A year ago, I learned about and planned on attending the grand opening of the Cleveland Foundation's new headquarters building in 2023. I had learned that the building was going to be much more than the Foundation's home for their staff to work in -- it will also be a resource for the greater community to use! A new role in the community for the Foundation -- very exciting! I looked forward to the opening and to being part of the community celebration.
Next, in May 2023, it was announced that in addition to the new beginning with a new building, there would be a change in Cleveland Foundation professional leadership -- President & CEO Ronn Richard's retirement would lead to the installation of Lillian Kuri as the new leader of the Foundation on August 1, 2023.
Finally, as I attended the Cleveland Foundation 2023 Annual Meeting and open house/tour, I learned about more new beginnings -- a second building!!
In this blog post, I will share announcements that were made before the 2023 Annual Meeting and related festivities, and then write about my experiences at the following celebrations:
I learned about another reason to celebrate in the near future:
Excitement Was Building Before the Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting and New Headquarters Grand Opening!
Here are some of the announcements leading up to the 2023 Annual Meeting:
Big changes coming to Cleveland's MidTown neighborhood
WKYC Channel 3
. . . Oct 24, 2022
New development projects in Cleveland’s MidTown neighborhood are aiming to bring new energy, business, and housing opportunities to the neighborhood. On a tour organized by MidTown Cleveland on Monday, efforts in revitalization and growth were highlighted. . . .
Open New Doors With Us
The Cleveland Foundation is excited to join residents, nonprofit partners and community leaders as part of a larger movement of equitable growth and placekeeping efforts already underway across Cleveland’s MidTown and Hough neighborhoods.
After more than 100 years, it’s time to move out of an office building and into our community. Our move to MidTown represents an investment in Greater Cleveland’s neighborhoods and a fundamental change in the way we interact with you. Building our new home at the center of Cleveland’s core will connect us with the amazing work that is planned or already underway in the area, . . .
As a community foundation, our mission is to partner with our entire community, from nonprofit organizations to individuals and families, to enhance the quality of life for everyone who calls Greater Cleveland home. Now, as we look forward to joining and building relationships with new neighbors in Cleveland’s core city neighborhoods, we can’t wait to continue to serve the people and organizations in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties who made us the foundation we are today, the foundation we strive to be tomorrow and the foundation we can just imagine for the next century and beyond.
Learn more about the new building and the vision for how it will interact with its neighborhood on the following Cleveland Foundation web page:
Lillian Kuri named 10th Cleveland Foundation president & CEO
. . . May 1, 2023
We’re thrilled to share the news that the Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors has unanimously elected Lillian A. Kuri as the 10th president & CEO of the Cleveland Foundation, effective Aug. 1, 2023. She will succeed Ronn Richard, who will retire this summer after a 20-year tenure at the helm of the foundation.
“Lillian brings a proven track record and a sense of creativity to the way she looks at the work of the foundation and its role in the community,” said Constance Hill-Johnson, chairperson of the Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors. “She knows the city like the back of her hand and has an amazing ability to foster and build relationships – to really put people at ease. Furthermore, her heart is always in the right place, and we are confident in her ability to lead the foundation in service to the residents of Greater Cleveland.”
. . .
Over the last several years, Kuri has also played a key role in the foundation’s support for development in under-resourced neighborhoods to benefit longtime residents; economic and workforce development efforts; and environmental initiatives in historically red-lined communities. She also co-leads the foundation’s impact investing strategy, which now includes a portfolio of nearly $385 million in direct and indirect investments that deliver both a financial and social return.
Read about the unanimously elected 10th president & CEO, effective Aug. 1, 2023, in the following Cleveland Foundation news release:
Lillian Kuri named president & CEO by the Cleveland Foundation Board of Directors
May 1, 2023 by The Cleveland Foundation
Exciting news! @lilliankuri has been named our 10th president & CEO, succeeding Ronn Richard on Aug. 1. Read more @CleveFoundation: https://t.co/CWye7wr5gU #TCFNextCEOLillian #Philanthropy #CLE #CLEcommunity pic.twitter.com/spFFI2gRav— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) May 1, 2023
Cleveland Foundation Headquarters Celebration & 2023 Annual Meeting Presented by KeyBank
Opening Doors: Renewal, Reinvention & Responsibility
Join the Cleveland Foundation as we mark a year of extraordinary transitions, including the 2023 retirement of our 20-year president & CEO Ronn Richard, the recent announcement of our president & CEO-elect Lillian Kuri, and the grand opening of our new headquarters in MidTown. The Cleveland Foundation Headquarters Celebration & 2023 Annual Meeting Presented by KeyBank . . .
