The George Gund Foundation awarded over $31 million at its final board meeting of the year, meeting its commitment to an increased payout of 10 percent in 2021. The Foundation’s focus on climate change, inequality and racial injustice, and democracy building, as outlined in its What We Believe statement, is emphasized in its grants, including these:
- $5 million to establish a Living Learning Community at Cleveland State University for Say Yes Cleveland scholarship recipients who graduate from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The Living Learning Community is designed to provide students with a residential experience that integrates intensive academic support, leadership training, mentorship, graduation coaching, comprehensive wraparound services, and experiential learning.
- $1.5 million to the Say Yes Cleveland Scholarship Fund. Say Yes Cleveland, which launched in 2019, aims to attract and retain families in the City of Cleveland and in our public schools. Say Yes Cleveland provides wraparound support services and last-dollar postsecondary tuition scholarships to eligible students who graduate from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Say Yes Cleveland has raised $94.5 million toward its $125 million goal.
- $1.1 million to the Center for Community Solutions for a mayoral transition fund ($500,000), which will support Mayor-Elect Bibb as he builds out his staff and cabinet and identifies key priorities in his new administration; and for the Greater Cleveland American Rescue Plan Council ($600,000), which will work to maximize receipt and effective, equitable use of unprecedented amounts of federal funding flowing to Cleveland and Cuyahoga County in the next three years.
- $400,000 to the Young Latino Network to support the organization’s growth and inclusive civic engagement efforts in the City of Cleveland. The Young Latino Network focuses on building a pipeline of next generation Latinx leaders in Greater Cleveland.
- $300,000 to two organizations focused on the needs and interests of the Asian American and Pacific Islander populations in Cleveland, which have historically been neglected by the philanthropic community: $200,000 to Asian Services in Action; and $100,000 to Ohio Voice for OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership in Ohio.
- $50,000 to the Neighborhood Leadership Institute to support Neighborhood Leadership Cleveland, a grassroots leadership development program for residents in Greater Cleveland.
- $750,000 to The Marshall Project, which will establish a first-of-its-kind local criminal justice newsroom across multiple platforms in Cleveland to shine light on injustices within the criminal legal system.
- $1 million to MAGNET (Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network) to support the development of the Manufacturing Innovation, Technology and Job Center, a joint effort between MAGNET and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District that will showcase and strengthen manufacturing innovations and inclusive workforce growth in Northeast Ohio.
- $2 million to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for its capital expansion project, with funds targeted toward the public engagement and development of the Lakefront Park, a community green space between the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center that celebrates the city-to-lake connection.
- $1 million for the COVID-19 Relief Fund Phase III, now organized through the Funders Collaborative for COVID Recovery, which will focus on building nonprofit resilience, centering equity, increasing vaccine uptake, and pursuing long-term systems and policy changes.
Further details on the November 2021 grants can be found at gundfoundation.org.
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 over $847 million.