Grantmaking Highlights

We believe grants of all sizes can make a difference. Each year, we authorize about 3,000 grants to meet community needs. Following are just a sample of the grants made in 2015 in four of the areas in which we focus:


The following grants were approved by the Cleveland Foundation board of directors in September 2015 as part of the foundation’s effort to bolster career education and training programs:

  • $98,000 to Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) to continue the foundation’s key role in supporting the transformation of the district’s four career center high schools – Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Max Hayes and Washington Park – from traditional vocational education design into a comprehensive career academy model. A fifth CMSD school, Garrett Morgan School of Science will also transition to this model. Grant support includes school-based professional development, the onboarding of newly hired academy coordinators charged with developing business and higher education partnerships and the creation of career guides for the pathways offered across the five academies, detailing jobs and salaries, required postsecondary credentials and relevant high school courses. The Cleveland Foundation has provided more than $600,000 in grants to support this transformation effort.
  • $200,000 to Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) to help launch a new program that aims to create an employer-driven advanced manufacturing career pathway for Cleveland’s youth. The program will allow students in high school to earn a high school diploma, a technical degree and additional college credits towards an associate’s degree. The coursework will also be combined with manufacturing experience that is partially- to fully-funded by the employer during part-time employment.
  • $169,000 to Westside Industrial Retention & Expansion Network (WIRE-Net) for the development of an apprenticeship consortium. Six employers have signed up thus far to participate in the consortium to provide apprenticeships which will allow individuals to “earn while they learn,” combining customized work experience with technical on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
  • $250,000 to University Hospitals Health System to expand the successful Step Up to UH program, which has focused on linking residents of the Greater University Circle neighborhoods to available entry-level jobs at the health system. The program includes neighborhood-based recruitment events, a 3-week job readiness training session and post-employment coaching. To date, the program’s graduates have a 75 to 80-percent retention rate, which far exceeds the average for these typically high-turnover positions. The Cleveland Foundation provided a $200,000 grant to support the pilot stage of this program.
  • $100,000 to the Spanish American Committee for a Better Community to assist with the development and implementation of the Families First program. The program will provide job readiness and placement for community members who only speak Spanish or limited English. In addition to the job readiness and placement services, the program will incorporate financial literacy workshops so that residents have the tools to manage their finances and build wealth once employed.

Boy holding pencil, working on paper.EDUCATION

  • $860,000 to College Now Greater Cleveland for their efforts to increase college access and educational attainment levels in our community. The grant will support their college advisers and career pathway coaches in Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) schools; the Cleveland Foundation College Now Scholars Program; scholarships for CMSD students; and personalized college advising, financial aid counseling and scholarships for adult learners. 
  • $175,000 to the Cleveland Transformation Alliance to help continue its work as the trusted adviser on education reform in Cleveland and the go-to resource for families seeking information about public schools.  
  • $250,000 for two programs to celebrate the role of teachers in the success of our schools. We’re proud to support the Excellence in Teaching Award, launched in May 2016 by CMSD, the Cleveland Teachers Union, the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation to recognize and reward CMSD teachers who demonstrate instructional expertise, creativity and innovation in their classrooms. The same organizations are collaborating with the Mid-American Conference to design and implement a new teacher induction and development program, which aims to help new teachers commit to Cleveland and the Cleveland Plan. 

Cleveland Food BankHUMAN SERVICES

  • $85,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Ohio (BBBSNEO) to serve Lake and Geauga County foster youth living in group homes. This grant will help BBBSNEO provide regular on-site group mentoring sessions at the homes and will help BBBSNEO connect youth to community-based programs and services.
  • $75,000 to Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County to support plans for a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in Cuyahoga County. CASA programs, operating in many cities across the country, provide trained and supervised community volunteers to advocate in juvenile court and the child welfare system for the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected.
  • $146,459 to Achievement Centers for Children (ACC) will assist ACC in acquiring North Coast Therapy Associates to increase important services to children and teens with disabilities.
  • $90,000 to the Westside Catholic Center, which has helped those in need of food, clothing, shelter and advocacy for nearly 40 years. We’re supporting their work to implement a new case management software platform to help track the number of people the organization serves and manage volunteer outreach.

Girl dipping brush in paint paletteYOUTH DEVELOPMENT

  • $50,000 to the Cleveland Leadership Center supporting the expansion of the Empower Cleveland Youth (ECY) initiative, a 10-week summer program that delivers civic leadership development, mentoring and job shadowing opportunities to Cleveland high school students, who earn a wage for their participation in the program. Now in its second year, ECY will nearly double the number of youth served in the program and will offer programming beyond the 10-week session to provide a richer experience for youth and extend mentorship opportunities.
  • $200,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) to support the placement of at least 3,000 youth in summer employment opportunities in fields including allied health, business and marketing, retail/sales, as well as the public and nonprofit sectors. These summer jobs help youth prepare for careers by providing employability skills training and exposing youth to career pathways. 
  • $50,500 to Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) for programs that are part of our Encore Cleveland Initiative. The grant will help the STEAM volunteers program – which pairs teens ages 11-18 with adults ages 50+ who have experience in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and design – expand opportunities for Encore volunteers to serve seven additional library branches. The grant also continues our support for the Encore Entrepreneur Series at CCPL, which supports entrepreneurial growth and education for adults ages 50+ via a free series of six, one-hour weekly classes that can help individuals launch a small business or new product through the library’s Innovation Centers.

Recent Grants

Lists do not include designated grants, donor-advised grants, or grants made by supporting organizations. See all Foundation grants lists and financial statements or you can search grants.