Food— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 12, 2023
You'll find it all at #MidTownOpeningDay THIS SATURDAY, July 15! Join us for the #CommunityCelebration around E. 66th Street and Euclid Avenue, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Check the schedule and plan your day at https://t.co/SEkU3bJAik pic.twitter.com/G6vff6t1MQ
Where to first? #MidTownOpeningDay is just days away & we’re so excited to celebrate with our new neighbors – join us & @midtowncleinc from 11a-6p THIS SATURDAY, July 15, for food, music, family activities & more!— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
Plan your day at https://t.co/SEkU3bJ2sM#CommunityCelebration pic.twitter.com/Vuxo8w9E8D
Thursday, July 13, 2023 - Annual Meeting Celebrating Community Service
I really enjoyed attending the 2023 Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting which was presented by KeyBank. Attending the program gave me a better sense of the scope of the Foundation's current work, and of how the new headquarters building will impact plans for the future.
Damian Goggans, Classical Guitarist and Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (CCGS) Alumnus
The main presentations of the Cleveland Foundation 2023 Annual Meeting were tucked in between performances by musicians and dancers who represented nonprofit arts organizations in Greater Cleveland. Opening was Damian Goggans, who is a classical guitar major at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He is an alumnus of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (CCGS) (@ClevelandGuitar), which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded on the belief that music can create positive social change. I was fortunate to talk to him and his grandmother later in the evening at the post-ceremony reception.
Please be sure to play the video above to hear some of Damian Goggans' performance.
The image above is from the July 18, 2023, Cleveland Classical Guitar Society Facebook post.
See more at: Facebook.com/ClevelandClassicalGuitar
Above is a video of some of the photos I took during the Cleveland Foundation 2023 Annual Meeting that show the following program highlights. I hope the photos will give you a sense of the splendor of the ceremony that honors the work of the Cleveland Foundation's service to our community.
Greeting by KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Chris Gorman
The Cleveland Foundation Headquarters Celebration & 2023 Annual Meeting was officially presented by KeyBank. KeyBank is one of four bank trustees for the Foundation.
In her role as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Lillian is leading the development of the foundation’s new strategic plan and the design execution, operations and community planning for the foundation’s move of its headquarters to MidTown/Hough, and she co-leads the foundation’s social impact investing strategy, a portfolio of investments including program related investments (PRIs) and recoverable grants.
Sally & Bob Gries Keynote Lecture -
Cleveland Foundation President & CEO-elect Lillian A. Kuri interviews Pascale Sablan, the architect of the Foundation's new building.
Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, is Associate Principal and co-leads the Adjaye Associates New York studio. In addition to leading community engagement and design efforts for architectural projects, she oversees operations and business development efforts within the studio. Since joining the firm in 2021, Pascale has played a pivotal role in the strategic development of the New York office with particular attention to community-serving projects, community engagement programming, and advocacy initiatives.
During the ceremony, Ronn Richard talked about the importance of his wife's support. His wife, Bess Rodriguez, joined him on stage, and was presented with flowers by Constance Hill-Johnson and Lillian A. Kuri. Here is a video about his 20 years of work:
Celebrating Ronald B. Richard's 20 years of leadership at the Cleveland Foundation
. . . Jul 25, 2023
After 20 years at the helm of the world's first community foundation, Ronald B. Richard retired as Cleveland Foundation President & CEO on July 31, 2023. Hear business and community leaders from across Northeast Ohio reflect on his two decades of leadership & community service.
Congratulations, Felton Thomas, Jr, the 2023 Homer C. Wadsworth Award Recipient!
Homer Wadsworth was executive director of the Cleveland Foundation from 1974 to 1983. He was known as an innovative, visionary, and energetic leader, overseeing the foundation’s work not only as a community grantmaker, but also as an educator, convener, and strategic investor. . . .
The Homer C. Wadsworth Award was established to recognize local leaders who reflect those qualities and demonstrate creativity, ingenuity, risk-taking, and good humor in a civic, volunteer, nonprofit, or public-sector role. It is presented each year at the Cleveland Foundation’s annual meeting. . . .
Felton Thomas, Jr.
Executive Director & CEO, Cleveland Public Library
As Director of Cleveland Public Library, Thomas has launched initiatives aimed at addressing community needs in the areas of access to technology, education, and economic development.
