The GEORGE GUND FOUNDATION was founded in Cleveland in 1952 by GEORGE GUND, president of Cleveland Trust (later AMERITRUST). Gund's personal estate was valued at $600 million, the largest in Cleveland's history. On his death (1966), the Gund Foundation received $40 million for education and the fine arts, bringing its assets to $83.5 million, second only to the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION. The Gund Foundation favors Cleveland projects but supports others nationally and in Ohio in education (especially for the disadvantaged), economic revitalization, human services (especially for women and children), the arts, ecology, and civic affairs. The fund does not grant to individuals or for buildings, endowments, equipment, or renovation.
Gund Foundation's grants to health and medical research are oriented toward community health, especially to those programs that impact the lives of children. The foundation also supports local AIDS prevention, education, and services, as well as projects that are linked to the creation of national policies on the disease. Reproductive health and Retinitis Pigmentosa (a genetic eye disease) are also central to the George Gund Foundation's mission. In addition, the foundation emphasizes projects that enhance both the ecology and the recreational use of Lake Erie and the CUYAHOGA RIVER, funding efforts such as the Cleveland North Coast Development Corporation.
In 2003 Gund Foundation assets were $454 million and the organization awarded more than $15 million in grants ranging from $1,000 to $2 million. In January 2003 David Abbott joined the foundation as executive director, replacing David Bergholz, who held the position since 1989. Many Gund family members serve on the board. In 2004 the foundation was located in the Guildhall Building at 45 Prospect Avenue West.