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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 Kathy Bakhshi at kbakhshi@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.

2019 Responsive Grants

Learning

  • 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
  • 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. – $20,000 for the Northeast Ohio Schools Network
  • Great Lakes Theater – $10,000 for the School Residency programming for CMSD students
  • Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth – $8,325 for creative writing residencies for CMSD high school students
  • Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage – $10,000 for Stop the Hate: Youth Sing Out, an interdisciplinary learning program for youth from four school districts
  • Musical Arts Association – $20,000 for Musical Neighborhoods, an early childhood learning and teacher training program
  • Near West Theatre – $15,000 for youth theater programs
  • Open Doors Academy – $20,000 for summer internship programming and career exploration for high school scholars
  • Progressive Arts Alliance – $10,000 to provide arts-integrated residencies in CMSD schools
  • Saint Ignatius High School – $12,000 for the Arrupe Summer program, a free academic and social-enrichment program for youth
  • The Musical Theater Project – $8,000 for arts education residencies for CMSD students with special needs
  • West Side Community House – $15,000 for arts and literacy programming for girls

Safety Net

  • Beech Brook – $25,000 for the Family Drop-In Center
  • Center for Employment Opportunities Cleveland – $25,000 for employment services for formerly incarcerated individuals
  • Cleveland Rape Crisis Center – $30,000 for counseling for child survivors of sexual trauma and their families
  • Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation – $20,000 for the Workforce Development program
  • Legal Aid Society – $75,000 to renovate and expand the facility
  • Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland – $100,000 for operating support
  • MedWish International – $10,000 for the Skill Building program, a workforce training program for individuals with disabilities
  • Vocational Guidance Services – $50,000 to repair building safety systems
  • West Side Catholic Center – $30,000 for housing stability services for homeless families
  • Fund for Our Economic Future – $300,000 (over 3 years) to support the Growth and Opportunity agenda