Director Thomas’ awards and accomplishments include being named a “Mover and Shaker” by the Library Journal and being named a White House Champion of Change for Making in 2016. Nationally, in 2015, Felton was elected as President-Elect of the Public Library Association (PLA), served as President in 2016. Felton is currently the Vice Chair of the Digital Public Library of America. He also serves as a trustee on the boards of FRONT International, University Circle Inc., Cleveland Museum of Art and United Way of Greater Cleveland.
Felton lives in Shaker Heights with his wife and has two college-aged daughters. He is an accomplished musician and has become a devoted Cleveland sports fan since his arrival on the shores of Lake Erie.
I was so excited and pleased to see Felton Thomas, Jr., receive the 2023 Homer C. Wadsworth Award, since I have always been impressed with the work of the Cleveland Public Library to bring technology and other educational opportunities to Clevelanders. I love the idea that the library is the “People’s University!!”
Did you know that Cleveland Public Library was the first library in Ohio to have a MakerSpace? Learn more by reading some of my 13 blog posts that I have written about Cleveland Public Library technology resources and special events I have attended:
Blog Date: July 19, 2023 - Exploring Our City's Past: Cleveland History Days 2023
Thank you, Cleveland Public Library, for the Cleveland History Days talk: “The Other Trails of Tears: The Removal of the Ohio Indians”
Blog Date: November 29, 2021 - Saturday Night Fun With Creatives -- Maker Faire Cleveland Showcase 2021!
Blog Date: December 8, 2019 - Cleveland Maker Faire 2019 and Cleveland Public Theatre "Día de Muertos"
Blog Date: November 18, 2018 - 2018 Cleveland Public Library Mini Maker Faire Brings Together Makers and Creatives
Blog Date: August 1, 2018 - FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art - Downtown Cleveland
FRONT International Triennial - Cleveland Public Library
Blog Date: April 10, 2018 - The Final Day of Cleveland Public Library's "Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton"
Blog Date: November 8, 2017 - Maximum Fun at Mini Maker Faire 2017 - Cleveland's 5th Annual!
Blog Date: May 17, 2017 - Fun Day! From The Flats to Uptown and Beyond!
Early Afternoon: Downtown Cleveland - Cleveland Public Library's "Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton – An Exhibit" Opening!
Blog Date: January 25, 2017 - Cleveland Public Library & NASA Glenn - Hidden Figures
Blog Date: November 15, 2016 - Cleveland Mini Maker Faire 2016
"We felt honored that the Executive Director/CEO of the Cleveland Public Library, Felton Thomas, Jr. (@feltonian), greeted us by name as we entered the library, and invited us to explore this special Maker event."
Blog Date: May 1, 2014 - 2014 Cleveland Mini Maker Faire
2014 was the year of the second Cleveland Mini Maker Faire, and it was huge!
Blog Date: February 13, 2014 - GCPCUG Field Trip: TechCentral MakerSpace
Blog Date: January 16, 2014 - Cleveland's TechCentral MakerSpace Grand Opening
I can't believe that this Cleveland MakerSpace has been providing tech resources in Cleveland for nine and a half years!!! Here is my video of Cleveland Public Library Executive Director & CEO Felton Thomas, Jr., at the grand opening:
January 11, 2014 - Cleveland Public Library TechCentral MakerSpace Grand Opening
. . . Jan 16, 2014
The January 11, 2014, grand opening of the new TechCentral MakerSpace at the Cleveland Public Library showcased some exciting technology. What makes the MakerSpace truly remarkable is that these resources are now accessible to anyone with a library card. This is the first MakerSpace at a library in Ohio.
Learn more on my blog post at:
In addition to my library blog posts, I also know Felton Thomas, Jr., from when we were on the same working team at the October 29-31, 2019, Cleveland Rising Summit (this links to my Cleveland Rising Summit overview blog post). Our team's objective for the three-day event was to brainstorm a plan to bring Internet access to all people in Cuyahoga County.
Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting Closing Entertainment
I recommend watching the above video in full screen mode.
Annual Meeting Reception
I heard the reception after the annual meeting described as "a great nonprofit sector reunion," and I agree with that statement. With social distancing in recent years due to COVID-19 safety requirements, this was one of the first big events I have attended since 2020. (FYI, my wife and co-blogger, Julie, and I wrote 27 social distancing blog posts in 2020 and 2021, so we did stay active while staying safe.)
