The George Gund Foundation has joined an alliance of national and Ohio-based funding partners and approved a $200,000 grant to launch the Ohio Transformation Fund, an initiative focused on changing inequities in the justice system that now result in nearly one in six Ohio adults having some form of criminal record.
“There is growing interest and urgency inside government and across Cleveland and other Ohio communities to seek changes in these policies, especially in light of recent tragic events,” said Senior Program Officer Marcia Egbert.
She said this initiative is an extension of work the Foundation has supported for more than a decade in juvenile justice reform targeted at reducing the number of youth in detention institutions, closing the worst facilities, supporting high-quality community alternatives and shifting state funding to reflect a more community-focused juvenile justice system.
At its summer meeting, Foundation Trustees also approved several grants for continued juvenile justice work including $150,000 over two years to the Northern Kentucky Children’s Law Center, up to $80,000 for the Juvenile Justice Coalition Inc. and up to $85,000 over two years to Case Western Reserve University's Center for Innovative Practices.
“This is an important moment of opportunity in Cleveland and statewide to challenge long-embedded policies and practices in our justice system,” added Egbert. “We hope these investments will help drive effective, equitable and lasting reforms that simultaneously promote fairness and improve community safety.”
The grants were among 92 made to a wide range of education, environment, arts, human services and economic and community development organizations totaling $7,084,400.
Grants of more than $1.3 million reflected the Foundation’s continuing effort to create a portfolio of new, excellent and innovative schools in Cleveland. These included $780,000 to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for three new schools at the newly-rebuilt John Marshall High School, the second year of the Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts and a redesigned Cleveland School of the Arts; $300,000 to Friends of Breakthrough Schools for continued planning and expansion of its charter school network; $170,000 to Bard College for Bard High School Early College Cleveland; and $100,000 to Montessori Development Partnerships for the new Stonebrook Montessori School.
Other grants of interest include:
- $580,000 to the Cleveland Play House for operating support and for the Spotlight on Excellence Centennial Campaign
- $200,000 over two years to the Rails to Trails Conservancy for the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition
- $300,000 to the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County for the PRE4CLE high-quality pre-school initiative
- $180,000 over two years to the Trust for Public Land to support its Cleveland office
- $137,500 to the Cleveland Municipal School District Transformation Alliance
- $20,000 to the St. Clair-Superior Development Corporation for the Upcycle Parts Shop
- $35,000 to the City Club of Cleveland to upgrade the technology used for its forums
The George Gund Foundation was established in 1952 by George Gund, former chairman of the Cleveland Trust Company. The Foundation funds programs that enhance our understanding of the physical and social environment in which we live and increase our ability to cope with its changing requirements. Grants are made three times a year in the areas of education, human services, economic and community development, environment and arts. Foundation commitments to date have totaled more than $672 million.