Community Foundation Equity & Access Initiative

Belonging Excellence Program with University of Toledo Foundation Project
Artisha Lawson

Submitted by Sarah Ronau
Greater Toledo Community Foundation
Director, Marketing & Communications

The Greater Toledo Community Foundation (GTCF)’s Equity & Access Initiative has invested $485,390 in four rounds of Equity & Access Initiative grants. This initiative was launched in August 2020 as a proactive response to address concerns raised by communities that are disproportionately impacted by inequity and lack of access in the Greater Toledo region.

“The Equity & Access Initiative was launched in 2020 in response to inequalities laid bare by Mr. George Floyd’s murder,” said Pariss Coleman III Esq., Equity & Access Advisory Committee Chairman. “At that time, many corporations and other entities published statements of support for those with needs. Rather than make statements, the Foundation wanted to do something. The Foundation wanted to create opportunities to improve equity and access to funding opportunities for people and entities doing good work, but needing equitable access to funding opportunities not only at the Foundation, but at other foundations. Not only short term, but long term.”

GTCF invites community nonprofits that are proactively and collaboratively addressing advocacy, economic development or employment or even seeking funding to support nonprofit capacity to consider applying for the grant. The Equity & Access Initiative 2024 deadline is July 2, 2024.

“Our hope is that by coming together, we can offer solutions to our community challenges in creative and inclusive ways,” noted Keith Burwell, president of Greater Toledo Community Foundation. “We will continue to hold ourselves accountable to help heal and connect our community. And we will continue to work with others to build a livable, equitable and just community, where everyone feels safe.”

The grant has awarded grants to 22 local nonprofits and the majority of the applicants operate under an annual operational budget of $100,000 and fewer than five permanent staff. Applicants can submit a solo applicant request for $15,000 or a collaborative application request for $25,000. Local nonprofits can begin the application by visiting the GTCF website and search for the initiative on the grants page, and follow-up questions can be sent to Artisha Lawson at 419-250-5239 or

“This initiative prioritizes smaller permanent staffed, grassroot approach and collaborative applications,” said Artisha Lawson, GTCF program officer. “Nonprofits that have questions about the application questions, the review process or even the four focus area can call the office and speak with me.”

The Initiative has awarded grants to these local nonprofits: JumpStart, Inc. (collaboration partner Economic and Community Development Institute), Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Inc. collaboration partners Issue Box Theatre, Toledo Opera and University of Toledo School of Social Justice, La Conexion, GreaterGenerations in collaboration with CityPark League Resource Group, Inc., Women of Toledo, Wilbur A. Williams Community Life and Technology Center, EqualityToledo, Inc., Believe Center., Inc., Midstory, St. Martin de Porres Parish in collaboration with Community RE Investment Coalition Englewood SW and Robinson Community HUB, Reinvest Toledo, Hope’s Landing, The University Church in collaboration with Rogers high school HUB, The Movement Team Lucas County in collaboration with Lucas County Children’s Services, National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Club Maumee Bay Club in collaboration with National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. Beta Gamma Chapter, New Leaf Group, Inc., New Life Church of God in Christ, Toledo Urban Youth Sports League, and Toledo Elite Student Athletics, Families for Fitness, Inc.,The Program, Inc., collaboration partner Junior Achievement, Ivy Entrepreneur Institute, Inc., and Poohs Kidz Coats.

Greater Toledo Community Foundation is a public charitable organization created by citizens of our community to enrich the quality of life for individuals and families in our area. In existence since 1973, the Foundation has more than 900 funds with assets of approximately $435 million. The Foundation provides philanthropic services for individuals, families, businesses and corporations to meet their charitable giving needs. For more information about Greater Toledo Community Foundation, visit

The Movement Team Lucas County Project Graduation