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Students allocate first round of Get More Opportunities Funds (Video)



More than 40 high school students from across the District recently learned what it is like to be a philanthropist when they approved 22 grant proposals seeking funding from the Get More Opportunities Fund.  

“It was always a goal of mine to have a voice in my community,” said Roberto, a 12th grader at Lincoln-West School of Science and Medicine.  

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $20 million-dollar to the District last fall. The CMSD School Board along with CEO Eric Gordon decided that students should be the ones to determine how the money is spent.   

“They are going to be able to give in ways that empower and transform individuals,” said CEO Eric Gordon. “They will be able to give lasting gifts that we would not otherwise be able to do.”  

Get More Opportunities Fund

At East Professional Center last Tuesday,  the students first received advice from two people who allocated funds for a living; Anthony Richardson, President of the Gund Foundation, and Margot Copeland, retired executive vice president of the  KeyBank Foundation and a current member of the board of directors of the Cleveland Foundation.  

“There are no bad grants, just tough decisions,” said Copeland. “My advice to the students is look at the grants that will be transformative and have long-standing value for years to come.”  

Get More Opportunities Fund

After receiving the professional philanthropic advice, the students broke into small groups to read and rank 93 grant proposals seeking a total of $5 million dollars. “Shark Tank” style funding pitches were used to determine which proposals would be funded. A total of nearly $400 thousand was awarded.  

The grants ranged from funding student travel to Washington, D.C., and Italy, paying for driving lessons for students who seek a driver’s license, to creating a program designed  to help teachers avoid burnout.  

Students said they found the experience rewarding.  

“The fact that I am changing lives is a dream come true,” said Stanley, a 12th grader at Cleveland School of Science and Medicine. “It feels good to help others.”  

CEO Gordon says students will allocate $400,000 in grant funding for 10 months over the course of the next five years. To apply for a grant, go to 

Here is a list of the initial funding allocations.  

Get More High-Quality Teachers $15,000.00  

Siamo di Cleveland $3,814.00  

Capitalize Learning in the Capital $15,000.00  

CS in the ESL (Classroom) $6,700.00  

This is a gift and a blessing $810.99  

Tools to Connect Differentiated Skills from the Community to Our School! $1,000.00  

Washington D.C. A Lifetime Keystone Experience $12,500.00  

Driver's License $455.75  

Driver's License $455.75  

Expanding our horizons at the Alamo $6,461.00  

Glad to be alive, now Let's drive! $500.00  

I Dezire Wheels $300.00  

Juniors and Seniors Get their STNA License!!! $6,000.00  

Max Hayes Fighting Blight $50,000.00  

Minds and Bodies Need to Hydrate $472.50  

Today's Opportunity for Gen Z! $480.00  

Academic Success with ESGI $246.00  

All the World Is a Stage! $250,000.00  

Assessments Made Easy with EGSI! $250.00  

Assessments Made Easy with ESGI $250.00  

Memorial Garden $1,000.00  

Space for P.A.C.E.! and so much more! $25,000.00  

How to be a philanthropist $126,000.00  

In addition to approving the 22 grants, the students also approved $126,000 for the “Get More, Give More: How to be a Philanthropist” program during the CMSD Summer Learning Experience.  

Students will be compensated for each day they attend. During the session, from June 26 -July 21, students will learn more about how to be a philanthropist from local experts, revise the distribution process for the Get More Opportunities Fund and make final decisions for the summer grant funding cycle.