Callahan Foundation Awards More Than $300,000 to 30 Nonprofits in Fall 2020

In 2020, nonprofits faced unprecedented economic circumstances due to COVID-19 — and an increase in demand for their services. Amid the pandemic, it became paramount for philanthropy to prioritize advocating for racial and social justice. 

In response, the Callahan Foundation’s Fall 2020 grantmaking represented additional funding for an increased number of Northeast Ohio nonprofits beyond previous cycles, with many first-time grant recipients. Grants were deployed with consideration of expanding nonprofits’ capacity to address the pandemic’s social, educational, health and economic impacts and target those disproportionately affected by the outbreak. The Foundation remained committed to directing resources to advance inclusive, engaged and equitable communities, awarding grants to BIPOC-led and BIPOC-focused nonprofits, as well as the LGBTQ community.

This fall, the Callahan Foundation awarded $302,500 to 30 nonprofits in its Fall 2020 grant cycle:

Beck Center for the Arts: Serving more than 60,000 people annually, the Beck Center is a leader in comprehensive arts education in Northeast Ohio. The Center was awarded $20,000 in continued support of their capital campaign, Creating Our Future. The campaign is designed to ensure the future of the Center, provide updates to the campus, and aid in sustainability and programming for the future. During the pandemic, the Center worked to keep the arts a part of people’s lives with online programming, using the downtime in campus activity to begin Center renovations.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland: Big Brothers Big Sisters helps children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships. The organization was awarded $5,000 for their Community-based mentoring program, which pairs mentors who provide guidance and support with youths facing adversity in and outside of the classroom. The funding will support BBBS to create new matches for up to 80 additional “Littles,” provide critical administration and infrastructure support, and expand BBBS’ ability to reach more families with vital wraparound services.

Boys Hope Girls Hope of Northeastern Ohio (BHGH): First-time grant recipient Boys Hope Girls Hope was awarded $5,000 for their Scholar program, which empowers children in poverty to reach their full potential. Beginning before sixth grade and continuing through post-secondary education and career launch, Scholars participate in hundreds of hours of programming each year that addresses their academic and holistic development and helps them identify and shape a pathway to college and career success. The grant will help BGHG provide individualized coaching and merit-based scholarship awards for 36 Scholars, making higher education a realistic and attainable goal. 

Cleveland Clinic Foundation: The Cleveland Clinic Foundation was awarded $50,000 to provide support for Community Health Workers (CHW) to implement projects serving at-risk socioeconomic populations in the neighborhoods surrounding Cleveland Clinic’s main campus. As a proven approach to addressing social determinants of health, CHWs would provide preparation and delivery of COVID-19 care, help with chronic disease management, and assist with job readiness/skills training. The grant will provide seed funding required to catalyze a CHW program, create a proof point, and demonstrate its impact to secure long-term support.

Cleveland Housing Network (CHN): Cleveland Housing Network is a nonprofit affordable housing developer and housing service with a mission of leveraging the power of affordable housing to change lives and improve communities. CHN has developed 6,500 affordable homes and helped 2,700 low-income families achieve homeownership since 1981, serving 40,000 households annually. First-time grant recipient CHN was awarded $5,000 for their Lease Purchase Program, a 15-year pathway to homeownership for Cleveland families earning 60% or less of area median income (AMI).

Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM): The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) was awarded $5,000 in support of scholarships for CIM’s most deserving students. For these students, scholarships mean the ability to pursue world-class musical training and the opportunity to study with renowned CIM faculty members. During the pandemic, CIM leveraged existing resources and developed new opportunities for learning, creating almost-in-person experiences with the safety benefits of distance learning for private lessons.

Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF): As a presenting sponsor, the Callahan Foundation awarded CIFF $20,000 towards the Roxanne T. Mueller (RTM) Audience Choice Award for Best Film, IFF’s most prestigious and internationally acclaimed honor recognizing impactful filmmakers. Funding allows CIFF to present the award as well as cover stipends for most of the filmmakers whose films will be eligible for the award.

