Cleveland’s anchor institutions pledge $3.2 million to continue Greater Circle Living program in University Circle

Cleveland Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals partner to sustain successful ‘live near work’ program

RELEASE DATE: 12.15.2015

CLEVELAND – Greater Circle Living, an employer-assisted housing program which has helped more than 300 University Circle employees live near their workplaces, will continue for the next five years thanks to $3.2 million in new funding by program partners the Cleveland Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. The announcement was made at an event last night celebrating the 10th anniversary of the anchor institutions’ broader Greater University Circle Initiative, which includes Greater Circle Living and is a collaboration that seeks to connect surrounding neighborhoods with the city’s cultural epicenter to create a vibrant and inclusive urban core.

“The Cleveland Foundation is thrilled to join our partners in renewing Greater Circle Living, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Greater University Circle Initiative,” said Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation, which committed $1 million to the program. “This program has become a national model on how empowering employees to live local can lead to healthier employees and healthier neighborhoods.”

Greater Circle Living, administered by the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation and marketed by University Circle, Inc., offers employees of University Circle nonprofit organizations housing incentives to live in the eight adjacent neighborhoods that make up the Greater University Circle area – Buckeye/Shaker, Central, East Cleveland, Fairfax, Glenville, Hough, Little Italy and University Circle. The program offers forgivable loans of up to $30,000 to purchase a home in the Greater University Circle area, up to $8,000 for home renovation or $1,400 for rental reimbursement.

“The Greater Circle Living program is important to our caregivers and the community in which we live and work,” said Kristen Morris, Chief Government and Community Relations Officer at Cleveland Clinic, which committed $1 million to the program. “It has been transformational to work with University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Foundation to make our neighborhoods stronger. Together we are doing amazing things.”

Prior to the launch of Greater Circle Living in 2008, fewer than 5 percent of University Circle employees lived in the Greater University Circle area. Today, 82 percent of Greater Circle Living participants are from outside the Greater University Circle area. The program has attracted 500 new residents to the area from 25 states, 27 cities and four countries. Additionally, $3.6 million of the partners’ original investment has leveraged $18 million through home purchase, home improvement and rental assistance programs.

“University Hospitals has been grounded in this community for 150 years,” said Steven Standley, UH Chief Administrative Officer. UH pledged $700,000 for Greater Circle Living. “We are committed to the growth and development of the Greater University Circle neighborhood through this program, which contributes to a vibrant urban core in Cleveland. We are proud to be part of the resurgence of the city and its surrounding communities, and pleased that many of our employees are participating. UH employees have let us know that this is one of the many reasons why they choose to work with UH.”     

The renewed support for Greater Circle Living was announced at “Greater University Circle Initiative: A Decade Defined,” an event presented by PNC at the Cleveland Institute of Art. The event featured keynote speaker Phillip Henderson, president of the Surdna Foundation and a leader of the nationwide anchor-institution movement, and drew nearly 300 attendees to celebrate the Greater University Circle Initiative’s “live local, work local, buy local and thrive local” philosophy.

“We continue to feel profound gratitude to the Cleveland Foundation for its leadership of the Greater University Circle Initiative and support of programs like Greater Circle Living,” Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder said. The university pledged $500,000 for Greater Circle Living. “Ronn Richard and all of the foundation staff involved have provided invaluable strategic insight, concrete recommendations and enthusiastic encouragement. Their engagement has helped each of our organizations work more effectively to advance the extraordinary area that we call our university’s home.”


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.

For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, visit www.clevelandfoundation.org/100Plus1 and follow us on  Facebook.com/ClevelandFoundation, Twitter @CleveFoundation and Instagram @CleveFoundation.