News

Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) Transforms Trajectories for Economically Distressed Youth
Youth from economically distressed communities can face multiple barriers to success in school, many of which are non-academic. While studies have shown the presence of just two barriers can result in youth dropping out of school, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) finds teens in their school-based programs regularly face five to six barriers. Some of the most common include poor attendance, low academic performance, past suspension, probation and/or expulsion, lack of motivation or maturity, and having inadequate or no work experience. Without ample resources to help them stay in school and graduate, these youth are vulnerable to becoming basic-skills deficient, disengaged, and failing to achieve his or her potential. Y.O.U. aims to change these trajectories through school-based programs and workforce development initiatives that help youth graduate high school and prepare for post-graduation success. The organization’s programs focus on ensuring individuals are ready to pursue a path to economic self-sufficiency through mentoring, employability skills training, industry-based credential training, career exploration, jobs, and internships. The programs are evidence-based and seamlessly integrate case management, employment and internship components, along with an emphasis on data collection and analysis. “Y.O.U. has been at the forefront of the nonprofit movement to use data to drive decisions, to continuously improve, and to judge success based on outcomes, not just outputs,” says Marc Nathanson, senior development executive at Y.O.U. “We are now serving youth more effectively by using data to improve programming, evidenced by the fact that we achieved an average 87% high school graduation rate and 82% post-secondary success rate over the last three years.” Their workforce development initiatives include a consortium of workforce providers, co-facilitated by Cuyahoga County, that address the workforce preparation needs of Opportunity Youth (young, disconnected adults 18-24 who are not in school or working), and school-based programs like Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates, where […]
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Fall Grant Submission Cycle Opens: 4 Tips to Improve Your Concept Paper
As the Callahan Foundation’s fall grant cycle opens for concept paper submissions, keep these four basics in mind when crafting your application. The Callahan Foundation is now accepting concept paper submissions for the 2018 fall grant cycle. Northeast Ohio nonprofit organizations with a focus on higher education, the arts and social services are encouraged to apply. Funding is offered to eligible nonprofits that demonstrate superior leadership and create value for those in need. As you craft your concept paper, remember to review the full requirements, and consider these four tips for a successful application: Clearly state the focus. Your concept paper is the initial gatekeeper and key to the grant application process. Write with clarity: make sure the message and intent is highly focused and the language is straightforward. Elaborate on the community you serve. Who does your organization serve, and how? Describe the population and how they benefit from your nonprofit’s services in detail. Conveying a thorough understanding of how your organization impacts communities enhances your application. Define the link. How does your organization or program fit the criteria required? Discuss how and why your nonprofit aligns with the ethos of the Callahan Foundation. Don’t forget the details. Make sure that you carefully read the application requirements. Adhere to the correct file formatting and content requirements laid out in the grant application guidelines. Remember to include contact information and a business mailing address! Deadline for initial concept paper submission is September 30, 2018, after which a select number of concept papers will be invited via email to submit full proposals. Successful applicants will be notified of funding by December 31, 2018. Submissions for initial concept papers can be uploaded here.
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Kinnect Drives Change For Our Community’s Most Vulnerable Children
Over the past few years, the number of children in foster care has grown by almost 30%. Abuse and neglect, largely attributed to drug addiction within a family, is usually the cause. While foster care is intended as a solution, many children tend to stay in care far too long and move too much, exacerbating the trauma that led to the child being removed from their family in the first place. Additionally, many youth without legal parents or a support network age-out of foster care each year. The result? Far too many children facing grim realities and few supportive relationships after suffering through unstable and sometimes unsafe tenures in foster care. Kinnect aims to change all of that through improved, best practice models that help build permanency. “Building permanency for children is about increasing their sense of belonging and connection to community,” explains Mike Kenney, co-founder and executive director of Kinnect. The organization was formed to support child welfare and protection programs in Ohio’s counties — all 88 of which are run differently—to adopt practices that have been proven to lead to better outcomes for children involved in foster care. Kinnect does this through a three-pronged strategy. They train and coach child welfare professionals, partner with public and private agencies to include best practice programs, and advocate for children and families in crisis, regardless of the challenge that brought them there.   “Our work focuses on building the social capital, resilience, and a support network for children and families to ensure their safety and well being,” says Kenney. “We work with social workers, with families, and with children to build relationships to overcome the traumatic effects of abuse and neglect.” Kenney says Kinnect is the only organization of its kind in Ohio. “We participate in a national network of child […]
