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Cleveland Foundation Grant

Grants to Ohio Nonprofits and Agencies in Eligible Locations
to Improve the Quality of Life for Local Residents

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Cleveland Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

04/30/21 - Deadline for requests over $200,000; Requests for under $200,000 are accepted on an ongoing basis.


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Grants to Ohio nonprofit organizations and government agencies in eligible locations to improve the quality of life for local residents. Applicants for large grant requests must submit an initial inquiry prior to submitting a full application. Funding is intended to support programs and projects in areas that include, but are not limited to, education, health, arts and culture, and leadership development. Funded activities must serve Greater Cleveland, including Lake, Geauga, and Cuyahoga Counties.

Priority is given in the following areas:

  • Arts & Culture
  • Economic & Workforce Development
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Health & Human Services
  • Leadership Development
  • Neighborhood Revitalization & Engagement
  • Youth & Social Services

Grants to organizations fall within two categories:

  1. Responsive (about 1/3 of grant funding): In general, the Foundation gives priority to those projects that improve access to services and programs for vulnerable and underserved populations; strengthen nonprofit organizations; test new ideas and different partnerships; and support policy and advocacy.
  2. Proactive (about 2/3 of grant funding): Awarded in areas judged most vital to Greater Cleveland’s future, with the goal of creating significant, widespread impact. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 166072

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Under $200,000 (Monthly Decision)
- Over $200,000 (Quarterly Decision)

Term of Contract:

Generally, grants are made for one to two years; although they may be longer, given program priorities. Unless specifically notified differently by the foundation, applicants may apply for continued support of a previously funded purpose or project.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Cleveland Foundation makes most of its grants to tax-exempt agencies classified as 501(c)(3) organizations (public charities as defined by the Internal Revenue Service) in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties. Some grants are also made to government agencies and churches.

Capital requests, such as those for buildings, land or equipment, are supported when they meet certain stringent criteria. Capital projects must help to meet a compelling community need and offer a broad social benefit. When the foundation participates in a capital project, its support is contingent on funding from other sources. (They generally do not authorize payment until the organization has raised a significant amount of its total goal.)

Please note: At this time, grant inquiries will not be accepted for new organizations, capital requests, sponsorships, travel or events.

The Foundation generally does not make grants to:

- Individuals
- For-profit/commercial organizations
- Endowment campaigns, annual appeals or membership drives
- Religious organizations for religious purposes
- Travel for individuals or groups when travel is the proposal’s primary focus
- Community services such as police and fire protection, road repair or snow removal
- Staff positions for government agencies
- Capital projects for hospitals, nursing homes or institutions of higher education
- Publications, audiovisual projects or video productions. However, consideration may be given when they fall within a promising project.

Pre-Application Information:


1. Under $200,000 (Monthly Decision):

- Inquiry: Any time
Full application: 15th of the month
Decision Date*: End of the following month

*Applications that involve complex or new programs, or those that have significant unanswered questions, may require a longer review period.

2. Over $200,000 (Quarterly Decision):

- Inquiry: January 15
Full Application: January 31
Decision Date: March 27

- Inquiry: April 15
Full Application: April 30
Decision Date: June 27

- Inquiry: July 15
Full Application: July 31
Decision Date: September 27

- Inquiry: October 15
Full Application: October 31
Decision Date: December 19

The Foundation requires all grant applicants to first submit an online grant inquiry, outlining basic information about the proposed project. Inquiries may be submitted at any time and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The foundation recommends submitting one inquiry per proposed project. If it is determined that your project fits the Foundation’s guidelines, you will be asked (within a few weeks) to submit a full application. Please note that an invitation to submit a full application does not guarantee funding at any level.

Once your application is received, a program officer or director is assigned to review your request and can answer any questions and provide guidance regarding the timetable for making a decision. Grant applications that request significant amounts of funding, those that deal with complex or new programs, or those that have significant unanswered questions will likely require longer review times. In these cases, you should allow eight to 10 weeks for full review of your proposal from submission of the grant inquiry to decision.

In response to the current crisis, the Foundation has temporarily adjusted some of their grantmaking practices and reporting requirements. Please see Message to the Foundation's Nonprofit Partners found below.


Foundation grantmaking:

Message to the Foundation's nonprofit partners:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To register:

To apply online:

For questions, contact the Foundation at 216-615-7254 or

Karen Bartrum JansenGrantmaking
Grants Coordinator

Cleveland Foundation
1422 Euclid Avenue, Suite 1300
Cleveland, OH 44115

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Ohio: Greater Cleveland, including Lake, Geauga, and Cuyahoga Counties

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