Charitable + Grantmaking

What’s Your Passion?

Maybe it's children with special needs, or Alzheimer's disease patients, or addiction recovery, or the environment. If you're a prospective donor, you should know you can give through the Cleveland Foundation to all the beloved charitable organizations that serve your personal interests. If you're a potential grantee, know that you don't have to be the CEO of an anchor institution or a mayor pressing a major initiative to get our attention. As your community foundation, we work across all sectors, listening to every voice and welcoming grant inquiries and applications from nonprofit organizations of all sizes. Our community responsive grants come in all sizes, too. Responding to a broad range of needs throughout the community, we likely support causes dear to your heart, whether you aspire to make a gift or apply for a grant. Won't you join us?

Strengthening the community: it goes beyond funding

In 2011, we made approximately 190 community responsive grants with a total value of $19 million. The smallest grants were in the $5,000 range; the two largest were each $1.5 million.

In evaluating grant requests, we adhere to four priorities:

  • Provide access to services and programs for vulnerable, underserved populations
  • Strengthen nonprofit organizations
  • Test new ideas
  • Support policy and advocacy work that can move the community forward

We move nimbly to address critical needs, linking organizations with funds and expertise, and providing a safe space where nonprofit leaders can air tough issues. The lingering downturn, for example, has challenged some savvy grantees who appreciate the opportunity to explore radical ideas such as changing their services or merging with a peer.

Here's a glimpse of our recent community responsive work.

Asian immigrants reap benefits from farming programs

In Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Asian immigrants and refugees are applying their native farming skills to achieve self-sufficiency in a strange new culture. They're part of a special project of Asian Services in Action, which is helping these low-income people adapt to a North American agricultural climate and take advantage of the trend toward locally grown food. In a pilot project, participants

consumed a portion of their harvest and sold the rest to local farmers' markets and other customers. With subsequent plans to enroll 100 refugees in an expanded agricultural program, ASIA turned to us; we authorized a grant of $127,820. Some produce harvested during this phase will help stock ASIA's food pantry, extending the program's benefits to the wider community.

City youngsters learn to make beautiful music

A $100,000 grant is helping fund a pilot program at the Eleanor B. Rainey Memorial Institute that gives children access to professional musicians. Spearheaded by Isabel Trautwein, a first violinist with the Cleveland Orchestra, and based on Venezuela's El Sistema Project,

the Rainey program offers youths the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument and to join an orchestra. This training teaches children social skills, boosts their self-esteem, and exposes them to the miracle of classical music.

A cherished family shares its treasures

The legacy of the late Frank and Nancy Porter permeated the community as we distributed modern art from the couple's extensive collection. The artwork was part of the Porters' 2003 bequest, the largest gift in our history at that time. Much of this art was auctioned, raising funds for our Frank H. and Nancy L. Porter Fund, but 29 pieces remained. Local nonprofits were invited to view these artworks online and submit requests for their favorites. Ultimately, we divided this special donation among numerous grantees, including:

  • WIRE-Net, which will install its two sculptures in 2015 at the redesigned Max Hayes High School
  • New Avenues to Independence, recipient of "Interlock," an abstract work by former Cleveland Institute of Art President David Deming that is now in the organization's therapy garden
  • University Hospitals, which obtained David Annesley's "Big Ring," to be installed at UH Ahuja Medical Center