07/10/2024 in Announcements

The Gund Foundation awards $12.5 million at its June meeting

The George Gund Foundation awarded $12.5 million at its June meeting, including numerous grants to nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations to advance a vigorous, inclusive, and functioning democracy, as well as grants to safeguard reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care.

Among the Foundation’s democracy building awards were grants to Cleveland VOTES, a nonpartisan democracy-building entity that works to strengthen the power of historically marginalized populations in Greater Cleveland through a wide array of nonpartisan civic engagement activities; Faith in Public Life, a national, nonpartisan multifaith and multiracial coalition of influential faith leaders promoting a healthy and equitable democracy via nonpartisan voter education, outreach, and mobilization actions; the Fair Election Center, a national, nonpartisan voting rights and election reform organization that uses litigation and advocacy to remove barriers to voting—particularly among underrepresented and marginalized communities; and the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, a nonpartisan statewide organization that empowers Ohio’s Black community through research, policy advocacy, and community engagement to drive equitable opportunities and systemic change.

Following the landmark passage of Ohio Issue 1 last November, which embedded reproductive rights in the Ohio Constitution, the Foundation made several awards to support the full spectrum of reproductive choice, including grants to Adoption Network Cleveland, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Preterm, and Signature Health, among others. These entities and many others across the state are working together to ensure access to the full continuum of reproductive health care in Ohio.

In addition to these awards, the Foundation’s grants reflect priorities outlined in the Foundation’s What We Believe statement as well as priorities across program areas. Grants include the following:

  • $300,000 over two years for operating support to Citizens Utility Board of Ohio, a nonpartisan consumer watchdog that advocates for residential and small business utility customers. CUB-OH is working with Cleveland Public Power to help it meet its goals to provide more clean energy to its customers and reduce customers energy costs.
  • $200,000 over two years to the Economic and Community Development Institute for operating support for its Northern Ohio office. ECDI offers wrap-around business development services such as access to affordable capital, business/finance training, technical assistance, networking and mentor opportunities, and multiple incubator and accelerator programs throughout the state. ECDI’s target market includes those who face systemic barriers in business development, including people of color, women, people from low- and moderate-income households, rural communities, veterans, immigrants, and refugees.
  • $400,000 to College Now Greater Cleveland for college access advising services, scholarships, and retention services for Cleveland Metropolitan School District students, as well as student loan counseling and operating support. College Now is a major partner to the CMSD and to Say Yes Cleveland.
  • $150,000 over two years for the Cleveland Orchestra’s arts administration internship program, whose goal is to increase the diversity of the Orchestra’s administrative staff, create new and mutually beneficial relationships with area colleges and universities, and nurture opportunities through building a pipeline for talented arts administrative professionals of color as both community and industry arts leaders.
  • $400,000 over three years for operating support for Rid-All, an urban agriculture and environmental stewardship enterprise operating in Cleveland’s Lower Kinsman neighborhood since 2010. On its 18-acre site, Rid-All produces fresh fruits, vegetables, and compost soil; farm-raises tilapia fish; operates a healthy food restaurant; and trains youth and adults in urban agriculture. Rid-All’s mission is to educate urban residents on the benefits of healthy eating and environmental stewardship, and to inspire lifestyle changes that lead to improved health outcomes and vibrant communities.
  • $450,000 over three years to West Creek Conservancy for operating support. Over the past decade, WCC has done extensive work in the City of Cleveland, including taking a major role in the Irishtown Bend Park project adjacent to West 25th Street in the Ohio City neighborhood.

Further details on the Foundation’s June 2024 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 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 climate and environmental justice, creative culture and arts, democracy building, public education, thriving families and social justice, and vibrant neighborhoods and inclusive economy. To date, Foundation commitments have totaled over $931 million.