support of youth development, arts and culture among new cleveland foundation grants

If children and the arts are two of a community's most precious commodities, then the Cleveland Foundation has got Northeast Ohio covered.

As part of an overall grantmaking surge totaling $21.6 million in grants to local nonprofit organizations, the foundation has authorized monies to separate programs focusing on youth development and arts and culture.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland received $250,000 to expand its reach, says foundation executive vice president Bob Eckardt. The grant will support after-school and summer activities at various club locations. It will also fund a development campaign seeking to raise money for general programming.

"We recognize that Cleveland's youth need more than just schools," says Eckardt. "There's a need for high-quality out-of-school programming."

On the cultural side of the slate, Cleveland Foundation continued its support of two capital campaigns in the arts - Gordon Square Arts District and the Power of Three: Allen Theatre Project. Each program was granted $250,000, bringing the foundation’s support for both campaigns to the $1 million level.

The Gordon Square district on Cleveland's West Side acts as an economic catalyst for the surrounding community, says Eckardt. The foundation's funding will solely be used for renovation of the Cleveland Public Theatre.

The Power of Three: The Allen Theatre Project, meanwhile, is a partnership among Cleveland State University, PlayhouseSquare and Cleveland Play House to build Allen Theatre into a multivenue performing arts and education complex.

Supporting the two arts programs was an easy call for the foundation. "Arts and culture is one of our strengths," Eckardt says, pointing to the thriving arts' enclaves in University Circle, downtown Cleveland and elsewhere. "It's part of our brand as a community and plays into or economic development strategy as a region."

SOURCE: Bob Eckardt
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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