In addition to reconnecting with people I have not talked to in person in years, I had the opportunity to meet some new people who represented organizations that interested me. I talked to some former Cleveland Young Professional Senate members who are now leaders within their organizations, fellow MNO grads (CWRU's Master of Nonprofit Organizations degree), a leader of the Great Lakes Science Center, and #Masks4Community 2020 leaders (mask distribution program for high risk individuals supported by the Cleveland Foundation and others through the Greater COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund). New people I talked to included a volunteer I often see at #MIXatCMA (monthly 21+ parties at the Cleveland Museum of Art), and I had the opportunity to thank a leader of Cleveland Public Theatre for the good times I had there and at Station Hope. Talking to all these great people who make a BIG difference in our community makes me want to do more to promote their good work.
Here are tweets that I saw that shared information about the Cleveland Foundation 2023 Annual Meeting:
If you're making your way to the @CleveFoundation Annual Meeting, pls be advised valet parking is almost full. Self-parking & shuttle service from Lot 46 is still available! pic.twitter.com/rFeKPnRpP9— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
If you're on your way to the @CleveFoundation Annual Meeting, please be advised: due to traffic conditions, we are delaying the start of the program.— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
“For two amazing decades, #CLE Fdn President & CEO Ronn Richard has led the foundation with integrity, courage & vision.”@CleveFoundation Chairperson @CRHillJohnson thanks Ronn Richard for his leadership.— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
A standing ovation for #CLE Fdn Pres & CEO Ronn Richard as he takes the stage at the @CleveFoundation Annual Meeting Presented by @keybank to deliver the State of the Community Address. pic.twitter.com/tDo6I2FQ58— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
“I can’t imagine a better person to lead the foundation into its next era.” Retiring @CleveFoundation President & CEO Ronn Richard introduces Pres & CEO-elect @lilliankuri at the #CLE Fdn Annual Meeting pic.twitter.com/GiQBCwR9AA— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
“I am convinced that by coming together through collaboration & cooperation, we will generate hope, inspiration & energy to achieve things previously thought unachievable.”#CLE Fdn Pres & CEO-elect @lilliankuri shares her vision for the world’s 1st community foundation— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
Congratulations @feltonian boss! Inspiring our community and creating opportunity never looked so good!— Tana Peckham (@MrsPeckham) July 14, 2023
Thank you— Felton Thomas (@feltonian) July 14, 2023
“Pascale is a trailblazer, and she has dedicated her career to making the built environment more equitable and just.”#CLE Fdn Pres & CEO-elect @lilliankuri welcomes Sally & Bob Gries Keynote Lecturer @PascaleSablan to the stage pic.twitter.com/asKedbRll1— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
“You can’t be what you don’t see.”— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 13, 2023
Sally & Bob Gries Keynote Lecturer @PascaleSablan discusses the power of representation & the mission of her nonprofit @BeyondTheBuilt @ the @CleveFoundation Annual Meeting Pres. by @keybank
More @PascaleSablan energy in Cleveland!— Lauren R. Welch (@MsLaurenRWelch) July 13, 2023
What an amazing lecture she gave for the @CleveFoundation Annual Meeting on building community, moving from a place of scarcity to abundance, and elevating diversity of thought in spaces. A timely reminder. pic.twitter.com/D1wInwRvRw
Rich wisdom from @PascaleSablan @CleveFoundation - loved this notion that you never know the big beautiful trees that will emerge from the seeds we plant and nurture. @lilliankuri pic.twitter.com/9veFJ3HMmc— Susan Berger (@SusanBerger123) July 13, 2023
Friday, July 14, 2023 - Cleveland City Club Meeting: Honoring Ronn Richard's History of Service
Ronn Richard Reflects on 20 Years at the Cleveland Foundation and Greater Cleveland’s Future
In January 2023, Ronn Richard announced his plans to retire from his role as president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation after 20 years at the helm of the world’s first community foundation. As Mr. Richard prepares to retire at the end of July, he will join Tony Richardson, President of The George Gund Foundation, in a conversation reflecting on his tenure at the Cleveland Foundation and his hopes for the future of Greater Cleveland.
Mr. Richard came to Cleveland to lead the foundation in 2003, following a career that spanned the public, private and nonprofit sectors. During his time at the foundation, Mr. Richard doubled the organization’s endowment and grew its annual grantmaking to record levels while overseeing transformative investments in public education, neighborhood development, arts and culture, advanced energy, leadership development, research and innovation, and more.
In this forum, Mr. Richard will share insights and lessons from his tenure at the Cleveland Foundation as well as his perspective on the role of community philanthropy in moving Greater Cleveland forward.
