The Board of Trustees approved several grants that continue the Foundation’s deep commitment to restorative justice. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio, Ohio Justice and Policy Center, Towards Employment, and the Juvenile Justice Coalition are among those grantee partners working toward long-term criminal legal system reform. These organizations are moving Cleveland and Ohio away from a system of cash bail; reducing barriers to successful community re-entry for persons previously incarcerated; advocating for an end to mandatory bindover of youth to the adult prison system; and catalyzing progress within our local institutions.
“Our grantee partners are embodying the difficult balance of daily and systematic work that moves our community toward a model of restorative justice,” said Tony Richardson, president of The George Gund Foundation. “Even more critically, their work is expressly informed and driven by the lived experience of those confronting injustices in the juvenile and adult carceral systems, both locally and statewide.”
For example, the ACLU of Ohio will serve as fiscal manager for a two-year $150,000 grant on behalf of a reform-focused partnership they have with Children’s Law Center-Ohio office and the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University. The primary goal of the partnership is to develop and implement the Cuyahoga County Youth Justice Action Plan. The plan will call for just policies and equitable culture change at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center, alternatives to juvenile lock-up through community partnerships, and public communications strategies which dispel myths and stereotypes around juvenile crime.
Additional grants across program areas include:
- $200,000 over two years to Enlightened Solutions to support its research-based solutions that center the lived experiences of a diverse group of Black women in Cleveland, such as the Project Noir survey.
- $150,000 over two years to The Plexus Education Foundation for the development and implementation of a Workplace Inclusion Hub, providing tools, best practices, and assistance to small businesses on how to foster LGBTQ+ programs and policies.
- $235,000 to National Disability Institute to co-design an investment strategy for people with disabilities in Northeast Ohio.
- $75,000 to Linking Employment, Abilities & Potential (LEAP) to support efforts that provide access, eliminate barriers, and create opportunities for persons with disabilities.
- $150,000 to Cleveland Print Room to advance the art and appreciation of the photographic image in all its forms by providing affordable access to a community darkroom and workspace, gallery exhibition, educational programs, and collaborative outreach.
- $50,000 over two years to Dobama Theatre for the FOCUS Apprentice Program, a professional development program that provides an opportunity for emerging artists from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Deaf, Disabled, and other communities to receive close mentorship and professional credits in the areas of design, stage management, and technical direction.
- $55,000 to The Musical Arts Association for the Arts Administration Internship Pilot, an immersive six-month program, providing hands-on experience in the world of performing arts management through rotating internships across The Cleveland Orchestra.
- $600,000 over three years to Positive Education Program (PEP) for investments in staff training, coaching, and support as they continue to provide direct and consultative services for children who experience complex developmental trauma, mental health issues, and autism.
- $1,500,000 over three years to support Say Yes to Education scholarship recipients through their postsecondary pursuits, including expanded and intensive coaching and wraparound services that help students enroll in, persist through, and graduate from college or postsecondary certificate programs.
- $300,000 over two years to Rails to Trail Conservancy for continued leadership and technical assistance on trail development, access, and resources, including facilitation of the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition.
- $150,000 over two years to Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest, a public interest law firm that promotes development of clean-energy resources and implementation of energy-efficiency technologies, for work in its Ohio office.
A full list of July 2023 grants can be found at gundfoundation.org.
In 1952, The George Gund Foundation was established by George Gund—former chair of the Cleveland Trust Company. The Foundation funds organizations that enhance our understanding of the physical and social environment in which we live and increase our ability to respond to its ever-changing nature. Grants are made three times a year in the areas of climate and environmental justice, creative culture and arts, democracy building, public education, thriving families and social justice, and vibrant neighborhoods and inclusive economies. To date, Foundation commitments have totaled nearly $903 million.