A preference for alleviating the roots of poverty permeates the Bruening Foundation's grantmaking. The Foundation has narrowed its responsive grantmaking focus to the categories of Learning and Safety Net Services, and the primary focus within these categories is programming that serves families with young children living in poverty. In addition, the Foundation plans to fund organizations within these program areas that implement best practices or evidence-based programming.



We hope to develop 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.


We hope to develop 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 which 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.


Eligibility/Geographical Boundaries

Grants are limited to tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations based within Cuyahoga County. 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.

Preferred Types of Grants

Requests for program, start-up or emergency operating and capital 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.


Multi-Year Grants

The great majority of grants awards are for one year, although grants for programs that have been documented to be effective may be renewed for several years in succession. The Foundation does not, however, make a permanent commitment of support to any project.

Occasionally, multi-year grants are awarded when a strong case for such support is made, usually for capital campaign awards and for start-up program support.

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 and Safety Net Services. LOIs should be emailed to Kara McCullough at kmccullough@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 found here.


Grants for Technology

Recognizing the benefits information technology can have in advancing the missions of the nonprofit organizations it supports, the Bruening Foundation has recently adopted a Technology Checklist to guide grantseekers who want to submit a technology-related grant request. Applicants should provide answers to the questions on this checklist in a separate document that must be included with any technology-related grant proposal.

Access Technology Checklist