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George Gund Foundation grant to create Living Learning Community for Say Yes recipients at CSU




The George Gund Foundation has awarded $5 million to create a Living Learning Community for Say Yes scholarship recipients who graduate from CMSD and then live on campus at Cleveland State University .

Students who are part of the Living Learning Community will receive payment of full room and board expenses for the first two years and half of those expenses for the next two years. The grant will cover expenses for four cohorts of 30 students each. 

The students also will get intensive academic support, leadership training, mentoring, graduation coaching, comprehensive wraparound services and experiential learning.

In 2019, Parker Hannifin donated $5 million to create a Living Learning Community for CMSD graduates enrolling at CSU.

The Gund Foundation also will contribute $1.5 million to the Say Yes Cleveland Scholarship Fund. Trustees awarded the grants in honor of retiring foundation President Dave Abbott.

“There are few organizations as critical to the existence of Say Yes Cleveland as The George Gund Foundation and few people as integral to our work as Dave Abbott," said Diane Downing, executive director of Say Yes Cleveland.

Say Yes Cleveland, which was started in 2019, provides tuition scholarships to graduates of CMSD and eligible charter high schools. Say Yes also organizes support services that aid families and keep students on track to high school graduation.

The scholarships pay up to the full value of tuition, minus federal and state aid, at all public colleges, universities and Pell-eligible training programs in Ohio and more than 100 private colleges and universities across the country. Recipients must be continuously enrolled in a CMSD or eligible charter high school and live in the District or city of Cleveland from ninth grade until graduation.

Say Yes Cleveland has raised $94.5 million of its $125 million goal.

The Gund Foundation board approved more than $31 million in grants at its November meeting. Among the other grants was $1 million to aid development of MAGNET’s Manufacturing Innovation, Technology and Job Center, to be housed in the former Margaret Ireland School in the Midtown neighborhood.

The Cleveland Board of Education voted last year to sell the building to MAGNET, which stands for Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network.

The nonprofit's plans call for renovating the building for a new headquarters and prototype lab. CMSD will lease back part of the 80,000-square-foot building for career education and training. 

CMSD already works closely with MAGNET to introduce students to manufacturing.

Now the District and MAGNET are developing field experiences, as well as a career tech program in advanced manufacturing. Elementary and high school students who visit MAGNET’S new workforce and innovation hub will experience hands-on simulations of manufacturing and learn about advanced manufacturing tools.

For more details on the Gund Foundation’s most recent grants, go to