Cleveland Colectivo Awards $10,000 Grant in Celebration of Ten Years of Giving

The Cleveland Colectivo, a Cleveland-based giving circle whose members make contributions to innovative projects in Cleveland, celebrated ten years of collective giving in 2015. The Cleveland Colectivo gave away over $115,000 between 2005 and 2014, through nearly sixty small grants. To celebrate the organization’s tenth year of giving, the Colectivo invited all prior grant recipients to share a big idea that a $10,000 gift could help catalyze.

Out of a strong pool of exciting ideas, Colectivo members selected Fresh Camp to receive this year’s $10,000 gift in support of its urban gardening/hip hop program.

Fresh Camp provides a free arts and cultural camp in Glenville. The program includes both summer and year-round mentoring programs that train students to tend gardens and produce hip-hop songs. Through Fresh Camp, youth engage in growing food, eating healthy, and speaking out against violence all while making music. Students learn how to produce digital music, record and write lyrics, and then they share their message through public performances. Doc Harrill, founder of Fresh Camp, describes how the Colectivo grant will be used: “Cleveland Colectivo…funding (supports) our sustainable growth as we launch our Fresh Camp clothing line that will fund our paid summer internships for advanced students as well as help us take the Fresh Camp to other neighborhoods.”

“The Fresh Camp started as a neighborhood summer camp in Glenville (and) has grown into a year-round youth leadership institute that exists to cultivate youth voice and neighborhood health through…hip-hop-in-action projects…Cleveland Colectivo is a generous, grass-roots community (that is) making a difference by connecting Clevelanders and generously funding people and projects to make an impact. They have made a HUGE difference in the growth of our mission as well as many others in Cleveland."
- Doc Harrill, aka Dee Jay Doc, founder of the Fresh Camp

Other finalists in the Colectivo process included:

  • Cleveland Print Room’s Project Snapshot: Cleveland Print Room requested funding for “Project Snapshot,” a pilot program whose goal is to teach students about visual literacy and the history of photography in the context of making their own work and then exhibiting it.
  • FromFat2FITion: The wild-card finalist was FromFat2FITion, a video series aimed at helping youth with healthy eating and leading a healthy lifestyle The videos would be posted online and presented in an entertaining and engaging manner.
  • Near West Intergenerational School (NWIS): Near West Intergenerational School, a high performing charter school on Cleveland’s West Side, requested funding to offer affordable indoor recreational and social activities during the winter months for kids in Ohio City and the adjacent neighborhoods. In addition to normal school functions, NWIS seeks to provide recreational and social activities for people across a wide range of economic, racial, and social classes.
  • Ohio City Bicycle Co-op (OCBC): OCBC provides a shared workspace for DIY bike repair. They requested funding for additional bike benches in their shop to help build the concept of a community space that would attract and inspire people of all backgrounds to learn how to maintain and repair their own bicycles. This request fits with their broader mission – to “help people use bicycles” – and inspired their tenets of respect, resourcefulness, and reciprocity.
  • Talespinner Children’s Theatre (TCT): TCT requested funding to support their outreach touring program as it enters its fourth year of operation. TCT is always striving to increase community access their programming. Building on its already active Friday morning matinees for school groups, TCT’s outreach touring program takes special original travelling productions to schools, libraries, or anywhere children can enjoy professional theatre.

The Cleveland Colectivo was formed in January of 2005. Unlike traditional foundations, the group employs a giving circle model with no formal executive director or board of trustees and very limited overhead. Decisions are made by consensus and membership is open. Voting members contribute at least $100 per quarter ($400/year). International Partners in Mission serves as the fiscal agent to the group.