Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund announces latest round of grants

Partners award more than $220,000 in fourth cycle of Phase II grantmaking

CLEVELAND (Dec. 22, 2020) – The Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund coalition announced today the most recent round of biweekly grants to support the nonprofit community. In total, $220,779 was awarded to nine organizations and groups serving Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. Since the start of Phase II in mid-November, partners have granted nearly $1.8 million.

The latest round of grant recipients includes:

  • The City Club of Cleveland ($25,000): To support the City Club’s food distribution partnership with Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, an effort that is producing 10,000 meals every week for Greater Cleveland’s homeless population
  • Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center ($25,000): To provide basic needs such as food, clothing, utility and housing assistance, as well as loaner laptops and personalized technical support for deaf clients, those with speech disorders, and their families in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties
  • Harvard Community Services Center ($35,000): To continue to serve homebound adults and families across the Lee-Harvard, Miles and Seville neighborhoods through the mobile delivery of care packages containing food and basic hygiene items
  • HOLA Ohio ($25,000): To facilitate access to medical care and unemployment assistance for the Latino and immigrant populations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties, while also providing PPE and funds for help with basic needs including housing, bills, groceries and medicines
  • LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland ($21,779): To continue to provide food assistance, transportation, social-emotional support via tele/virtual community group meetings and programming, virtual wellness options, street outreach, and legal referrals and advocacy for the LGBTQ population in Greater Cleveland
  • Pregnant with Possibilities Resource Center ($49,000): To provide support and transportation assistance to help expectant and new mothers in Cuyahoga County access Making Opportunities Matter (M.O.M.) counseling and diaper distributions
  • Senior Transportation Connection (STC) ($15,000): To continue essential transportation operations that prioritize medical, dialysis and food access trips, while also purchasing enhanced PPE for older adults in Cuyahoga County with mobility needs and limited social supports
  • Slavic Village Development ($20,000): To provide funds for emergency housing repairs, emergency rental/mortgage assistance, food insecurities and transportation needs, PPE and health-related cleaning supplies funds to those facing housing instability or homelessness in the Broadway/Slavic Village neighborhoods
  • Ursuline Piazza ($5,000): To provide food assistance for HIV-positive residents in Cuyahoga County to help avoid food insecurity during the holiday season

Contributions to the second phase of the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund total nearly $3.5 million, including support from new funding partner Evelyn B. Newell. Funding partners urge other foundations, corporate entities, individuals and organizations to contribute to the Fund. Donations of any amount are welcomed, and all contributions are tax deductible.

Based upon the charitable structure of the Rapid Response Fund, the second phase is currently accepting grant applications from eligible organizations serving Cuyahoga, Lake and/or Geauga counties. The Fund is designed primarily to support human service nonprofits with operational budgets of less than $20 million. The Fund partners encourage collaborative proposals that involve multiple organizations within similar sectors or neighborhoods working on shared issues, with a focus on basic needs, family supports, PPE, testing and contact tracing.

Grants during Phase II of the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund are awarded every two weeks and will continue for one year. Awards range in size from $5,000 to $100,000, with a maximum grant amount of $100,000 for any nonprofit organization throughout the current cycle ending Oct. 31, 2021. Organizations that were funded during Phase I (between March-July 2020) are eligible to apply for additional funding. Grants are limited to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution.

For more information or to donate, visit

Facebook awards $1 million to Cleveland Black Futures Fund

Now over $4 million, the Fund plans to open applications early next year for
Black-led and Black-serving social change organizations engaged in anti-racism work in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (Dec. 11, 2020) – Catalyzed by a $1 million grant from Facebook, the Cleveland Black Futures Fund today announced it has amassed more than $4 million since inception on Sept. 1 to invest in and strengthen Black-led and Black-serving social change organizations.

Today’s announcement is part of Facebook’s commitment to support Black businesses, creators and nonprofits. The Cleveland Foundation was one of 20 community foundations to receive funding as part of the California-based social media corporation’s announcement today. The Cleveland Black Futures Fund has received additional support from George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation ($50,000), The HealthComp Foundation ($60,000), Saint Luke’s Foundation ($150,000) and the Treu-Mart Fund ($100,000), as well as nearly $40,000 in individual donations.

“We’re excited to work with the Cleveland Foundation to help bring much needed funding to nonprofits that are serving and supporting the Black community in Greater Cleveland,” said Marcy Scott Lynn, Facebook director of global impact partnerships. “We’re providing funding directly to the Cleveland Foundation to build on its track record of supporting Black-led nonprofits and ensure that people locally are making the decisions about where these dollars are most needed and can have the most impact.”

The overarching goal of the Cleveland Black Futures Fund is to strengthen the ecosystem of Black leaders and Black-serving organizations in Greater Cleveland by providing intentional resources to help grow organizational infrastructure and capacity. Long term, the foundation aims to deepen the field of leaders working to dismantle systemic racism and advance the community towards racial equity.