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Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Advocates for Education
Callahan Foundation grant recipient Legal Aid Society of Cleveland removes barriers to education for vulnerable and low-income families. When looking at the root causes of poverty, lack of education is both a cause and an effect. A direct correlation exists showing the longer a child spends in school, the less likely they are to be poor and it’s the reason why legal advocacy ensuring children have access to good education is so important. “Federal law actually requires that all children get a free, public education,” says Melanie Shakarian, Esq., director of development and communications at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. The civil, nonprofit law firm provides advocacy for vulnerable and low-income families, and their children who may not be receiving the appropriate public education required under federal law. The organization, established in 1905 and with 134 branches across the US, operates one of its largest branches in Cleveland. Awarded $20,000 in Callahan Foundation’s 2017 Spring Funding Cycle, the Legal Aid Society’s “Access to Education” program has helped remove barriers to education for children within and outside of schools through traditional education law and an innovative education-legal partnership with Near West Intergenerational School and Cleveland Metropolitan School District. In the past year, Legal Aid education attorneys helped low-income students obtain and receive special education services, correct individualized education programs (IEPs), and represented parents at disciplinary proceedings. “These are people who handle representing young children in school who are being denied services at their school,” says Shakarian. “It could be a child who has a disability who’s not provided an accommodation, maybe because they have a physical disability or mental health concern and they need an accommodation at their school. We could be representing a child who has been bullied and needs to be removed from their particular classroom or school […]
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42nd Cleveland International Film Festival Kicks Off
The 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival opens at Tower City Cinemas April 4, 2018 with the aim to “Embrace Curiosity.” The art of filmmaking has often been considered a vehicle for embracing curiosity, creativity and culture. This year, that’s exactly the theme of the Cleveland International Film Festival’s 2018 program, running April 4-15. Through a dizzying array of films — 216 feature films and 253 shorts — representing a lengthy list of countries (72 this year), the organization hopes the theme will encourage filmgoers “to challenge and perhaps change the ways we perceive and interact with the world around us,” writes CIFF Board of Directors President Nancy Callahan. With over 500+ film screenings to be shown at Tower City Cinemas and several other neighborhood locations, CIFF upholds its mission of promoting artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community. In addition to the screenings, there will be FilmForums, Chat Rooms, interactive media exhibitions, free screenings for college students, filmmaker Q&A’s (an estimated 300 guest filmmakers will be in attendance) and more. April 4th’s Opening Night event will kick off in Connor Palace at Playhouse Square, where it opened last almost 30 years ago. Tickets for daily screenings and passes are available online.  The Callahan Foundation is honored to support the 42nd Annual Cleveland International Film Festival with a grant of $15,000 towards the Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for Best Film. Named in honor of the late Plain Dealer film critic from 1983 to 1988, the award is CIFF’s most prestigious and internationally acclaimed honor recognizing impactful filmmakers.  
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FIRST Robotics Inspires Science, Tech And Engineering Leaders In Buckeye Regional Competition
Callahan Foundation grant recipient FIRST® Robotics challenges students to be robot inventors in the Buckeye Regional Competition this month. Over 1,500 high school students from throughout Ohio and neighboring states will compete later this month in the FIRST® Robotics Buckeye Regional Competition. The young inventors compete in teams with 120-pound robots of their own design, combining the excitement of sport with science and technology. This year, the robots are “trapped” in an 8-bit video game. The alliance with the highest score defeats the “boss” at the end of the match and wins, in a competition taking place March 29-31, 2018 at Cleveland State University. The teams spent six weeks designing, building and programming the robots as part of FIRST’s annual, competitive-based education program. Students coupled creativity with skills like math, science, engineering, business and project management, art, video and industrial sciences in the competition. FIRST inspires innovation in students and fosters well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. The impact of participation in the competition for students extends beyond the event, from the growth of science, technology and engineering skills, through to careers in STEM. The Buckeye Regional is considered among the best regional competitions nationally for the quality of experience provided to the high school students participating. The Callahan Foundation is proud to be a sponsor of the competition, awarding the FIRST Robotics Buckeye Regional $10,000 to support the cost of the presentation of the annual event. The event is open to the public and will be held at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center. To learn more about the event, visit FIRST Buckeye Regional Competition.
