The George Gund Foundation awarded $4.7 million at its first board meeting of the year under the leadership of its new president, Anthony Richardson. Grants reflect a continued emphasis on racial justice, the increasingly evident threats to democracy and reproductive freedoms, and other priorities outlined in the Foundation’s What We Believe statement. Grants include the following:
- $150,000 for the Valuing Black Assets Initiative of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Center. The initiative aims to challenge the systemic structural barriers, entrenched racist narratives, and policy biases that have extracted wealth from Black individuals and communities by utilizing data to mobilize leaders and innovations that center Black people and assets critical to social and economic mobility. Funding will support efforts to launch the Valuing Black Assets Initiative in Cleveland in partnership with local government, neighborhood stakeholders, and community development practitioners.
- $300,000 in operating support over two years to Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and $150,000 in operating support to Preterm. Trustees further approved a commitment of up-to $500,000 to support continued access to comprehensive reproductive health care locally and to plan for the future of such access following an expected ruling this coming June by the U.S. Supreme Court to severely limit or eliminate access to safe and legal abortion care as a matter of federal Constitutional right.
- $372,000 to support a special cohort of Public Service Fellows at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The Public Service Fellowship, launched by the Cleveland Foundation in 2016, offers emerging young leaders from across the country a 12-month full-time paid placement at a selected public sector agency or nonprofit partner in Cleveland. The program was created to attract and/or retain talent by providing a place to learn and develop both professionally and civically.
- Up-to $100,000 to the Ohio Progressive Collaborative for redistricting reform to ensure Ohioans are fairly represented in the Ohio Legislature and U.S. Congress and that lawmakers follow the Ohio Constitution’s requirements around fairer districts across the state.
- $200,000 to two organizations to further the research and piloting of programs designed to support young Black children and new Black mothers to thrive, not simply survive. Trustees awarded $100,000 to OhioGuidestone for its pilot initiative to improve Black maternal vitality following childbirth through integrated physical and behavioral health supports provided by racially concordant medical professionals; and $100,000 to Starting Point to work with partners in developing a model curriculum to identify and eliminate the impact of implicit racial bias in PreK classrooms.
- $90,000 over two years to the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy for its farm mentoring program. The farm mentoring program has launched a cohort of farms in and around the national park, with a long-term goal of launching enough small farms growing products and raising livestock to locally produce 25 percent of food consumed in the region.
- $90,000 over two years to PIANO International Association of Northern Ohio and $40,000 over two years to the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society. Both organizations work with students from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to enhance and support arts education.
- $200,000 to the Say Yes Cleveland Scholarship Fund campaign, which has raised $94.5 million toward its $125 million goal. Say Yes Cleveland, which launched in 2019, provides wraparound support services and last-dollar postsecondary tuition scholarships to eligible students who graduate from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Its goals are to attract and retain families in the City of Cleveland, encourage families to enroll in our public schools, increase higher education attainment, and spur economic growth and expansion in Cleveland.
Further details on the February 2022 grants can be found at gundfoundation.org.
The George Gund Foundation was established in 1952 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, public education, thriving families and social justice, and vibrant neighborhoods and inclusive economy. Foundation commitments to date have totaled over $851 million.