The George Gund Foundation awarded more than $18 million at its November board meeting reflecting both increased giving in response to the pandemic and increased focus on the most pressing issues. Those issues – climate change, inequality and racial injustice, and weakened democracy – are emphasized in the Foundation’s statement of What We Believe.
Among the grants advancing work on these issues are:
$1.25 million to Growth Opportunity Partners to create a neighborhood solar fund aimed at assisting the creation of small-scale solar energy projects in conjunction with grassroots organizations, starting in Hough.
A series of multi-year grants to build the capacity of Black-led organizations that work to advance racial equity and justice, including $1,250,000 to the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, $450,000 to PolicyBridge, $450,000 to the Cleveland NAACP, and $500,000 to the United Black Fund.
$1,100,000 to Cleveland VOTES for three years of operating support to create a Civic Engagement Fund for long-term efforts promoting equitable democracy building.
Other grants of interest include:
- $1,000,000 to establish the Billie Osborne Fears Early Childhood Fellowship and the Billie Osborne Fears Scholarship at the Cleveland Foundation to honor the life and groundbreaking career of the founder and CEO of Starting Point, northeast Ohio’s resource and referral organization for the child care and early childhood development system. The Fellowship will provide a year-long professional development opportunity for a woman of color in the early childhood field. The Scholarship will support Cuyahoga County families experiencing financial hardship in order to ensure their children can continue to receive high-quality child care and early development opportunities.
- $1,000,000 to Birthing Beautiful Communities to open a comprehensive birthing center in the Hough neighborhood to decrease the unacceptably high rates of maternal morbidity and infant mortality among Black women and babies in Cleveland by providing quality care that leads to healthy maternal and infant birth outcomes.
- $100,000 each to six neighborhood-focused arts organizations: Art House, Broadway School of Music & the Arts, Foluke Cultural Arts Center, Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center, Rainey Institute and Waterloo Arts. The grants are for operational support, capacity building, and to create areas of collaboration for the organizations that provide critical arts and cultural avenues in economically challenged Cleveland neighborhoods.
- $350,000 over two years to the Cleveland Transformation Alliance for operating support. The Alliance ensures every child in Cleveland attends a high-quality school and every neighborhood has a multitude of great schools from which families can choose.
- $100,000 to the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland for the creation of the first phase of an east side African American cultural trail to highlight and document important landmarks of the African American experience in Cleveland.
- $300,000 to HOLA to provide general operating support to secure the safety, address the basic needs, and support the empowerment of immigrant and refugee individuals and families in northeast Ohio. The grant invests in the organization’s leadership and capacity building for this essential provider.
- $100,000 over two years to Solar United Neighbors, a national organization working to make solar energy available to all Americans. Solar United Neighbors advances state policy that supports the quick adoption of solar energy and organizes community solar co-ops, including a first in Cuyahoga County in 2017.
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 climate and environmental justice, creative culture and arts, public education, thriving families and social justice, and vibrant neighborhoods and inclusive economy. Foundation commitments to date have totaled almost $793 million.
Further details on the November 2020 grants can be found at gundfoundation.org.