I was not able to attend The City Club meeting on July 14, 2023, celebrating Ronn Richard's 20 years of service. I am very grateful that The City Club has partnered with Ideastream Public Media, so that I was able to listen to Mr. Richard tell his story. Of all the videos I have included in the blog post, the following video is the one I recommend you be sure not to miss:
Ronn Richard Reflects on 20 Years at the Cleveland Foundation and Greater Cleveland’s Future
Ideastream Public Media
. . . July 14, 2023
In January 2023, Ronn Richard announced his plans to retire from his role as president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation after 20 years at the helm of the world’s first community foundation. As Mr. Richard prepares to retire at the end of July, he will join Tony Richardson, President of The George Gund Foundation, in a conversation reflecting on his tenure at the Cleveland Foundation and his hopes for the future of Greater Cleveland. In this forum, Mr. Richard will share insights and lessons from his tenure at the Cleveland Foundation as well as his perspective on the role of community philanthropy in moving Greater Cleveland forward.
This forum is presented in partnership with The Cleveland Foundation. Production and distribution of City Club forums in partnership with ideastream is generously provided by PNC and the United Black Fund.
• Ronn Richard
President & CEO, Cleveland Foundation
• Tony Richardson
President, The George Gund Foundation
Today at noon! Ronn Richard Reflects on 20 Years at the @CleveFoundation and Greater Cleveland’s Future— The City Club of CLE (@TheCityClub) July 14, 2023
He'll be in conversation with Tony Richardson, President, @GundFoundation
Watch live at the link
Text questions to 330-541-5794https://t.co/Gs1os5JIKO
Beaming with pride as the boss joins @CleveFoundation’s Ronn Richard at @TheCityClub. Ronn began with his reflections on childhood and the power of public education. No better place to start if you ask me! pic.twitter.com/1zJ8hiaBpx— Emily Lundgard (@elundgard) July 14, 2023
A 2nd standing ovation in as many days for @CleveFoundation Pres & CEO Ronn Richard at today's @TheCityClub forum!— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 14, 2023
Richard will retire at the end of the month after 20 years at the helm of the #CLE Fdn, passing the torch to CEO-elect @lilliankuri pic.twitter.com/aJcucmx0IL
A big thank you to today's community partner, @LegalAidCLE.— The City Club of CLE (@TheCityClub) July 14, 2023
During The City Club of Cleveland's July 14, 2023, meeting a BIG announcement was made -- read all the details in:
The City Club of Cleveland Receives Major Gift from the Cleveland Foundation
Friday, July 14, 2023, by City Club Staff (@TheCityClub)
As we kick off today's forum with Ronn Richard, we are thrilled to announce the @CleveFoundation's $1 million total investment to support the buildout of our new home at @PSQDistrict.— The City Club of CLE (@TheCityClub) July 14, 2023
We are so grateful for their support in making our future home a #CityClub for all.
During Ronn Richard's tenure, we have worked together to launch important community conversations around climate, elections, civic engagement, journalism, and democracy. We look forward to continuing the conversation, thanks to @CleveFoundation's support.— The City Club of CLE (@TheCityClub) July 14, 2023
I have written several blog posts about The City Club, which you can view here.
Preparing for the big day! #MidTownOpeningDay
Setting the stage for #MidTownOpeningDay tomorrow, July 15! Food, music, family fun & more starting at 11 a.m.!— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 14, 2023
Check the schedule & plan your day: https://t.co/SEkU3bJ2sM#MidTown#CommunityCelebration#ClevelandFoundation@MidTownCleInc pic.twitter.com/DrULRrVlUl
Saturday, July 15, 2023 - New Headquarters Opening Dedication
Two ways to learn more about us: Tours of the new Cleveland Foundation HQ and "What is the Cleveland Foundation?" information sessions . . .
As a part of the grand opening of the new Cleveland Foundation Headquarters, we are offering opportunities to tour and learn more about your community foundation. Reserve your ticket for a tour or info session . . .
About MidTown Opening Day
The Cleveland Foundation is thrilled to partner with MidTown Cleveland, Inc. to host MidTown Opening Day Neighborhood Festival & Block Party on Saturday, July 15! The all-day, free event centers around E. 66th Street and Euclid Avenue at a block party and five other activity hubs around the neighborhood.
Live music, free food, family fun and more! We’re so excited to celebrate with our new neighbors in MidTown at MidTown Opening Day on July 15! Join us and our partners 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. for the festivities around E. 66th Street and Euclid Avenue.
