News & Announcements

$5 Million Gund Foundation Grant Supports Student Success at CSU

Gift will allow 120 Cleveland students to join university’s Living Learning Community

CLEVELAND (November 19, 2021) – A generous grant from The George Gund Foundation will provide 120 Say Yes Cleveland scholarship recipients from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) the opportunity to participate in Cleveland State University’s highly successful Living Learning Community.

“This is, by far, the largest gift from the Gund Foundation in CSU’s history and we are incredibly grateful to David Abbott and the Gund Foundation board of trustees for this transformational support,” said CSU president Harlan Sands.

The university’s program helps students succeed and ultimately graduate by providing a residential experience with academic support, graduation coaching, and other comprehensive wraparound services.

The Say Yes to Education Cleveland program, launched in 2019, guarantees postsecondary tuition scholarships to eligible CMSD graduates. The $5 million grant awarded to CSU in honor of retiring Gund Foundation president David Abbott addresses students’ other critical needs. The grant will support 30 students per year for four consecutive years covering the full cost of room and board for freshmen and sophomores, and 50 percent of room and board costs for juniors and seniors who continue to live on campus.

The Gund grant allows the university to build upon the success of its first Living Learning Community which was established with a generous commitment from Parker Hannifin in 2019. The success of the program is remarkable: 100 percent of the students in the first year of the program, and 97 percent of students in the second year, continued their studies at CSU.

“We know that CMSD students attending college do better when they live on campus, especially when surrounded by intensive academic support, mentorship, coaching, and wraparound services,” said David Abbott, president of the Gund Foundation. “We’ve been so impressed with the results of the Parker Hannifin Living Learning Community and its positive impact on CMSD graduates and felt we could enable many more students to benefit from a similar Living Learning Community.”

“Living Learning Communities at CSU work,” added Sands. “Students persist and ultimately graduate. We are thrilled to be part of this coalition with Say Yes Cleveland and The George Gund Foundation to ensure that CMSD students succeed and graduate from CSU.”


About Cleveland State University Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for Engaged Learning. With nearly 16,000 students, ten colleges and schools and more than 175 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2021 as one of America’s best universities by U.S. News & World Report, including the #1 public university in Ohio for social mobility. Find more information at