The George Gund Foundation made a $2 million grant at its November meeting to the Trust for Public Land for Connecting Cleveland, a coordinated effort to increase the number of trails and greenways in Cleveland’s Flats neighborhood and reconnect downtown and nearby neighborhoods with the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.
The $30 million Connecting Cleveland campaign, a public-private partnership involving more than a dozen organizations, includes projects such as the Lake Link Trail & Greenway, an extension of the Towpath Trail; the Wendy Park Bridge Connector and several trailhead parks and Cuyahoga River water taxi stations.
Trustees also made an $800,000 grant to the Gordon Square Arts District for construction of a new facility for Near West Theatre, scheduled to open in the fall of 2014, and for renovations to Cleveland Public Theatre that will make its facilities handicapped accessible, provide additional rehearsal space and upgrade facility infrastructure. This brings total Foundation grantmaking to $2.5 million for the arts-related development project which, in addition to increased arts activity, has resulted in significant residential and commercial development in the neighborhood.
The grants were among 64 totaling $8,712,060 approved at the Foundation’s November meeting. Total grantmaking for the year was 24,591,995. The Foundation also continued its support for research on the causes, nature and prevention of inherited retinal degenerative diseases with a $2 million grant to the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
Other grants of interest included:
- $400,000 over two years to the YMCA of Cleveland to convert a portion of the Galleria shopping mall into a fitness facility.
- $175,000 to the Cleveland Development Foundation for the Cleveland Transformation Alliance, a public-private partnership responsible for ensuring accountability of all public schools in the city.
- $350,000 to LAND studio for operating and project support.
- $100,000 to the Berea Children’s Home for Stepstone Academy, a charter school in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood.
- $166,486 over two years to the Ohio State University to link local farmers and school lunch programs.
- $55,000 to Zygote Press for operating support and the opening of an annex in the Waterloo neighborhood.
- $75,000 to Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio for efforts related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Ohio.
- $20,000 to the St. Clair-Superior Development Corporation to launch Asian-style Night Markets.
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 education, human services, economic and community development, environment and arts. Foundation commitments to date have totaled more than $630 million.