Check out the full schedule for the day here: https://midtowncleveland.org/openingday/
NEIGHBORHOOD HUB 1
6601 EUCLID AVENUE
11:00 – 11:45 AM
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
12:15 – 6:00 PM
Performances on the MidTown Opening Day Main Stage
presented by KeyBank
12:30 – 4:00 PM
(45 min - sign up required)
12:30 – 4:00 PM
Complex Structures Exhibition: Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell Exhibition Space
1:00 PM & 3:00 PM
“What is the Cleveland Foundation?” in the African American Philanthropy Committee Conference Room
(45 min - sign up required)
Cleveland Foundation officially opens in the city's MidTown district
Posted at 4:27 PM, Jul 15, 2023, and last updated 4:27 PM, Jul 15, 2023, by Remi Murrey, News 5 Cleveland Reporter
I arrived early for the Cleveland Foundation Headquarters Opening Dedication to look around before the crowds arrived. I rode my bike from the designated event parking at the Dealer Tire Garage to the new Cleveland Foundation building at 6601 Euclid Avenue. My original plan for the day was to bike ride to the other venues that were open for the MidTown Opening Day events (Children's Museum of Cleveland, MAGNET, ClevelandPublic Library Hough Branch, Leo's Casino Heritage Site, Dunham Tavern), but threatening rain made me change my plans. It ended up being a good decision to just explore the new Cleveland Foundation site, since there was so much to see and do in the new building.
As I was waiting for the ribbon cutting ceremony, I read the MidTown Opening Day Passport (2.8MB PDF File), which I have attached for you to read here. It includes the schedule for the day and a map with details about the different venues.
Click On Image To Open Passport In New Browser Window
In the MidTown Opening Day Passport, I read about the Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell Exhibition Space in the new Cleveland Foundation building. I then saw Fred Bidwell, and thanked him for supporting art in the new buiding. Fred Bidwell is on the Board Of Directors of the Cleveland Foundation, having been appointed to the position in 2020. I know Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell from visiting their home twice for FRONT International kick-off events. In addition to blogging about FRONT International, I have blogged about their Transformer Station project, that is in partnersnip with the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Here is a great Cleveland Foundation video about the creation of FRONT Triennial, the positive effect of Transformer Station on its neighborhood, and about the new Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell Exhibition Space:
Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell
. . . May 5, 2023 In the Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell Exhibition Space at the Cleveland Foundation, exhibitions are created, curated and informed by community members. The Bidwells have always been “art boosters.” Proud of what they have achieved together, the couple has found inspiration in helping artists and creatives pursue careers. They love having a collection, but they say the greatest reward is the relationships they build with the artists themselves.
After reading about the new building, I was even more excited to go inside, but first the ribbon cutting! Here is a video I created from photos and videos I took of the opening ribbon cutting:
Here are a Cleveland Magazine article and tweets about the opening:
First Look: Cleveland Foundation Headquarters Officially Opens Today
8:30 AM EST, July 15, 2023, by Dillon Stewart, Cleveland Magazine
First Look: @CleveFoundation Celebrates the Grand Opening of Its New MidTown HQ— Cleveland Magazine (@ClevelandMag) July 15, 2023
Peek inside and learn more about its future plans to connect University Circle and Downtown. https://t.co/oD17AJf3s5 pic.twitter.com/oHMv2XLmfw
#GoodMorningCleveland! We're counting down to the official ribbon cutting of the @CleveFoundation HQ & the kick-off of #MidTownOpeningDay!— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 15, 2023
Festivities start at 11am - check the full schedule & plan your day:https://t.co/SEkU3bJ2sM#ClevelandFoundation#CommunityCelebration pic.twitter.com/35NdrBnpQ9
Join us TODAY at MidTown Opening Day located by @CleveFoundation and get work ready! Towards Employment and other community partners will be on-site to support your career pathway journey. See you there! pic.twitter.com/473ySlEeTD— Towards Employment (@TowardsEmploy) July 15, 2023
"This building was designed to build relationships." @CleveFoundation President & CEO-elect @lilliankuri shares the vision of the foundation's new #MidTown home at #MidTownOpeningDay!#CommunityCelebration pic.twitter.com/ebKw0lMeG0— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 15, 2023
Festivities are underway as Da Land Brass Band opens the #MidTownOpeningDay Main Stage Presented by @keybank!— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 15, 2023
Join us at East 66th & Euclid for music, food & fun! Check out the schedule at https://t.co/SEkU3bJ2sM pic.twitter.com/rm9pVYpJT7
Come out to @MidTownCleInc's Opening Day today for some community excitement. We're out at Magnet (1800 E 63rd St.) with a bike rodeo spreading the joys of two-wheeled fun until 3pm. Check out the full opening day schedule at https://t.co/JweaHxDDuu@CleveFoundation @UHhospitals pic.twitter.com/jtMTajftad— Bike Cleveland (@Bike_CLE) July 15, 2023
Festivities are in full-swing at East 66th & Euclid at #MidTownOpeningDay! More performances & fun to come! See what's up next: https://t.co/SEkU3bJ2sM#MidTown#CommunityCelebration#ClevelandFoundation pic.twitter.com/TZGy2hhHPc— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 15, 2023
#JOY Today @lilliankuri said that the new @CleveFoundation HQ is a “manifestation of their values.” Those words and this investment speak volumes to me and @pepcleveland - thrilled to have such wonderful new neighbors! #hope #purpose pic.twitter.com/Rnw6IOTcCt— Susan Berger (@SusanBerger123) July 16, 2023
This is such a great video !!! Thank you— lillian kuri (@lilliankuri) July 16, 2023
Trustee ribbon cutting duties today for our Grand Opening Celebration!— besupercreative (@delaniewest) July 16, 2023
Join us in celebrating the @CleveFoundation Cleveland Foundation and The Help Foundation Susanna’s Café! grand opening.
