To celebrate the career of retiring board president Geoffrey Gund, the George Gund Foundation awarded $2 million to The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to launch the Geoffrey Gund Fund for Families and Children in his honor. Gund worked at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland in the late 1960s. He served as a trustee of the Foundation for 43 years, 25 years as its president.
The grant was among nearly $11 million awarded by the Foundation at its fall meeting on November 14.
“We often talk about the importance of the ‘Legal Aid story’ our past clients, staff, interns and board members have,” said Colleen Cotter, Legal Aid’s executive director. “The best Legal Aid narratives are those like Mr. Gund’s: where one sees a wrong or injustice, they act on it – not just for the moment they are at Legal Aid, but for a lifetime. This generous gift in honor of Mr. Gund is special because it will extend the reach of justice to so many families and children in our community for years to come. With this gift, Legal Aid can build more partnerships, remove barriers to opportunity and continue to be a catalyst for community change.”
Other grants of interest were:
- $200,000 to the Cleveland operations of Teach for America, a national organization committed to finding, developing and supporting talented teachers to become excellent leaders in today’s classrooms.
- $50,000 to the Northern Ohio office of the Economic and Community Development Institute, a community development financial institution with four offices statewide, which has disbursed more than $10 million through 464 loans to assist marginalized people with loans ranging from $750 to $350,000. The grant will support Set Up Shop, a pilot entrepreneurship program.
- $80,000 over two years to Community Legal Aid Services Inc., to support its medical-legal partnership, Health, Education, Advocacy and Law (HEAL) project. HEAL defends Medicaid and Affordable Care Act access coverage for low-income Ohioans and Greater Clevelanders, through policy advocacy and legal representation.
- $25,000 to Americans for the Arts to support the Cleveland participants in the national Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Fellowship, a one-year professional development program that combines leadership development training with a strong mentorship program for early and mid-career arts administrators of color to increase equitable leadership at arts institutions.
- $150,000 over two years to the FRONT Exhibition Company for a partnership with the Cleveland Public Library to create community outreach and educational programming. The Library will manage community-focused programs leading up to and during the 2021 edition of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. The programming will occur across Cleveland Public Library branches throughout Cleveland.
- $300,000 to the Alliance for Climate Protection to support bringing the Climate Reality Project to Ohio in early 2020. The intensive training will involve up to 1,500 local climate activists over three days to organize citizens and organizations to demand action on climate change from multiple levels of government.
- $200,000 to the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC), an Ohio network of community, labor, faith and policy groups that fight for racial, social and economic justice, especially that affect communities of color. OOC has focused on bail reform policy, developing measures of prosecutor accountability, reclassification of nonviolent felony drug offenses and community organizer training.
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 over $761 million.
Further details on the fall 2019 grant awardees can be found at www.gundfoundation.org.