of John F. Kennedy High School.
  • $350,000 for the continued transformation of CMSD’s career center high schools into the Academies of Cleveland, moving 5 schools from a traditional vocational education design to a more comprehensive model that combines college preparatory academics with career/technical education. The foundation began partnering with the district on this work in 2014 and this latest grant will support the completion of five-year implementation plans and capacity building at each school.

In addition, several grants benefit efforts for teacher training and enhanced curriculum in the community:

  • $350,000 to Teach for America, Inc. (TFA) to continue the foundation’s support of this program, with the goal of bringing new teachers to Cleveland and developing a pool of potential future education leaders for our city. The foundation has supported TFA since its 2011 Cleveland launch, and, in that time, the program has placed 290 teachers, primarily in CMSD and Breakthrough Schools, with six TFA alumni selected for school leadership or leadership training positions this year.
  • $431,250 in grants to Cleveland State University Foundation to support two separate initiatives:
    • $171,210 for the second year of the Cleveland Foundation Teaching Fellows Program, which places 35 top seniors from CSU’s College of Education and Human Services in year-long paid internship roles within CMSD schools. Modelled after successful urban teacher residency programs nationwide, the program aims to be a pipeline for the district in attracting and retaining some of our area’s most promising teachers.
    • $260,040 for year-two roll-out of the CSforAll program, which aims to provide computer science classes to all CMSD high school students within three years. This grant will allow the program to expand from the current seven high schools to 15 – or half – of the district’s high schools next year.
  • To support CMSD’s vision that all district students should have access to computer science training, the foundation approved a $50,000 grant to Envision Excellence in STEM Education. The grant will fund the creation of a portfolio of computer science curriculum tools and materials to be integrated into CMSD’s K-8 classrooms.

The foundation is continuing its efforts to curb youth violence in our community through two separate grants, totaling nearly $1 million:

  • $800,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland (BGCC) to support the work of the Cleveland Peacemaker’s Alliance (CPA), which BGCC took over management of last December with foundation grant support. This latest grant will support 14 outreach workers, two violence interrupters and three case managers to engage with more than 1,500 gang-involved or at-risk youth. The grant will also assist with the development of a data analysis system, which will allow CPA to better target its services and interventions.
  • $180,000 to Partnership for a Safer Cleveland to implement its Impact 25 youth violence prevention strategy, targeting the most at-risk group – youth and young adults ages 15 to 25. The strategy was developed as part of the City of Cleveland’s participation in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, a network of communities and federal agencies that work together to share best practices in preventing and reducing youth violence. Impact 25 focuses on developing and implementing evidence-based practices, protocols and procedures to best stem the tide of violence in our community. Cleveland Foundation President & CEO Ronn Richard has accepted an invitation to serve as an Impact 25 Advocate. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will convene this body of community leaders quarterly to encourage collaboration from all sectors of the community on this key issue.

*Unaudited total. Official total to be announced in the first-quarter of 2017.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.1 billion and 2015 grants of $95 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 – education and youth development, neighborhoods, health and human services, arts and culture, economic development and purposeful aging – and responds to the community’s needs.

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