My Thoughts Upon Foundation Center Midwest at Year 40

Cleveland is fortunate to be the location for Foundation Center’s Midwest Office. A substantial special collections library, computer center and meeting space are all under one roof in a central downtown location. There are also a number of foundation information network locations at community colleges, public libraries and non-profit offices in adjacent counties.

Not only do we enjoy easy access to Foundation Center’s rich collection of writing and data about philanthropy. Greater Clevelanders can attend classes, meet up with funders and receive individualized attention from experts at the Foundation Center Midwest facility.

I know this to be true not only from my perspective as a grantmaker with more than twenty years at the George Gund Foundation.  I was supported by Foundation Center in my earliest efforts seeking foundation grant support. 

As a curious high school student, I recall paging through Foundation Center material found on the shelves of the Euclid Public Library. Remembering Foundation Center a few years later when writing my first grant proposal for Euclid Community Concerns - a group of neighbors dedicated to bringing peaceful and sustainable racial integration to our community in the late 1970s - I made my way to Foundation Center’s library in downtown Cleveland. A kindly librarian was quite helpful in pointing me in the right direction towards a modest, yet successful proposal made jointly to the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundations.

I am confident that there are stories similar to mine from thousands of individuals – from the seasoned development professional to the first-time grant seeker -- finding encouragement and practical help from Foundation Center in Cleveland. In recent years, the Foundation Center has made great strides in expanding on-line access to Foundation Center’s extensive information resources to users across the globe. Yet, I think it remains equally important for the Center – as it looks thoughtfully into the future -- to maintain their invaluable human touch.

Foundation Center 40th-11-2

Robert Jaquay has been Associate Director of the George Gund Foundation since 1996. In 2004, Bob became the initial chair of the Foundation Center Cleveland’s newly formed Advisory Committee. He has held similar leadership positions over the years with Mission Investors Exchange, Neighborhood Funders Group and Philanthropy Ohio.