In recent months, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic protests happening nationally and locally have prompted a bolder call to action to address systemic racism and its devastating effects in the Greater Cleveland community. While Cleveland is home to a dynamic network of Black leaders working on solutions to these problems, The Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) has reported that significant inequities exist within the national philanthropic field at a time when outcomes and disparities for Black children, families and neighborhoods in many areas have widened.

The Cleveland Black Futures Fund also announced today the inaugural members of its advisory committee, which will guide the application parameters and grantmaking process. The seven-person group is comprised of community leaders working alongside foundation representatives:

  • Courtenay A. Barton, Program Director for Arts & Culture and Racial Equity Initiatives, Cleveland Foundation
  • Carrie Carpenter, Board Member, Cleveland Foundation
  • The Rev. Dr. Robin Hedgeman, Board Member, Cleveland Foundation
  • Constance Hill-Johnson, Board Member, Cleveland Foundation
  • Treye Johnson, Regional Outreach Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
  • Shanelle Smith Whigham, Vice President, Sustainability & Social Impact, KeyBank
  • Timothy L. Tramble Sr., President & CEO, Saint Luke’s Foundation

“We thank Facebook, and all the foundations and individuals who have contributed to the Cleveland Black Futures Fund,” said Courtenay Barton, Cleveland Foundation program director for arts & culture and racial equity initiatives. “Dismantling systemic racism will require the cooperation of people in various capacities to all be committed to this long-term work. Just as there are visionary leaders on the ground creating new initiatives and responding directly to community needs, there are equally passionate people who can provide the resources necessary to get the work done. The Fund is a vehicle that can connect givers to doers.”

The Cleveland Black Futures Fund builds on the work of the African American Philanthropy Committee of the Cleveland Foundation (AAPC), which has promoted awareness and education about the benefits of wealth and community preservation through philanthropy since 1993. Established in 2010, the AAPC Legacy Fund supports a variety of organizations within the Black community of Greater Cleveland. The Cleveland Black Futures Fund will offer and additional pool of resources to complement the impact of the AAPC and its Legacy Fund.

The creation of the Cleveland Black Futures Fund came on the heels of a June vote by Cleveland City Council in which racism was declared a public health crisis, with the city required under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take action to eliminate disparities causing health issues. Cuyahoga County Council also passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis and announced a Citizens’ Advisory Council on Equity, to which Cleveland Foundation Senior Vice President for Program India Pierce Lee was appointed.

Additional details on the grantmaking process – including the application process and timeline – will be available in January 2021. For more information or to donate to the Cleveland Black Futures Fund, visit

May Centennial Gift: Cleveland Foundation Day on Wade Oval


Following record-breaking attendance at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as part of its April centennial gift, the Cleveland Foundation has a May gift just as special to give to the community – Cleveland Foundation Day on Wade Oval – will celebrate the longtime support the foundation has provided to four cultural institutions in University Circle: Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Western Reserve Historical Society. May 24 will be the first free Saturday ever for all four Wade Oval institutions, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

“We are pleased that our May centennial gift to the community will make the first-class institutions on Wade Oval available to all Greater Clevelanders,” said Robert E. Eckardt, executive vice president of the Cleveland Foundation. “This concentration of cultural institutions is unmatched anywhere in the world. As part of Memorial Day weekend festivities, we invite the community to take advantage of this cultural heart of our city.”

Each institution is offering something unique to visitors on Cleveland Foundation Day on Wade Oval, in recognition of the nearly $50 million in collective support the foundation has provided them throughout the past 100 years.

Because the Cleveland Museum of Art always offers free admission, the Cleveland Foundation has made it possible for the museum to offer a special gift on May 24: all available public tickets to the Van Gogh Repetitions exhibition will be free for the first 500 visitors. The special exhibition is scheduled to close on May 25.

“The Cleveland Museum of Art is delighted to be among the great institutions included in Cleveland Foundation Day on Wade Oval,” said Fred Bidwell, interim director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Foundation have a long and rich history of collaboration, working to give back to the community. The museum is committed to meaningful community engagement, and we are grateful to the Cleveland Foundation for its significant support of our efforts.”

Cleveland Botanical Garden will debut its highly anticipated Nature Connects exhibit, which will feature 14 LEGO brick sculptures depicting plants and animals.

“This will be the first time the Botanical Garden is able to offer free admission on the opening day of a major attraction, and it’s thanks to our longtime partner, the Cleveland Foundation,” said President Natalie Ronayne. “We celebrate the foundation’s generosity to the Garden and the impact its support enables us to achieve in our community.”

As part of the Cleveland Foundation gift, free admission to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History will include free entry to Shafran Planetarium for the first time ever.

“The Cleveland Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the Museum, especially our education and science initiatives, and we are honored and delighted to be part of this historic celebration of Cleveland’s legendary cultural district on Wade Oval,” said Dr. Evalyn Gates, executive director and CEO. “The Cleveland Foundation’s gift to the community has allowed us to open a window into the universe through free admission to the Shafran Planetarium, and to invite the community to explore science and nature – past, present and future!”

