Established in 1952, formation documents indicate the sole purpose of the George Gund Foundation is contributing to human well-being and the progress of society. How the foundation lives up to that lofty sentiment is shaped by a deep commitment to place. The foundation aims to help make Cleveland, Ohio more livable, competitive, sustainable, and just. The urban emphasis of its work stems from a belief that thriving cities are one of the nation’s best hopes for addressing essential problems. It feels a special obligation to support the voice of nonprofit advocacy in policy deliberations impacting the vulnerable populations it cares deeply about.
The foundation is placed-based in its focus, advancing the health and well-being of the Cleveland community. Cleveland is a city of close to 400,000 residents and the heart of a metropolitan region of well over 2 million. It is a region of contrasts: high poverty and high tech, world class health care and unacceptable infant mortality rates, tremendous natural resources highlighted by its Great Lake, and the residual negative impact of the Industrial Age.
Program Information: The Human Services grantmaking program emphasizes meeting basic needs (including health care) and promoting child and family stability. Current health-related priorities are investments in:
- policy advocacy advancing effective implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Ohio,
- Medicaid defense,
- protecting/expanding children’s behavioral health services, and
- access to comprehensive reproductive health services and education.
Total Assets: $528 million (FY 16)
Amount Dedicated to Health-Related Grants: $2.5 million (FY 16)
- Special Initiatives and/or Representative Health and Human Services Grants
New Venture Fund, Safety Net Defense Fund—The fund is a national pooled philanthropic fund designed to enable rapid deployment of resources in Washington, DC and targeted states in defense of the nation’s safety net programs, particularly Medicaid. ($200,000)
Center for Community Solutions, Rapid Response Fund—The fund is an Ohio-specific vehicle to provide practical, strategic, time-sensitive support to organizations employing analysis, advocacy, education, communications, legal, and organizing strategies in defense of key state and federal safety net policies and programs under current threat of reversal and/or disinvestment. ($250,000)
Philanthropy Ohio, Philanthropy Ohio Health Initiative—The initiative provides a venue for organized philanthropy to more effectively understand and influence health policy related to implementation of the ACA in Ohio. Preserving Medicaid expansion in Ohio is a top priority. ($35,000)
Magnolia Clubhouse—Funds aid the development and implementation of a sustainable Medicaid reimbursement strategy for the innovative Clubhouse model of treatment and rehabilitation for persons with severe mental illness. It comes in the context of ACA implementation coupled with state behavioral health policy and funding redesign. ($10,000 and $100,000)
Third Sector Capital Partners—Ongoing technical assistance to support Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s first-in-the-nation county-level Pay for Success social impact financing project focusing on providing a new model of evidence-based, cost effective behavioral health services to homeless mothers with children known to the child welfare system. ($65,000)
Role of Philanthropy in Meeting Pressing Needs
““In these times of unprecedented threat to the most basic American social safety net—particularly Medicaid—we feel a special obligation to challenge our risk tolerance and deploy every tool in the philanthropic toolbox in defense of essential services, particularly health care.”
David T. Abbott, President