Cleveland Museum of Art: The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) is committed to educational innovation and civic engagement, a commitment that spans the institution’s entire history and is rooted in its mission to create transformative experiences through art. CMA was awarded $15,000 for the creation of vital, virtual programs for K-12 teachers and schools, allowing the organization to overcome challenges posed by COVID‐19 guidelines and social distancing requirements. Through “Live Virtual Learning,” CMA will produce and deliver virtual field trip experiences and supporting materials that bridge the physical distance between schools and the museum’s collection.

Cleveland Platform Tennis Foundation (CPTF): CPTF’s mission is to advance platform tennis growth and development in Northeast Ohio by increasing public access and awareness, supporting meaningful lifelong engagement in the sport, and encouraging a cross generational social environment. To achieve this, CPTF is developing a state-of-the-art public platform tennis facility, the Flats Platform Tennis Center (FPTC), on the grounds of the Cleveland Rowing Foundation on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. The Flats Platform Tennis Center will pair students with adult mentors, not only to learn paddle, but to support each student’s academic advancement. First-time grant recipient CPTF was awarded $10,000 for the public platform tennis facility. 

Cleveland Print Room: The Cleveland Print Room is a nonprofit community darkroom, education center, workspace, and photographic gallery. Their target population is underserved students in Cleveland who are denied access to opportunities to study photography due to lack of financial resources, parental guidance, and access to facilities and art classes. Due to COVID-19, CPR made adaptations to switch programming to remote learning to better serve youth. CPR has also employed a Social Emotional Learning specialist and art therapists on weekly Zoom calls, delivering art care packages to youth to engage students, giving them hands-on exposure and opportunities to learn the discipline of photography with the aid of professional teaching artists. This fall, the organization was awarded $10,000 to support remote learning operating costs and to further increase organizational capacity by enabling CPR to invest in a new Education Director. 

Cleveland School of the Arts: The Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) has a mission to create an environment that empowers children with the opportunity to achieve excellence through arts education. CSA serves over 450 high school students, their families, and diverse audiences with arts education and demonstrations of the value of CSA’s learning model. CSA was awarded $7,500 for general operating support that will help advance its responsive work to keep arts curriculum strong and ensure student success in the coming school year.

College Now: As Ohio’s largest and the nation’s first college access organization, College Now Greater Cleveland helped establish the “college access” movement and field of service. College Now serves 32,000 socioeconomically diverse students and adults yearly through programs and counseling on postsecondary educational attainment. As COVID-19 spread early this year, College Now adapted to remote work technology and virtualized in-person advising services. The organization was awarded $7,500 for general operations, allowing them to continue to lead in the field of college access across Ohio and the region. 

Dress for Success Cleveland: Dress for Success empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since 2011, Dress for Success Cleveland has maintained a 52% or greater placement rate of women getting employed for the first time and/or re-entering the workforce. Dress for Success Cleveland was awarded $5,000 towards their workforce readiness programming, allowing six cohorts to attend the four-week job readiness program for one year. 

FrontLine Services: FrontLine Service is the only agency that reaches out to those throughout Cuyahoga County who are homeless, struggling with mental health crises or thoughts of suicide, or whose lives have been devastated by violence in their own home or community. A first-time grant recipient, FrontLine Services was awarded $5,000 to support their Safe Haven program for adults who experience long-term homelessness and severe mental illness. The Safe Haven program is based in two residential houses on Cleveland’s east and west sides, and are often the last community-based option before long-term hospitalization.

Group Plan Commission (GPC): The mission of the Group Plan Commission (GPC) is to renew the heart of downtown Cleveland for today’s citizens and future generations by transforming and connecting the city’s signature public spaces. Following a $50 million renovation of Public Square, GPC has programmed, maintained, and operated Public Square in the best interests of all Clevelanders and visitors, including providing more than 1500 programs to the community, with approximately 95% of these programs being free. A first-time grant recipient, GPC received $7,500 for their “Summer Splash” program, which will provide essential STEM academic, social, art, health, and wellness opportunities for Cleveland’s future leaders.

