Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation was the world's first community foundation. As of December 2011[update], it is America's fourth-largest community foundation, with assets of $1.62 billion and annual grants of around $84 million.
The foundation serves Greater Cleveland, including Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. It is made up of more than 800 funds representing individuals, families, organizations and corporations. The current president and chief executive officer is Ronald "Ronn" Richard.
The foundation was founded by Fredrick Harris Goff, a well-known banker at the Cleveland Trust Company, who sought to eliminate the "dead hand" of organized philanthropy. He created a dynamic, corporately structured foundation that could utilize community gifts in a responsive and need-appropriate manner.
In 2007, the foundation adopted a new logo and visual identity. Its web site also underwent a complete redesign (www.clevelandfoundation.org).
The mission of the Cleveland Foundation is "to enhance the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland, now and for generations to come, by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking and providing leadership on key community issues."
The Cleveland Foundation awards most of its grants to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. Some grants are made to government agencies. Grants support Greater Cleveland projects and programs that benefit its citizens, meet community needs and test new ideas. The foundation generally does not make grants to individuals, for-profit organizations, small businesses, endowment campaigns, annual fundraising or membership drives.
The foundation proactively directs two-thirds of its discretionary grant dollars to five areas considered among the community’s most vital needs:
- Economic development and transformation, including advanced energy and efforts to open foreign markets to Ohio companies and to bring foreign companies to Greater Cleveland
- Public school reform and improvement
- Early childhood and youth development
- Neighborhoods and housing, including the University Circle area
- Arts and culture advancement
The other one-third is awarded in response to direct requests from the community. In addition to the five areas listed above, grants are awarded in health, civic affairs and social services.
- "25 Largest Community Foundations by Asset Size". Foundation Center. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- "Cleveland Foundation Quick Facts". Cleveland Foundation. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- Our Staff - The Cleveland Foundation. Accessed 2007-01-19. Archived October 6, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Who We Are - The Cleveland Foundation. Accessed 2007-01-19. Archived November 21, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
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