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“The Bruenings strongly believed in the importance of education for youth, in providing comfort for the elderly and disabled, and in programs that brought hope to the poor.”

Responsive Grantmaking

The Bruening Foundation’s responsive grantmaking strategy is a modern interpretation of our founding couple’s core interests. The Bruening’s giving during their lifetime reflected that they “strongly believed in the importance of education for youth, in providing comfort for the elderly and disabled, and in programs that provided hope for the poor.” A preference for alleviating the roots of poverty permeates the Bruening Foundation’s grantmaking and is reflected in our focus on young families and early childhood development. It is an integral part of our responsive grantmaking areas of Learning and Safety Net Services.

At the Bruening Foundation, we believe learning is the process through which people develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that allow them to flourish as human beings and citizens. Learning is important throughout our lifetime, but as we have discovered through our research, especially important early in life. The Foundation’s Learning strategy aims to support organizations and programs that place an emphasis on learning for low-income populations.

The safety net protects those who need the most help in our community. The Bruening Foundation understands that Safety Net Services help individuals and families meet their basic needs. Often times, these individuals and families are in crisis and require assistance to address the most immediate needs, as well as help to create a more long-term plan so as not to find themselves in crisis again.

Best Practices

The Bruening Foundation hopes to fund organizations that implement best practices or evidence-based programming. A best-practice is a method or technique that has shown results superior to those achieved through other means, and that is used as a benchmark. Evidence-based programs are grounded in research. We encourage applicants to share information about their programs that are either best practices or evidence-based programming.

Eligibility/Geographical Boundaries

The Bruening Foundation awards grants to 501(c)3 organizations based in Cuyahoga County. Very rare exceptions may be made, on a case-by-case basis, for organizations headquartered outside the County that maintain facilities within the County, fall within our priority program areas, and serve the residents of Cuyahoga County. Organizations can contact staff to clarify these eligibility requirements.

Preferred Types of Grants

Requests for program, start-up or emergency operating and capital (see capital campaigns sections) support will be considered. Applicants are discouraged from submitting requests for endowment, general operating expenses, research, symposia/seminars or fundraising events. No grants are awarded to individuals, nor does the Foundation respond to mass mailings or annual campaign solicitations.

Capital Campaigns

The Bruening Foundation, may, on occasion, provide support for capital campaigns and capital renovation projects. Preference will be given to projects that fit the Foundation’s stated responsive grantmaking interests. Given the Foundation’s limited resources, organizations interested in submitting an application for capital support should first submit a letter of inquiry (LOI) to be considered at one of the Distribution Committee’s three scheduled meetings (May, August and December).

The LOI should include general information about the capital project and how it aligns with the Foundation’s responsive focus areas of Learning or Safety Net Services. LOIs should be emailed to Kara McCullough at kmccullough@fmscleveland.com by the deadlines of March 1, June 1, and October 1. If the LOI is approved at one of these meetings, a full application may be submitted for the next deadline.

All full applications should also include answers to the Capital Campaign Checklist.

Learning

The Foundation’s Learning strategy aims to support organizations and programs that place an emphasis on learning for low-income populations. We believe learning is the process through which people develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that allow them to flourish as human beings and citizens. Learning is important throughout our lifetime, but as we have discovered through our research, especially important early in life.  We believe that the conditions that foster learning and the “teachers” that impart learning are just as important as the content and experiences.

The Bruening Foundation hopes to develop and maintain partnerships with organizations that:

  • Provide innovative learning experiences that integrate academic, social and emotional growth and create positive conditions for learning for children 0-8.
  • Provide older students with learning experiences that go beyond acquisition of basic skills to foster critical thinking, curiosity, and social-emotional growth;
  • Build relationships that foster learning, e.g. mentoring, coaching, parent support;
  • Remove barriers to adult learning, e.g. college access, adult literacy, etc.

Safety Net Services

The safety net protects those who need the most help in our community. The Bruening Foundation understands that Safety Net Services help individuals and families meet their basic needs. Often times, these individuals and families are in crisis and require assistance to address their most immediate needs, as well as help to create a more long-term plan so as not to find themselves in crisis again.

