GEORGE GUND FOUNDATION AWARDS ADDITIONAL $5 MILLION GRANT TO SUPPORT ‘REINVENTION’ OF CLEVELAND’S PUBLIC SQUARE

Northern event lawn will be known as Gund Foundation Green 

CLEVELAND – July 24, 2014 – As momentum builds for the dramatic redesign and revitalization of Cleveland’s iconic Public Square, the George Gund Foundation board of directors has approved a
$5 million grant for LAND studio to support the historic effort, which is being led by the Group Plan Commission. To honor the Foundation’s generous gift, the northern event lawn will be known as the Gund Foundation Green. 

The grant will provide continuing funding for the Group Plan Commission, which has engaged the renowned landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations to “reinvent” Public Square as a welcoming, active, energetic and sustainable public park that connects people and place.  Today’s grant is in addition to a $500,000 grant from the Foundation in 2012 that funded early design work and enabled broad community input for the project. 

“The George Gund Foundation is very proud to have been a strong and early supporter of this exciting project and the collaborative process that has shaped the community-focused vision behind it,” said David T. Abbott, executive director.  “This additional grant will now help to accelerate implementation of that vision.” 

Mayor Frank Jackson said, “We appreciate the Gund family and their foundation for stepping forward with this significant grant. Through their longstanding and continuing support, they are helping to reshape our city in ways that will benefit Clevelanders for generations to come.” 

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said, “Along with businesses, the philanthropic community is an essential partner in leveraging the public sector investment that will revitalize downtown and link it to our lakefront. We greatly appreciate the Gund Foundation’s ongoing support of this great initiative.”

Anthony J. Coyne, Group Plan Commission chairman, added, “Years from now, Clevelanders will look at catalytic projects like this as defining moments in our city’s rich legacy. This is a tremendous opportunity to do something truly exciting and world-class.” 

The $30 million Public Square project is part of an even broader effort that includes enhancing the malls and linking Lake Erie to the city’s core. For more information about the Group Plan Commission and its projects, visit www.groupplan.org.

About the George Gund Foundation

The George Gund Foundation was established in 1952 by George Gund, former chairman of the Cleveland Trust Company.  The Foundation funds programs that enhance our understanding of the physical and social environment in which we live and increase our ability to cope with its changing requirements.  Grants are made three times a year in the areas of education, human services, economic and community development, environment and arts.  Foundation commitments to date have totaled more than $635 million.

About the Group Plan Commission

The Group Plan Commission was assembled in 2013 to update and build upon Cleveland’s Group Plan of 1903, the iconic vision that helped shape the heart of downtown Cleveland more than a century ago.  Taking action to complete the recommendations made in 2011 by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s initial Group Plan Commission, today’s Group Plan will complete projects to transform and connect the city’s signature public spaces. The Group Plan is focused on three priority projects: redesigning and revitalizing Public Square, enhancing the downtown malls, and creating an iconic pedestrian connection between downtown and the lakefront. Working with partners like the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and LAND studio, the Group Plan will combine public, private and philanthropic resources to complete these projects, complement the $3 billion in development in Cleveland’s downtown core since 2010, spur an additional wave of transformational development, and renew the heart of Downtown Cleveland for today’s Clevelanders and future generations. For more information, visit www.groupplan.org.

About LAND studio

LAND studio (Landscape, Art, Neighborhoods, Development) was formed in 2011 through the merger of Cleveland Public Art and ParkWorks, two of Cleveland's leading non-profit organizations focused on enhancing public spaces. LAND studio's mission is to create places and connect people through public art, sustainable building and design, collaborative planning, and dynamic programming. To learn more about LAND studio, visit www.land-studio.org.

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