The Cleveland Foundation has announced fourth-quarter grants totaling $16.3 million to local nonprofits working in the areas of arts and culture, community improvement, education reform, and youth development.
In the area of education reform, the foundation awarded grants totaling $1.35 million to a handful of organizations, including Teach for America, which was awarded $600,000 for year three of its program in Cleveland public schools, and Esperanza, which will receive $350,000 to expand its academic and family engagement programs. In addition, the foundation made a number of grants through its Engaging the Future program, which assists local arts organizations in developing new audiences, including $200,000 to the Cleveland Public Theatre to scale its Teatro Publico de Cleveland project, and $80,000 to DANCECleveland to further develop its DanceAdvance Team project.
The foundation also awarded nearly $1.1 million in support of MyCom, a youth development initiative spearheaded by the Cleveland Foundation and Cuyahoga County that connects youth with a network of services and caring adults to help them reach their potential. The grants include $661,000 to Starting Point to manage MyCom’s afterschool and summer programming; $300,000 to Youth Opportunities Unlimited to lead the initiative's youth employment programs; and $80,000 to Voices for Ohio’s Children, an advocacy organization working to advance public policies at the local, state, and federal levels that positively affect children and young people.
In anticipation of the establishment of an Encore program to promote the time and talents of older Americans in the region, the foundation also committed $771,000 to expand two programs focused on seniors. To that end, Greater Cleveland Volunteers will receive $526,000 to expand the local AARP Experience Corps intergenerational tutoring program, which focuses on improving the literacy skills of underperforming students in kindergarten through third grade; while Business Volunteers Unlimited was awarded $245,000 to build out its existing programs, with an emphasis on attracting a broader audience of mature volunteers.
"There is great interest among experienced Clevelanders to engage with youth and to work with them to help tackle our community's most pressing problems," said Cleveland Foundation executive vice president Robert E. Eckardt. "As part of the Cleveland Foundation's one-hundred-year legacy of turning passion into purpose, Encore promises to be a transformational program for Greater Cleveland by linking generations across every segment of our community, in order to strengthen it."