Ideastream: Ideastream is a digital-forward umbrella organization that provides distinctive, rich content through traditional television broadcasts, radio programs, and digital presentations, including on-demand viewing and live-streaming services on the web together with social and mobile media presentations. Ideastream’s television and radio programs along with its educational and digital services are used by approximately 2.8 million people a month, from an 18-county service area. A first-time grant recipient, Ideastream was awarded $10,000 for general operating support, allowing the organization to produce and distribute a collection of award-winning news, community affairs, health, and arts and cultural programming via TV, the radio, and digital platforms. 

Kent State University Foundation and Museum: The mission of the Kent State University Museum is to advance understanding of world cultures through its collections, preservation, interpretation and exhibitions for students, scholars and the general public. The Museum was awarded $5,000 for their project “TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair.” TEXTURES is a timely and compelling exhibition that brings together new research in contemporary art, visual culture, and fashioning of Black hair and bodies to reassess how the story of peoples of African descent is expressed through their hair. Curated for the KSU Museum by KSU professors, the project features 200 paintings, sculptures, hair artifacts, photographs, fashion objects, advertisements, magazine covers, and other media organized into themes.

LAND Studio: LAND studio is a nonprofit whose mission is to create places and connect people through public art, sustainable building and design, collaborative planning, and dynamic programming. The organization convenes developers, community stakeholders, residents, and artists to complete transformative projects that foster a more competitive, equitable, and attractive city. LAND Studio was awarded $10,000 to support the implementation of a key goal from LAND’s recently completed strategic plan: to develop field-wide priorities with partners to improve Cleveland’s public spaces. By convening public space advocates and implementation partners, LAND believes it can strengthen civic infrastructure for residents.

LGBT Community Center: The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland’s mission is to enrich the lives of Cleveland’s diverse LGBTQ+ community through advocacy, support, education and celebration. The LGBT Center’s holistic programs include information referrals, wellness activities, and social and educational programming. A first-time grant recipient, the Center was awarded $5,000 to help underwrite the agency’s innovative new partnership with Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), “The School of One at The LGBT Center: Solutions for Global Issues.” School of One is the first public school in the U.S. dedicated to educating LGBTQ+ youth in an affirming/supportive environment.

Malachi House: The Malachi House is the only agency in Ohio addressing the need for medically supportive housing for the dying poor. The organization serves those who are terminally ill, at no cost or regard to gender, race, religion or national origin. Trained staff and volunteers provide spiritual, emotional and physical support with the assistance of hospice team partners to those who need an available caregiver or are in need of special home care in the final stages of life. The Malachi House was awarded $5,000 to aid in funding one of the 15 residential rooms at the home.

MetroHealth: MetroHealth has focused on caring for the community’s most vulnerable residents and remains committed to “leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery and teamwork.” MetroHealth was awarded $20,000 to support their Nurse Family Partnership Program as it transitions to longer-term sustainability. The Nurse Family Partnership Program is an evidence-based initiative designed to reduce Cuyahoga County’s abysmal preterm birth and infant mortality rates and support a strong and healthy beginning for Northeast Ohio’s babies and families.

The Sculpture Center: The Sculpture Center (TSC) is an arts institution with a mission of building a nurturing and professional environment for the career advancement of emerging sculptors in which creativity and ideas can flourish, through programs and services offered free of charge. TSC was awarded $5,000 for Battlegrounds, a new initiative which will be Cleveland’s first city-wide public art exhibition in augmented reality (AR). Twelve prominent Cleveland-area artists of color will be selected to create works in art in response to contested sites in overlooked neighborhoods in East Cleveland. The goal of Battlegrounds is to invite meaningful conversations around issues of social justice and the histories of the past with authentic voices of present, and to cultivate a strong, diverse community of under-recognized Cleveland-area artists of color.

Seeds of Literacy: Seeds of Literacy (Seeds) is the only nationally accredited adult literacy program in Ohio, and the only one to offer free one-to-one instruction. Seeds’ goal is to provide personalized tutoring programs to help adults prepare for their High School Equivalency (HSE) exam, serving 1000 predominantly low-income adults who didn’t succeed in traditional school settings. In Cleveland, 66% of adult residents are considered functionally illiterate —meaning their reading and math skills are at or below a fourth-grade level. A first-time grant recipient, Seeds was awarded $5,000 to provide adult education programs throughout the year at east and west side locations.

