A $1 million grant to PRE4CLE in honor of a former trustee of The George Gund Foundation was among the nearly $6 million in awards at the Foundation’s winter meeting.
Llura “Lulie” Gund devoted 21 years to the Foundation. She was particularly supportive of the Foundation’s work in human services and education, including the groundbreaking Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools, which—among other priorities—called for the expansion of high-quality preschool to all three- and four-year-old children in Cleveland. PRE4CLE, which leads that effort, works to meet this goal through increasing access, building collaborations, and advocacy.
To mark PRE4CLE’s fifth anniversary, the Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to create the Llura Gund Early Learning Fund. The fund is dedicated to revitalizing PRE4CLE’s partnering high-quality, community-based early learning programs in Cleveland currently operating in suboptimal physical spaces. The Llura Gund Early Learning Fund would be the cornerstone and catalyst for much-needed public and private investment in preschool facilities in Cleveland.
In a related set of grants, the Foundation supported three programs that are part of First Year Cleveland, a public-private partnership working to lower infant mortality rates with particular attention to the disproportionate number of African-American babies dying before their first birthday. The grants were:
- The Better Health Partnership received $250,000 to connect high-risk expectant mothers and their infants with a variety of community supports.
- Birthing Beautiful Communities was awarded $200,000 for its network of trained perinatal support specialists—known as doulas—who provide intensive assistance to pregnant women at high risk of infant mortality and their families.
- Neighborhood Family Practice was given $100,000 to support its community doula program focused on underserved populations on Cleveland’s west side.
The Rid-All Green Partnership, an innovative effort that combines urban farming, environmental science and education, was awarded $190,000 to support greater capacity and expansion of the farm into a mixed-use campus focused on healthy food.
The Foundation also authorized a $3 million program-related investment (PRI) to the Lead Safe Cleveland Lead Safe Home Fund. The PRI, which is a kind of loan, follows an earlier $2 million Foundation grant to the same fund. The PRI will fund below-market rate loans to landlords who need that form of assistance to comply with lead testing and remediation requirements.
Finally, Growth Opportunity Partners received a $2 million PRI and a $300,000 grant to establish a clean energy fund, which will finance small-scale clean energy projects.
Further details on the winter 2020 grants can be found at www.gundfoundation.org.
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 almost $746 million.