Thanks to @GovMikeDeWine for stopping in pic.twitter.com/VuVNClFnCS
Thank you to our main stage sponsor @keybank and to all our partners, performers, vendors & neighbors who made #MidTownOpeningDay such a success! #MidTown#CommunityCelebration#ClevelandFoundation pic.twitter.com/PBdEDgK3tg— Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation) July 16, 2023
Still buzzing with #JOY. @CleveFoundation new headquarters celebration brought out all the good feelings and @citybobbrown and I loved being in the company of friends like @stephaniehowse pic.twitter.com/qOzgMJEDz2— Susan Berger (@SusanBerger123) July 17, 2023
Great to see you.— Stephanie Howse (@stephaniehowse) July 17, 2023
We had so much fun celebrating the opening of the new @CleveFoundation headquarters in MidTown this weekend!— Teaching Cleveland (@teachCLE) July 17, 2023
Be sure to stop by and enjoy the work and stories of neighbors — and what home means to them.#teachcle #teachingcleveland #clecommunity pic.twitter.com/SyPyBegiNE
Saturday, July 15, 2023 - Exploring the New Cleveland Foundation Headquarters
A New Home for the Community’s Foundation
. . .
The Vision – Creating a Welcoming Space by the Community, for the Community
Centered around a vibrant, welcoming and expanded community green space and the historic Dunham Tavern Museum, the area surrounding our new home will bring together people who live, work, learn, create, innovate and enjoy their free time in the neighborhood. . . . a welcoming destination for all Greater Clevelanders as well as a unifying link between two of the city’s existing civic and cultural centers: Downtown Cleveland and University Circle. Join us.
. . .
- An interactive art space showcasing the work of local artists and creators through rotating displays.
- A public café serving food and beverage options that will be operated by a local, mission-driven organization or entrepreneur who is committed to social impact.
Additional spaces will be available by reservation for nonprofit or community use, including:
- The Steven A. Minter Conference Center featuring multiple free meeting spaces available for nonprofits to use throughout the week.
- Additional ground-floor conference rooms for meetings and gatherings.
- A multipurpose room for community events, classes, performances and other activities.
Reading the description above of this new, welcoming space set the expectation high for the new building to be a place of and for the community. After going on the tour, I can say that it did not disappoint!
Thank you to Cleveland Foundation Program Director for Education Helen Williams, who led the tour group of which I was a part. She did a great job of sharing the vision of how the space will be used, not only for Foundation staff to get their work done, but also to welcome and engage the community. I can only recommend that you take a tour of the building to see for yourself.
As you watch the video below, that I created about the tour, please note the following:
Books hanging from the ceiling highlighting winners of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Go to the Anisfield-Wolf.org website to learn about how the "Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. . . . The Cleveland Foundation, the world’s first community foundation, has administered the Anisfield-Wolf prize since 1963"
The Barbara Haas Rawson Community Stair is an incredible unique open area!
Rooftop patio with chairs and tables. Looks like a great place to enjoy lunch with a view on a summer day.
Office areas are very open.
All-wood-beam construction -- gives the building a warm feeling.
Art gallery with photography in a main area on the first floor.
One of the people in the photos is Dr. Yvonne Pointer. I remembered her name from when she was honored when I was working on the Greater Cleveland YWCA's Women of Achievement Awards event in 1996.She "Is the founder of Positive Plus, a support group for women who have lost children through violence, and co-founder of Parents Against Child Killing."