SYATT: Syatt is a grassroots organization created out of a need for diversity and inclusion in outdoor spaces, with programming designed to uplift and empower black and brown youth and allow them to see themselves in and benefit from outdoor spaces. A first-time grant recipient, Syatt was awarded $5,000 for their “Syatt Dives” program, where participants become skilled in diving techniques and advocates for underwater conservation and preservation through the pursuit of maritime archaeology and restoration. Participants learn through swim lessons, diving skills and equipment use, and participate in pool diving sessions and at least two open water dives. Through a culturally-tailored curriculum, underserved youth also learn STEM and improve literacy through research and dissemination practices, setting them apart from their peers.

Ursuline College: Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing prepares students for a lifelong career that gives back to the community and also provides upward mobility to students and their families, enrolling 375 undergraduates annually. Ursuline College was ranked first in the nation by Forbes for moving low-income students into higher income groups. Their Breen School of Nursing was awarded $10,000 to help fund a part-time position dedicated to supporting students of color entering the nursing profession, addressing a pressing need to improve both the pipeline of students of color entering the nursing profession as well as training to address race-based health inequities.

West Side Community House: West Side Community House’s mission is to transform lives by welcoming people into a community that not only connects them to tangible resources needed to navigate life’s challenges, but also to opportunities for healthy social and emotional connections so that they do not have to walk alone. The organization serves 6,000 children, families, and older adults each year through programs like the Healthy Aging Center (meals, support, and classes for older adults), Sisterhood (arts and literacy program for young women and girls), and Family Services (family strengthening classes, advocacy, and support). The first-time grant recipient was awarded $5,000 to support Sisterhood, the after-school and summer literacy and arts program that prepares girls from Cleveland for womanhood and their life beyond.

Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS): As Cleveland’s oldest cultural institution, WRHS’ mission is to inspire people to discover the American experience by exploring the tangible history of Northeast Ohio. The organization leads the way as a premier place for research and education in the region, serving Pre-K to post-graduate students, educators, and residents of Northeast Ohio. Due to the pandemic, WRHS adapted its programming to reach students at home, transforming the study of history into a force for creating a more positive future. The organization was awarded $10,000 for virtual educational programming. 

Youth Opportunities Unlimited: Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) helps teens and young adults succeed by providing educational and workforce opportunities, skills development, and access to career pathways. Their target population is youth that live in families near, at or below poverty level, including Opportunity Youth – teens and young adults who are neither in school nor working, of which there are 21,000 in Cuyahoga County alone. YOU was awarded $5,000 for their school-based workforce program serving young adults. 

Young Leaders Program: Young Leaders Program promotes the spread of positive awareness and leadership throughout the East Cleveland community through service and a contemporary approach. The Program aims to provide resources to low income residential areas of East Cleveland by hosting clothing and food drives, community cleanups, and other services. The first-time grant recipient was awarded $5,000 for its youth-led neighborhood improvement projects.

YWCA: YWCA’s Nurturing Independence & Aspirations (NIA) supportive services provide the stability and support that young people in crisis need to build self-sufficiency and ultimately transition back into the community as thriving and engaged young adults. Many of these young adults have aged out of foster care or have spent teen years in foster care—the group that makes up the majority of homeless youth. Engaging traumatized youth requires highly relational work and provider persistence and consistency. NIA Life Coaches and NIA participants assess barriers to independence, then create a plan for self-sufficiency. Life Coaches use long-term case management to support participants in implementing their plans, connect them to resources, and assist them in developing critical life skills. YWCA’s NIA program was awarded $20,000.

About The Callahan Foundation

The Callahan Foundation is a family foundation based in Cleveland, Ohio, that provides support for Northeast Ohio nonprofits to add value to the entire region. Started in 1968 by Francis Joseph “Joe” Callahan and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Callahan, the Callahan Foundation is primarily focused on art and higher education grants, as well as the funding of numerous social service endeavors. Since its founding, the foundation has awarded more than $15 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the area that demonstrate superior entrepreneurial leadership and a track record of value creation.