The Cleveland Foundation’s new headquarters. Photograph courtesy of the Cleveland Foundation.

Constance Hill-Johnson, Lillian A. Kuri, Pascale Sablan, Carol Malone and Carey Jaros

The world’s first community foundation and one of the largest in the nation, the Cleveland Foundation, hosted the grand opening of its new headquarters at 6601 Euclid Ave. on July 15. The event coincided with MidTown’s Opening Day neighborhood festival and block party, open to all.
Guests witnessed the official ribbon cutting with musical fanfare by a trio of brass musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra. Members of Cleveland City Council and the Foundation cut the ribbon as emcee Ahmaad Crump, on-court host of the Cleveland Cavaliers, gave the signal.
Cleveland Foundation’s retiring president and CEO of 20 years Ronald B. Richard said, “We’re planting seeds in Cleveland’s neighborhoods,” referring to the foundation’s move to MidTown Cleveland at E. 66th St. on the border of the Hough neighborhood. It marks the first time in nearly a century that it has a front door to the community.
The Foundation’s mission is to enhance the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland by working together with donors to build community endowment, address needs through grant-making, and provide leadership on key community issues.
Visitors toured the new three-story building, which shares the block with the historic Dunham Tavern Museum. The project was led by architectural teams S9 Architecture (NYC) and Vocon (Cleveland), with construction by Panzica and Regency. The first floor is dedicated to community space, as well as the Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell Exhibition Space. The second floor holds staff offices, and the third floor contains a boardroom and catering kitchen. The upper floors have access to an outdoor terrace.
Attendees enjoyed live dance and music performances in the first floor KeyBank Studio by the Tri-C Community Dance Mastery Program, Djapo Cultural Arts, Dancing Wheels, and Singing Angels. Guests could visit neighborhood organization booths, eat lunch in the new Susanna’s Cafe, and kids could participate in a bouncy house, outdoor roller skating rink, and bumper cars.
Susanna’s Cafe is named for the daughter of CEO Richard, and his wife Bess. This casual coffee and lunch spot is a part of the HELP Harvest program, a seed-to-table concept launched in 2022. The cafe is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Every piece of the HELP Harvest program includes paid vocational training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A one-year educational curriculum leads them on a path to employment. The program includes a 4000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse in Euclid, a Lakewood facility where produce grown in the greenhouse is used to prepare healthy packaged meals, and two HELP Harvest cafes – Susanna’s Cafe and The Bistro in Lakewood – which sell that food and other products to consumers. The organization serves 800 individuals per year in Northeast Ohio.
Lillian A. Kuri, who succeeds Richard as President and CEO, commented, “This [new building] is a manifestation of our values — everyone can see themselves as part of our foundation.”
Opening day visitors also entered raffles to win tickets to Cleveland’s favorite professional sports teams, including the Cavs, Guardians and Browns.
Future plans for the campus include the building of the MidTown Collaboration Center in the lot next door, which will house seven community partners, as well as two Black-owned businesses, and a music venue — scheduled to open in early 2025.