For Cleveland Foundation Day, the Western Reserve Historical Society has extended its popular Dior & More – For the Love of Fashion exhibit through May 25. WRHS will have curators and experts available in the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection, as well as in other exhibits. Tour guides in the Hay-McKinney House and the Research Library will answer questions from visitors.

“Our mission includes sharing the history of Northeast Ohio with the public. This wonderful opportunity provided by the Cleveland Foundation means we will be sharing with many more people than we normally see in a day,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, interim CEO. “We hold in our archives the papers of the Cleveland Foundation, so we will select a number of beautiful examples from the early days of the foundation for the public to view in our Research Library.”

On May 24, University Circle Inc. will offer free shuttle service between the Wade Oval institutions and to/from both Louis Stokes VA Medical Center garages (the patient garage on Magnolia Drive and the employee garage on E. 105th Street), which will be free to Cleveland Foundation Day visitors. Visitors are being encouraged to carpool or take the RTA’s HealthLine to the Adelbert Road or Ford Road station. For more information, go to

Many Greater Clevelanders have taken advantage of the foundation’s previous “Cleveland Foundation Day” gifts to the community. Cleveland Foundation Day on the RTA on Jan. 16 led to a 25 percent increase overall on RTA buses and trains. Cleveland Foundation Weekend on NorthCoastHarbor on Feb. 22 and 23 brought a record 16,450 visitors to Great Lakes Science Center, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s 8,000 visitors represented a 500 percent increase over a typical Sunday. March’s Cleveland Foundation Day at Cleveland International Film Festival drew the biggest Monday audience in the Festival’s 37-year history, with nearly 8,000 attendees. April’s Cleveland Foundation Day at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo drew a record-breaking 35,700 visitors.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.1 billion and 2013 grants of $89 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – economic transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts advancement – and responds to the community’s needs.

For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, please visit and follow at or @CleveFoundation on Twitter.

4/26: Cleveland Foundation Day at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo


The Cleveland Foundation’s April centennial gift to the community – free admission to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 26 – will include just-announced activities and entertainment in honor of Earth Day. As the first free weekend day for all Zoo visitors in almost 20 years, the Park District, the Zoo and the Cleveland Zoological Society are collaborating to make it a day to remember for local families.

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Radio Disney will be stationed at the Welcome Plaza from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to get the party started, and special Zoo tours will be offered throughout the day.  Animal enrichment demonstrations, Meet the Keeper sessions, live animal shows, costumed mascot characters, Cleveland Metroparks NatureTracks, crafts and hands-on, interactive programs are just some of the special activities planned every hour for visitors.

Guests are encouraged to bring their used cellphones and aluminum cans for recycling at a collection area on the Zoo’s Welcome Plaza.  Visitors will also be invited to join the Zoo Team in creating a replica of the Earth using recycled plastic bags.

The Zoo is encouraging guests to stop by the Rising Waters Camp in the African Savanna area to leave a commemorative message in a Cleveland Foundation Memory Book created for the special day.

Visit  or to see the full schedule of activities planned for Cleveland Foundation Day at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Cleveland Foundation Day highlights:

10 a.m. Official start of Cleveland Foundation Day by Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman, Cleveland Foundation President & CEO Ronn Richard, Executive Zoo Director Dr. Chris Kuhar and Cleveland Zoological Society Executive Director Liz Fowler at the main entrance

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Radio Disney on the Zoo’s Welcome Plaza

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cleveland Museum of Art performers on the Welcome Plaza

10:30 a.m. Animal enrichment demonstration at the lion exhibit in the African Savanna

11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Meet the elephant keeper at African Elephant Crossing

11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Elephant Crossing (weather permitting)

11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Professor Wylde Live Animal Show in the Savanna Theater

11:30 a.m. Browse Garden tour at the Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine

11:30 a.m. Meet the gorilla keeper at Primate, Cat and Aquatics Building

Noon Animal enrichment demonstration at the fossa exhibit in the Primate, Cat and Aquatics Building

12:30 p.m. Meet the koala keeper at GumLeaf Hideout in Australian Adventure

1 p.m. Animal enrichment demonstration at the grizzly bear exhibit in Northern Trek

1 p.m. Browse Garden tour at the Primate, Cat and Aquatics Building

1:30 p.m. Meet the keeper of the Puerto Rican crested toad at The RainForest

2 p.m. Animal enrichment demonstration at the shark exhibit in the Primate, Cat and Aquatics Building

2:30 p.m. Meet the cheetah keeper at Primate, Cat and Aquatics Building

3 p.m. Animal enrichment demonstration at the sea lion exhibit in Northern Trek

4 p.m. Animal enrichment demonstration at the swamp monkey exhibit in the Primate, Cat and Aquatics Building