03/02/2012 in Featured Grants

Gund Foundation Supports Cleveland Schools Plan

The George Gund Foundation awarded a $700,000 grant to support the bold strategy to reinvent public education in Cleveland proposed by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon.

“The Foundation has been investing in a portfolio of new, innovative and excellent schools in Cleveland for many years in partnership with the Cleveland Foundation, and we enthusiastically support the expansion of this investment as outlined in Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools,” said David Abbott, Foundation executive director, who noted that the plan also has the support of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

“This plan calls for a transition from a single-source school district to a new system of district and charter schools that work in partnership to create achievement gains for every student,” he added. “The plan is built upon growing the number of excellent schools in Cleveland, regardless of provider, and giving these schools autonomy over staff and budgets in exchange for high accountability for performance.”

Grant funds will be used to support many aspects of the plan including new schools planning and development, a new per pupil funding model, marketing and recruitment.

The grant was among 75 totaling $3,645,349 approved by the Foundation’s board at its first meeting of 2012.

Grants were also given to Community Re-Entry ($50,000) to provide comprehensive services to individuals returning to the community from jails and prisons and their families and to Towards Employment ($60,000) for a public policy initiative related to community re-entry issues.

Other grants of interest included:

  • $175,000 over two years to the Cleveland Foodbank for expanded advocacy and public policy initiatives so that it can better meet increased demands for its services
  • Up to $250,000 to the Downtown Cleveland Alliance for continued effort to revitalize downtown Cleveland
  • $60,000 to The Refugee Response to hire an operations director for the Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program’s Ohio City Farms
  • $75,000 to The Nature Conservancy for its Ohio office
  • $85,000 to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for GreenCityBlueLake operating support
  • $38,000 to Case Western Reserve University for the Schubert Center for Child Development’s work on policy related to juvenile justice reform
  •  $50,000 to the Kent State University Foundation for the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
  • $40,000 to the Cleveland Music School Settlement for marketing of the organization’s centennial celebration

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 $584 million.