The George Gund Foundation awarded more than $7.1 million at its February board meeting, committing again to increased grantmaking in 2021 to address needs arising from the pandemic and pressing community issues. This increased payout follows a 10 percent payout in 2020, double the legally-required 5 percent payout for private foundations. The Foundation’s focus on climate change, inequality and racial injustice, and weakened democracy, as outlined in its What We Believe statement, is emphasized in its grants, including these:
- $1 million for the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund for continued support of pandemic relief in Greater Cleveland. Grant funds are targeted toward meeting basic needs as well as efforts to promote communication and outreach to populations most heavily affected by the virus, particularly Black and Hispanic residents. The Foundation’s investment in the Fund to date totals $3 million.
- $500,000 over two years to Rid-All Green Partnership for its urban farming and environmental science enterprise in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood. Grant funds will provide capacity to expand Rid-All’s operations and support new initiatives, including a nationally recognized carbon drawdown and bioenergy effort as well as two social enterprises—a community kitchen (including a restaurant) and a farmers market.
- $200,000 over two years to the Alliance for Climate Education, whose mission is to educate young people (particularly high school students) on the science of climate change and empower them to take action, including engagement in voter registration and mobilization efforts. The organization’s intentional focus on students of color creates a pipeline of young activists to lead the movement now and in the future.
- $150,000 over two years to Enterprise Community Partners for the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, which works to end childhood lead poisoning in a city where one in four children are poisoned by lead by the time they enter kindergarten. The Coalition supports the implementation of Cleveland’s landmark law requiring all rental units in the city built prior to 1978 be certified as lead safe. The City of Cleveland Department of Building and Housing begins enforcement of the Lead Safe Certificate requirement this month.
- $100,000 over two years to the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Foundation, dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and celebration of film by and about people of African descent. Grant funds will support the annual Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival, which presents the work of both emerging and established artists who are contributing to the cinematic legacy of Black film.
In addition to these grants, the Foundation authorized a $500,000, 15-year program-related investment loan to Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation for Phase I of Innovation Square. The Innovation Square revitalization effort, led by Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation with the support of residents, local government, and civic partners, will consist of new mixed-income housing units, residential amenities, and retail opportunities that aim to catalyze market activity in this key Cleveland neighborhood.
Further details on the February 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 $800 million.