The Bruening Foundation hopes to develop and maintain partnerships with organizations that:

  • Connect families to resources to address immediate/crisis needs and assist them to access long-term social service benefits (e.g ., child care subsidies, the Earned Income Tax Credit, health insurance and food stamps);
  • Address the needs of chronically homeless families by providing permanent housing with support services such as critical time intervention and time sensitive case management;
  • Assist families to access health care services, including prevention education;
  • Connect and prepare individuals for employment that leads to economic self-sufficiency, including providing assessment, training, placement, case management and financial education;
  • Provide wrap-around services to seniors to maintain their independence and/or their quality of life;
  • Provide employment and other specialized services to disabled persons.

2018 Responsive Grants

Learning

  • America SCORES Cleveland – $25,000 for after-school literacy and fitness programming in CMSD schools
  • Boys Hope Girls Hope – $100,000 for the capital campaign to expand the facilities
  • Case Western Reserve University – $15,000 for the CLE4SCI Collaborative for CMSD 8th-12th graders
  • Center for Arts-Inspired Learning – $13,800 for an arts-integrated early childhood program
  • Children’s Museum of Cleveland – $20,000 for the Museum for All program
  • Cleveland Public Theatre – $10,000 for Brick City after-school/summer arts programming
  • Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation – $10,000 for after-school programming for CMSD students
  • College Now Greater Cleveland- $35,000 to provide college access services for low-income adults
  • Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio- $10,000 for the YouLEAD program in CMSD
  • East Cleveland Neighborhood Center, Inc. – $12,000 to operate a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School literacy-based summer enrichment program
  • Facing History and Ourselves,Inc. – for the NEO Schools Network
  • Great Lakes Museum of Science Environment and Technology – $20,000 for the CLE4SCI Collaborative for CMSD 6th and 7th graders
  • Great Lakes Theater – $10,000 for the School Residency program for CMSD students
  • Hathaway Brown School – $15,000 for the Aspire program
  • Junior Achievement of Greater Cleveland – $12,000 for economic education programming for youth in out-of-school-time programs
  • Malachi Center – $15,000 for the after-school program
  • Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage – $10,000 for the Stop the Hate: Youth Sing Out, an interdisciplinary learning program for youth from four school districts
  • Minds Matter of Cleveland – $15,000 for academic and mentorship programming for low-income high school students
  • Near West Theatre – $15,000 for youth theatre programs
  • PRE4CLE – $75,000 to increase preschool enrollment and conduct program evaluation
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – $10,000 for the Toddler Rock program for Head Start preschools
  • Saint Ignatius High School – $10,000 for the Arrupe Summer program, a free academic and social enrichment program for youth
  • Scranton Road Ministries Community Development Corp. – $30,000 for the Youth Jobs Partnership
  • Seton Education Partners – $75,000 to implement the Seton Blended Learning model in two Cleveland Catholic Diocese schools

Safety Net

  • Beech Brook – $20,000 for the Family Drop-In Center
  • Catholic Charities Corporation – $25,000 to build capacity in the Immigration Legal Services program
  • CHN Housing Partners – $15,000 to provide a financial empowerment continuum for low-income families
  • Cleveland Sight Center – $10,000 for early intervention services for children with visual impairments
  • Cleveland Rape Crisis Center – $25,000 for the Childhood Sexual Trauma program
  • Greater Cleveland Food Bank – $40,000 for operating support
  • Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland – $15,000 for health programming for those receiving emergency food assistance
  • Legal Aid Society of Cleveland – $50,000 for the Housing Law program
  • Linking Employment, Abilities & Potential – $25,000 for employment services for individuals with disabilities
  • Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry – $15,000 to provide guardianship services for older adults
  • May Dugan Center – $20,000 for the trauma-informed education and workforce readiness program
  • MedWish International –  $10,000 for the Skill Building program, a workforce training program for individuals with disabilities
  • Medworks – $10,000 to expand dental services
  • Musical Theater Project –  $8,000 for arts education residencies for CMSD students with special education needs
  • St. Vincent Charity Medical Center – $25,000 to renovate Rosary Hall’s intake office
  • Spanish American Committee For A Better Community – $10,000 for the Families First program
  • Thea Bowman Center – $15,000 for benefits counseling and enrollment for low-income families
  • Towards Employment – $20,000 for job preparation, placement, retention and advancement services for individuals with criminal backgrounds
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland – $10,000 for the LeafBridge programming for children with disabilities
  • West Side Catholic Center – $30,000 to provide housing stability services for homeless families

Community-Wide Impact

  • Foundation Center-Cleveland – $5,000 for operating support