The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation Awards $3.25 Million Grant to Cleveland Public Library

Adult man sitting in front of two computer monitors.

The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation has approved a $3.25 million grant to Cleveland Public Library for capacity building and the creation of a Digital Innovation Center for adults and seniors at the Library’s Glenville Branch, the neighborhood the Mandel brothers once called home. The Mandel Foundation gift is the largest contribution Cleveland Public Library has received in its 153-year history.

“We are pleased to partner with the Cleveland Public Library to provide this important asset to the residents of Glenville,” said Dr. Jehuda Reinharz, President & CEO of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. “The Glenville branch is in the heart of the community. Neighborhood residents will benefit from access to the latest technology and opportunities to develop skills for the jobs of the future.”

Glenville Branch of the Cleveland Public Library
Glenville Branch of Cleveland Public Library

Three million dollars of the grant will support the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Workforce and Senior Digital Innovation Center and $250,000 will build capacity at the Cleveland Public Library Foundation (CPL Foundation) by allowing the organization to add a fundraising position. The Mandel Foundation’s gift is part of a larger $7 million commitment the Cleveland Public Library is making to the Glenville Branch.  The grant marks the first leadership gift to the CPL Foundation’s capital enhancement fundraising initiative.

Developed in tandem with the Library’s 10-year facilities plan to transform its branch system, the initiative seeks to create distinct environments through site amenities that respond to the unique generational needs, culture, and spirit of the diverse communities each branch serves and extend the Library’s programming and services directly into the neighborhoods.

The Glenville Branch is scheduled to receive significant updates in technology, accessibility and extended services. This includes a digital lab for students and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Workforce and Senior Digital Innovation Center, a creative, collaborative, and educational space that provides access to advanced software, emerging technologies, STEM education, and workforce and career development opportunities for Glenville residents.

“We want to make it easier for all Cleveland residents to connect and learn the skills they need,” states Felton Thomas, Jr., Executive Director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library. “The generous gift from the Mandel Foundation expands our capacity and the scope of our plans for our Glenville campus. It is a unique opportunity to make real progress towards both digital literacy and digital equity in our community.”

Rendering of the Digital Innovation Center at Glenville
Rendering of the Digital Innovation Center at Glenville

The first site for Cleveland Public Library’s Glenville Branch opened in 1909 as a sub-branch in the Village of Glenville’s old town hall. Today’s Glenville Branch was planned in 1978 as a new building that combined the Glenville and Arlington branch libraries. Architect T.K. Zung, a native of Shanghai, China, designed the branch. Mr. Zung also designed the Intramural Sports Center for Cleveland State University. Construction on the Glenville Branch is expected to begin in late 2023 following community input on the design plans.

Cleveland Public Library offers free high-speed Wi-Fi at all of its branch locations, hotspots and Chromebooks for check out, and classes that cover basic computer skills to the latest apps. With a Cleveland Public Library card, patrons can access online learning platforms and over 100 research databases. The Mandel Workforce and Senior Digital Innovation Center will enhance the Library’s Glenville Branch building, creating a cutting-edge space for digital access to advanced software and emerging technologies, the first of its kind for Cleveland Public Library on the city’s east side.

Established in 2019, the CPL Foundation is the Library’s philanthropic partner, creating and funding programs that support the Library’s mission and demonstrate community impact within its branches and neighborhoods.