The history of the reflects a deep commitment to place and the greater Cleveland community that was the home of its founder and remains the foundation's home. The foundation's philanthropy in the region derives not just from its history but also from the belief that Cleveland can continue to develop original responses to urban issues and from its hope that collaborations across boundaries can create a crucible of innovation in all fields of endeavor.
To that end, the foundation welcomes applications from Cleveland-based organizations in the following areas:
Arts — Grants will be made for local projects that emphasize artistic quality and innovative programming, reaching new audiences and promoting organizational development; newer organizations with the potential to reach different audiences and cultures and broaden the artistic offerings in the region; and arts education, with a focus on curriculum-related partnerships between arts organizations and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Economic Development and Community Revitalization — Priority will be given to initiatives that bolster the impact of foundation-supported intermediary organizations working to improve the competitiveness of Cleveland neighborhoods and the metro region. Examples of such initiatives include quality urban planning and design, improvements to urban parks and public spaces, the promotion of equal opportunity and diversity in housing and the workplace, and proposals to redevelop Cleveland's downtown neighborhoods and first-ring suburbs.
Education — The foundation's primary area of interest is the creation and support of new, innovative, excellent schools in Cleveland that drive autonomy and accountability at the school level and create different teaching and learning conditions to ensure student success. The foundation also supports statewide policy and advocacy efforts in furtherance of this work, particularly as it relates to the importance of high-quality teachers and principals in every classroom and school and also seeks to support disadvantaged students through key transitions, especially to higher education.
Environment — Grants will be made to address environmental issues in Northeast Ohio, including efforts to restore and preserve the Lake Erie ecosystem, alternatives to urban sprawl, reducing energy consumption and waste, conserving ecosystems and biodiversity, reducing environmental health hazards, increasing public awareness of environmental issues, and building the skills of nonprofit environmental leaders.
Human Services — The foundation's priority interest is addressing the needs of disadvantaged children in the greater Cleveland area through early childhood care and education, abuse prevention, and improved foster care and adoption systems. The foundation provides some support for the local "safety net" of food, clothing, shelter, and access to health care, as well as programs designed to help vulnerable populations access health insurance, the legal system, community support following release from prison, and safe and affordable reproductive health services.
In addition, the foundation has identified global climate change as an urgent issue that cuts across all its programs.
Priority will be placed on innovative ideas being pursued by creative and entrepreneurial organizations.
To be eligible for a grant, applicants must be tax exempt as defined by section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, a unit or agency of government, a local education agency, or a library and serve the people of Northeast Ohio.
See the George Gund Foundation website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.