The Cleveland Foundation offers a variety of scholarships to eligible applicants. While most are for graduating high school seniors attending institutions of higher learning, others enable individuals to pursue vocational training and professional development opportunities.


Applications will be available on the Application Gateway in early January 2021.


General Applications: 
March 15, 2021
Corporate/Group Applications: 
April 15, 2021
Renewal Requirements: 
April 1, 2021

1. Determine Your Application Method 

Refer to our Scholarship Listings page to view all available scholarships and their required application method. Application methods include:

  • General Application – A single application allows you to be considered for multiple scholarships. The process will automatically match you to funds for which you are eligible, based on the information you submit.
  • Corporate/Group Application – Corporate/Group Applications are available to certain individuals due to their personal affiliations with a corporation or group that has established a scholarship with the foundation for their members.
  • External Applications – The application process for some scholarships is administered by the affiliated school or organization. Details and contact information to apply for these scholarships can be found by clicking on the name of the scholarship from the Scholarship Listings page.
  • Renewal – Some scholarships are renewable provided the student has met the requirements for continued support. To renew a current scholarship for the next academic year, complete and return the Renewal/Verification Form and requirements.

2. Review Eligibility Criteria

Please note the following universal eligibility criteria for scholarships offered through the Cleveland Foundation:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen*
  • Must be attending an accredited educational institution
  • Must have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or equivalent GED score (Some scholarships have a higher GPA requirement.)

While not a universal requirement, many of our scholarships require residence within Cuyahoga, Lake or Geauga Counties. 

Applicants must not be a relative of a member of the Cleveland Foundation staff or the foundation’s Board of Directors.

* The U.S. Department of Education defines an eligible noncitizen as a U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island), U.S. permanent resident (who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C [Permanent Resident Card]), or an individual who has an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations: “Refugee;” “Asylum Granted;” “Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending);” “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980); Victims of human trafficking, T-visa (T-2, T-3, or T-4, etc.) holder; or “Parolee” (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.)

Proof of non-citizen eligibility, as defined above, must be uploaded with your basic requirements for your application to be considered complete for consideration.

3. Preview the Application Requirements 

The Cleveland Foundation’s General and new Corporate/Group Applications require an online application through our Application Gateway. You must gather and upload all the required materials listed below in .pdf format before you can submit a completed application. 

Some scholarships have additional requirements and/or request topic-specific essays. Refer to the Scholarship Listings to identify any scholarships of interest and learn of any special/additional requirements needed to improve your chance of an award. 

Application Requirements

  • Current Transcript: 

    Include your high school transcript or GED diploma and any post-high school grade reports. If you have been in college for more than one year, submit your college transcripts ONLY. Unofficial Transcripts accepted. 

  • Essay/Personal Statement:

    Please be sure to thoroughly review the full description of the scholarship(s) for which you are interested to learn whether a special topic should be addressed in your personal statement.

    Please include a personal statement (maximum two double-spaced pages, 12-point font size) that will help committee members get to know you better and learn more about your personal history, goals and interests. In developing this statement, please be sure to address the following:

    • Your greatest strengths, accomplishments, or challenges you have overcome
    • Your field of interest, career goals and why you are pursuing a degree in that field 
    • How a scholarship will help you meet your goals
    • Why continuing your education is important to you
    • How you have served or plan to serve your community
  • (2) Letters of Recommendation:

    Request two letters of recommendation from teachers, supervisors, colleagues or community members. Letters from parents, friends and relatives will not be accepted. Some scholarships may require a letter from a specific person (e.g., music teacher, minister, etc.). We recommend that you upload your letters of recommendation to your application, but if necessary, your references may their letters of recommendation directly to us. If they are emailing us, please ask your reference to include your full name (as it appears on your application) and your application number. You will need to upload a statement to each recommendation requirement identifying the name and title of the reference who will be emailing their letter. We will upload all emailed letters that are received by the application deadline.

  • FAFSA Student Aid Report showing your Expected Family Contribution:

    File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You will need to upload the Student Aid Report (SAR) showing your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is available to you after you complete the FAFSA. Please do not send the foundation your FAFSA. Help in filing a FAFSA is generally available through your high school guidance counselor or college financial aid office.

  • Letter of Acceptance from the school you plan to attend, if available

4. Search for Scholarships

Carefully review our Scholarship Listings page to see all available scholarships and get familiar with the requirements for each. Pay close attention to the documentation and criteria required for each scholarship because not all are the same.

5. Get Started on the Application Gateway

Proceed to the Application Gateway and follow the specific instructions to “Register” (first-time users) or “Login” (returning users). Returning users should login with the email address they used when they first registered and follow the instructions if needed, to recover their password.

For login problems, . Provide your full name, date of birth and the problem you are having. Enter “Login Help” in the subject line, and we will respond to you as quickly as possible. 

Application Gateway