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Keybank Foundation announces largest gift in its history to revitalize Public Square


CLEVELAND – September 30, 2014 – The KeyBank Foundation announced today that it has awarded a $4 million grant to The Group Plan Commission for the reconstruction of Public Square. The grant adds to the momentum of a project that is critical for downtown’s redevelopment.

The grant is the first corporate donation to the Group Plan and is a historic commitment from the KeyBank Foundation. The gift is more than double any previous grant made by the Foundation, which is marking its 45th year of serving the Greater Cleveland Community.

“The redevelopment of Public Square will be one of the most significant projects in the city’s history, and we are proud to be able to play a part in making it happen,” said KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney. “It will provide the kind of public space that acts as a magnet for residents and visitors. Years from now, Clevelanders will regard this project as one of the essential elements in the city’s revitalization.”

Tony Coyne, chairman of The Group Plan Commission, announced that in recognition of the grant’s significance, the new walkway that will ring Public Square will be called the KeyBank Promenade.

“This is a historic moment in the revitalization of the heart of Cleveland,” Coyne said. “It is only fitting that a prominent feature of Public Square will bear the KeyBank name.”

KeyBank’s gift also fulfills the requirements for a $1 million challenge grant from The Cleveland Foundation.

“KeyBank’s generosity triggers the additional Cleveland Foundation gift and brings us within reach of the level of funding needed to move forward with construction this fall,” said Coyne.  “We’re confident that this gift will give us the momentum we need to bring the project to life.”

Mayor Frank Jackson praised KeyBank for its philanthropic and corporate leadership.

“The City of Cleveland is fortunate to have great companies like KeyBank, which has a long history of providing critical support to important local projects and organizations,” Jackson said. “This will give every Clevelander the world-class public space they deserve and will be a great emblem for the City when the GOP attracts the world’s attention here in 2016.” 

County Executive Ed FitzGerald said the effort to improve this valuable public space will accelerate Cleveland’s revitalization.

“KeyBank is once again playing a lead role in the public-private partnerships that fuel our progress,” he said. “We’ve made great strides in recent years and revitalizing the heart of downtown will create a legacy for generations.” 

The KeyBank grant is an example of the power of philanthropy to impact the community, said Margot James Copeland, chair and CEO of KeyBank Foundation.

“It is a privilege for the KeyBank Foundation to mark 45 years of serving the Greater Cleveland community by supporting this historic project with the largest gift in our history,” Copeland said. “As we approach our 50th anniversary, we will look to make additional strategic gifts that serve our community in a significant way.”

Maintenance and programming of the revitalized Public Square is a priority of The Group Plan Commission. The $4 million grant includes $500,000 for the long-term maintenance of Public Square.

Supported by a significant public sector commitment, The Group Plan Commission also has been securing philanthropic and private sector resources to complete a set of projects that will transform Cleveland’s public spaces.


The organization has received significant commitments from other philanthropic organizations for the $32 million Public Square project. The Cleveland Foundation donated $8 million, $1 million of which was the challenge grant. The Gund Foundation donated $5 million, and the Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust has pledged $ 1 million.


The City of Cleveland has also redirected tax increment financing from the former Higbee Building, bringing in up to $9 million for the project.

The commission has partnered with world-renowned landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) to redesign Public Square. 


KeyBank: Marylee Gotch, (216) 471-2880,

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