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The George Gund Foundation Grant Program

Grants to Cleveland, Ohio Nonprofits, Agencies, and Libraries for
Arts, Education, Human Services, Economic Development, and Environment

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The George Gund Foundation

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Grants to Cleveland, Ohio nonprofit organizations, agencies, and libraries for initiatives that align with one or more of the following areas of focus: education, human services, economic development, community revitalization, environment, and the arts. The Foundation is particularly interested in innovative ideas being pursued by creative and entrepreneurial organizations.

The Foundation’s guidelines reflect its long-standing interests in the arts, economic development and community revitalization, education, environment and human services because these areas embrace most of the major issues that any community must address. While the Foundation continues to organize much of their work within these program areas, there is increasing awareness that many issues and, therefore, many grant proposals do not fit neatly into one program category. Indeed, the work of a growing number of nonprofit organizations brings together aspects of several of these core interests, and, as a result, the Foundation is becoming ever more interdisciplinary in their approach.

This is particularly evident with initiatives that aim to make Cleveland, and urban areas generally, more globally competitive, livable, sustainable and just. It is in this domain that the greatest need and maximum opportunity converge with the Foundation’s primary interests, expertise and ongoing stewardship.

The Foundation seeks to support the nonpartisan voice of nonprofit advocacy in policy deliberations that directly relate to the program interests. Additionally, global climate change is an urgent issue that cuts across all of the Foundation’s programs. Grant applicants are encouraged to describe what they are doing or considering to reduce or to eliminate their organizational impact on climate change.

Focus Areas:

The Foundation values and supports the role the arts play in making Cleveland and its region a more desirable place to live, fostering the growth of a creative workforce, catalyzing development in neighborhoods and serving as a bridge between various segments of the community. The Foundation encourages a lively, diverse arts community in Greater Cleveland by funding local projects that emphasize artistic quality, innovative programming, reaching new audiences and organizational development. The Foundation seeks to balance support for Cleveland’s long-standing institutions with funding for newer organizations that promise to reach different audiences and cultures and to expand the city’s artistic offerings. Arts education is a priority, with a focus on curriculum-related partnerships between arts organizations and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Economic Development and Community Revitalization
Sustaining uniquely urban assets such as vibrant neighborhoods and a thriving downtown is a key part of a successful regional strategy to promote economic growth. The Foundation devotes considerable attention to these dynamics, in particular by supporting collaborative efforts that leverage resources. As a result, the highest priority is given to initiatives that bolster the impact of Foundation-supported intermediary organizations working to improve the competitiveness of Cleveland’s neighborhoods and its metropolitan region. Examples of such initiatives include quality urban planning and design, improvements to urban parks and public spaces, promotion of equal opportunity and diversity in housing and the workplace and proposals to redevelop Cleveland’s downtown, neighborhoods and first-ring suburbs.

Education is fundamental to success, and if Cleveland is to produce, attract and retain talent and be the thriving center of a robust regional economy, expectations about education must rise exponentially. Consequently, the Foundation’s focus is on the transformation of public education in Cleveland in order to equip children from early childhood onward with the skills they ultimately will need to meet the demands of college, the 21st-century workplace and international standards. The primary area of interest is the creation and support of new, innovative, excellent schools in Cleveland that drive autonomy and accountability to the school level and create different teaching and learning conditions to ensure student success. Statewide policy and advocacy efforts in furtherance of this work are supported, particularly as it relates to the importance of high-quality teachers and principals in every classroom and school. The support of disadvantaged students through key transitions, especially to higher education, is desired.

Human well-being is inextricably linked to the quality of the environment, and urban areas bring this fact into sharp focus as historic disregard for the environment and modern development pressures create great challenges. The Foundation responds to these challenges by making grants to organizations that address environmental issues in Northeast Ohio. In addition, efforts to restore and preserve the Lake Erie ecosystem are supported. Within the broad range of environmental issues, the Foundation focuses on promoting alternatives to urban sprawl, decreasing 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
Heightened focus on developing a more globally competitive city and region demands recognition that people are at the heart of this effort and that all segments of society can make constructive contributions. To maximize that contribution, direct attention must be paid to the needs of those most at risk of being left out of social and economic transformation. Building human capital begins at birth and the Foundation pays special attention to the needs of Greater Cleveland’s disadvantaged children through grants to support early childhood care and education, abuse prevention and improved foster care and adoption systems. In addition, the Foundation provides some support for the local “safety net” of food, clothing, shelter and access to health care. A closely related set of interests is reflected in the Foundation’s desire to help vulnerable populations achieve access to health insurance, the legal system, community support following release from prison and safe and affordable reproductive health services.

Additional funding interests:

- Philanthropic Services
The Foundation supports organizations that strengthen the infrastructure of the nonprofit and philanthropic communities through philanthropic services grants.

- Capital Grants:
The George Gund Foundation limits capital grants for construction or renovation to projects that seek U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The Foundation’s green building policy covers both planning and construction grants.

- Program Related Investments:
The George Gund Foundation makes program-related investments (PRIs) in nonprofit ventures that fit particularly well with the Foundation’s grantmaking objectives. PRIs can take the form of loans, equity investments, linked deposits and loan guarantees. Unlike grants, PRIs are expected to be repaid.

PRIs are generally made only to nonprofit organizations with a strong record of performance using Foundation grants. Given expectations for repayment, the application process for a PRI is considerably more detailed than for a grant. Conversations on a possible program-related investment should begin with the program officer the organization normally deals with regarding grants.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176451

Term of Contract:

Multi-year funding is provided in some cases.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The grant-requesting organization must be a federally tax-exempt charitable organization on file with the IRS, a governmental unit or agency, a local education agency, or a library. If the IRS classification is not clear, it is advised to log on to GuideStar (

Pre-Application Information:

A Letter of Inquiry is not required, however, the Foundation encourages inquiries about the application of the funding guidelines to specific ideas in advance of the submission of formal proposals.

Receipt of proposals will be acknowledged by e-mail.

Proposals are considered three times a year by the Foundation’s Trustees. Proposals are due the next business day if a deadline falls on a weekend.

Winter-Spring Meeting
Proposal Deadline: November 15, 2018
Trustee Meeting: February 28, 2019

Summer Meeting
Proposal Deadline: March 15, 2019
Trustee Meeting: July 11, 2019

Fall Meeting
Proposal Deadline: July 15, 2019
Trustee Meeting: November 14, 2019

Proposal review takes place in the period between proposal submission and the next scheduled meeting of the board which is generally about three months. In some cases, proposals may be deferred to the next docket. You will be notified if your proposal is being deferred.

Please note: 100 percent of a project budget is rarely funded. You should be able to show that you are seeking other sources of funding. Other sources might include foundations, corporations, individuals, community groups or others.

To gauge the appropriate size of a request, check the Foundation’s list of recent grants to see the range of projects and amounts awarded:

Program Areas:


Grant Application Guide:

Application Procedures:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register and apply online:

Emails: /
Phone: 216.241.3114
Fax: 216 241.6560

The George Gund Foundation
1845 Guildhall Building
45 Prospect Avenue, West
Cleveland, Ohio 44115

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Ohio: Greater Cleveland