Karamu House received a $4 million challenge grant from the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation to support the remaining infrastructure and capital improvements to their campus in the Fairfax neighborhood of Cleveland. This investment will accelerate direct economic impact in the Fairfax neighborhood and will support Karamu’s ongoing pursuit of racial equity and inclusion for all members of the community through the arts.

The goal of Karamu’s capital improvement plan is to improve community mobility while supporting redevelopment in Fairfax. The Mandel Foundation’s challenge grant means the Foundation will match up to $4 million total, dollar for dollar, in additional donations collected now through the end of 2024. This grant will effectively double donations from other foundations, corporations, and donors.

Tony F. Sias, President and CEO of Karamu House stated, “It is with sincere gratitude that Karamu House accepts this incredible challenge grant for $4 million from the Mandel Foundation. This new partnership and collaboration will allow us to complete the infrastructure and capital improvements of Phase IV of our master plan. These enhancements include renovations in the Education and Administration Building, bringing construction of the main building to a close. We are elated knowing these funds and the new relationship will add to the bright future of Karamu.”

Originally founded in 1915, Karamu House is “a place of joyful gathering” where people from different races and backgrounds use the arts as a platform to educate, celebrate and activate cultural touchstones. Karamu contributes to the livability of Greater Cleveland by presenting high-quality theatre productions, educating students of all ages in dance, theatre, and vocal performance, and creating community through shared activities and celebration.

The Mandel Foundation strongly believes in supporting neighborhood and community development, as an expression of their commitment to just, inclusive, and democratic societies. “The Mandel Foundation’s commitment to Karamu House builds off of our previous neighborhood investments and our priority to provide access to education and the arts in Cleveland’s neighborhoods,” stated Jehuda Reinharz, President & CEO of the Mandel Foundation. “We believe that this investment will not only foster new investment in Karamu but will increase their capacity to serve the Fairfax community and beyond.”

“The Mandel Foundation’s award to Karamu signifies an important investment in the arts and humanities in Cleveland,” said Stephen H. Hoffman, Chairman of the Board of the Mandel Foundation. “With this challenge grant, Karamu House will be better positioned to boost their arts community and support Black artists and performers in Cleveland.”

“The Board of Trustees celebrate the Mandel Foundation in providing a $4 million challenge grant to ensure the future growth of Karamu House. The new and renovated structures will not only add to the growth and development of the Fairfax community but will also allow us to achieve our commitment to continued revitalization. This is another incredible example of the Foundation’s commitment to urban engagement and improving the quality of life for all citizens,” said Michael Jeans, Chair of Karamu’s Board of Trustees.

For more information about supporting Karamu House, visit karamuhouse.org/contributions.