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Harvard Professor, Author and New Yorker Writer to Present 2018 Callahan Distinguished Lecture
2018 F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture to feature Jill Lepore, historian, professor and writer, speaking on the topic of American history. Can a divided nation have a shared past? And how does this history relate to issues in contemporary American culture? Speaking on the topic of “American History from Beginning to End,” author, professor and essayist Jill Lepore will delve into these questions, along with the challenges and considerations involved in writing about United States history. Lepore is Professor of American History at Harvard University, a staff writer for The New Yorker, author of several prize-winning books, and recipient of many honors, awards and honorary degrees. Her academic areas of emphasis include “exploring the absences and asymmetries of evidence in the historical record, with a particular emphasis on the histories and technologies of evidence and of privacy,” according to her Harvard University biography. Lepore regularly contributes articles on American history, law, literature, and politics to The New Yorker, along with cultural critiques. Several of her books were derived from essays originally published in the periodical. Lepore’s recent book, “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” was an international bestseller and winner of the 2015 American History Book Prize. Her next book, “These Truths: A History of the United States,” will be published in September 2018. Lepore lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and their three sons. The lecture will be held on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 6:00 PM as part of the Think Forum series, and will be followed by a discussion and audience questions. Presented at Case Western Reserve’s Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at the Temple Tifereth – Israel, 1855 Ansel Road, Cleveland, you can reserve free tickets for the lecture online, or call the Maltz Performing Arts Center box office at 216.368.6062. The Callahan […]
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Recovery Resources Tackles Behavioral Health Issues in Cleveland
In Cuyahoga County, behavioral health service demand far exceeds capacity. “Hospital emergency rooms are backed up, the opiate addiction has been declared a national health crisis, our specialty court dockets for mental health and addiction are growing, our criminal justice system has the single largest population of individuals with behavioral health needs, and our front line responders are reaching out for assistance,” explains Diane Tomer, Director of Development and Marketing at Recovery Resources, an organization working to provide that assistance. Founded in 1955, Recovery Resources has been educating youth to prevent addictions, providing treatment to help people regain their physical and mental health, and offering housing and employment services to support clients as they continue living their journey of recovery. After the Cleveland Police 4th District started logging over 7,000 behavioral health calls each month, the Cleveland Police Foundation contacted Recovery Resources to explore ways to collaborate and tackle the issue. What resulted was a partnership and development of a pilot program to provide alcohol and drug prevention outreach and engagement with “transition-aged youth and their families or caregivers to increase awareness of and promote healthy behaviors,” explains Tomer. “With funding provided by the Callahan Foundation, Recovery Resources will provide Alcohol and Drug prevention education for school aged children in the eight area neighborhoods and six wards in the district, as well as offer mental health first aid training to police officers on foot patrol,” describes Tomer. In addition to outreach and engagement, the project will track recidivism, improve referral and access to care, and create a culture with foot patrol to be pro-active identifying people who may be having mental health crisis by providing de-escalation tactics and preventing arrest. Because of the stigma that surrounds mental illness and drug addiction, “addressing its causes and devastating consequences is not easy […]
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Scranton Road Ministries Changes Lives Through Workforce Development Initiative
Scranton Road Ministries is working to change the lives of urban young adults, spur economic growth in the community and create the next generation of leaders through Youth Jobs Partnership (YJP). As a response to a graduation rate in the community of just under 60%, Scranton Road Ministries developed a program to assist Cleveland’s most vulnerable residents with an outcomes-driven workforce development initiative. That program, called the Youth Jobs Partnership (YJP), has provided 7,939 Cleveland young adults, ages 16-22, with comprehensive job training and placement services. In addition, the initiative has provided college preparation, transition services, professional development, mentorship opportunities and business education. YJP aims to create value for the community by developing indigenous leaders and providing them with marketable skills for success, implemented with operational efficiency, while demonstrating significant results. This year, YJP set a goal to provide 875-900 Cleveland young adults with a comprehensive portfolio of workforce development services, by offering foundational, advanced and business training at Cleveland Metropolitan Schools and on-site at Scranton Road Ministries. In addition to demonstrable gains in aptitude from participants, expected outcomes included a significant contribution in increasing high school attendance, graduation, and matriculation rates within the CMSD schools. For example, 71% of YJP In-School participants, and 94% of YJP Advanced-Training participants graduated high school, amidst a community-wide 59% graduation rate. Past participants in the program also showed an “11% increase in resume writing ability, 24% increase in personal finance skills, 13% increase in interviewing skills, and 22% increase in conflict resolution, according to diagnostic tests,” explains the Scranton Road Ministries website. While the future may seem bleak for hundreds of young adults in the ethnically diverse Clark-Fulton, Tremont West and Detroit Shoreway neighborhoods of Cleveland, YJP is working to transform them into a highly-competent workforce with a solid work ethic, and then transition each graduate into gainful employment […]
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Slavic Village Development Initiatives Focus On Literacy
With a vision of ensuring every young person in southeast Cleveland’s Broadway and Slavic Village neighborhood is able to experience high quality learning and improve academic achievement, Slavic Village Development hones in on programs that improve reading levels and graduation rates. Slavic Village Development works with and for residents, businesses, and institutions in the neighborhood to promote civic engagement, community empowerment, and neighborhood investment. Along with community partners Third Federal Foundation and Cleveland Foundation, the organization is working to address one of the neighborhood’s most critical issues: literacy levels and graduation rates. By coupling funding for the MyCom (My Commitment, My Community) youth-focused initiative and the P-16 Initiative, which addresses issues at key education levels, Slavic Village Development was able to establish key program positions for a director and literacy coordinator. Notable programs include the Reach Out and Read / Ready to Learn initiative, where volunteers are trained to engage parents about their child’s education and identify educational needs during appointment waiting times; working with partner schools to ensure a continuum of programs exist to support learning in the classroom, after school and during breaks; promoting literacy through the nation’s first Little Free Library Neighborhood; and through the Literacy Cooperative, creating a campaign for new parents and the community to understand the value of talking with their babies. In short, the vision is to focus resources so as to improve the schools in the neighborhood and to create a model for the rest of Cleveland and other urban communities. The Callahan Foundation is proud to support the Slavic Village Development with a grant of $20,000 towards this vision.
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