Neighborhood Connections offices on the main floor -- their mission is "To ignite the power of everyday people to create, together, an extraordinary world right where they live."
In the lobby on the north wall is a huge computer monitor that was showing interesting information about the Foundation. Some of the items shown included QR codes that took you to eight YouTube videos about Cleveland Foundation Named Space Tributes -- here is a list of the headquarters projects with links to the individual videos, followed by a YouTube playlist of all eight videos:
Steven A. Minter Conference Center - The conference rooms in the center will be available free of charge to community groups.
Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell Exhibition Space - I already embedded this video above, since I know of the Bidwells' work to bring more art to Northeast Ohio.
Sally and Bob Gries Center for Philanthropy - During the tour, it was interesting to learn the approximate rate of return for one's investment when one donates to the Cleveland Foundation to benefit local nonprofit organizations. For more general information, see the Cleveland Foundation Center for Philanthropy web page or contact the Foundation's Advancement hotline at 877-554-5054 for more detailed information.
"The Barbara Haas Rawson Community Stair is an expansive meeting place for staff and guests of the foundation to convene and collaborate on bold ideas." I hope you noted the large area which is the "community stair" in my video of the tour above. Very interesting space!!
NOTE: The following is a Cleveland Foundation YouTube playlist. You can either watch all eight videos, or use the "next" button to go to the video(s) you want to watch:
Cleveland Foundation Named Space Tributes
. . . . Last updated on May 30, 2023
The Cleveland Foundation headquarters project was made possible by generations of caring Clevelanders.
Saturday, July 15, 2023 - Celebratory Performances for the KeyBank Dance and Arts Studio
Experience the magic of live music & community! Join us for an unforgettable line-up of captivating performances and youth groups on the main stage and additional performances inside the KeyBank Studio.
CLEVELAND FOUNDATION HQ
KeyBank Studio for Arts & Community
12:15 - 12:30 p.m. Dancing Wheels
1:00 - 1:15 p.m. Fatima Family Center
1:25 - 1:35 p.m. North Collinwood Thundercats All Star Cheerleaders
2:30 - 3:00 p.m. Djapo Cultural Arts
3:15 - 3:45 p.m. Singing Angels
This was one of those days when I wished I could clone myself so that I could be in several places at once. While on the building tour, I missed the first three performances. It is great that there was so much happening at this opening event. I am sorry that I missed Dancing Wheels' performance -- I had met their President/Founding Artistic Director, Mary Verdi-Fletcher, when she was honored by the YWCA Great Cleveland as a Women of Achievement award recipient in 1999, and again at IngenuityFest 2015, when it took place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. I am grateful for the following that was shared on Twitter by the Cleveland Foundation:
The two performances that I did attend were by groups with which I was very familiar:
Djapo Cultural Arts Institute
. . .
Djapo is a Wolof word meaning “come together.” Community Dance & Drum is one of many components to Djapo Cultural Arts Institute founded by Talise A. Campbell, Artistic Director. The main focus is to bring individuals from various backgrounds together to learn about their similarities and differences through traditional dance and music.
In preserving traditional dance and music throughout Africa and the Diaspora, our goal is to educate, enrich, and motivate individuals to create positive images of family and self while incorporating valuable experiences that promote healthy lifestyles and community healing through stage performances, workshops, communal gatherings, international travel, and cultural exposure.
What a glorious way to open the Cleveland Foundation's new community dance studio -- with a Djapo Cultural Arts Institute drum and dance performance! My wife, Julie, and I have enjoyed their performances at Cleveland Public Theatre’s Station Hope and at the Cleveland Museum of Art several times over the years.
Julie and I have written blog posts about Djapo Cultural Arts Institute's dancing and drum performance at Cleveland Museum of Art’s #MIXatCMA and about the talk given by their Founder and Artistic Director, Talise A. Campbell, at PechaKucha Night Cleveland:
Blog Date: June 10, 2018 - From African Dance to Bluegrass Music
MIX at CMA - So joyful and exuberant!!!
Blog Date: October 7, 2018 - PechaKucha Night Cleveland Volume 32 at Sachsenheim Hall
Presenter #4: Talise Campbell (@CDA_D) - Djapo Cultural Arts (@djapoarts)
I hope the following video that I made of Djapo Cultural Arts Institute's performance at the Cleveland Foundation Grand Opening will give you a taste of what their live performance is like. Be sure to watch the video in FULL screen mode! I am sure you will agree with my wife's description of their dancing as "joyful and exuberant!"
I recommend watching the above video in full screen mode.
The Singing Angels
. . .
Since 1964, The Singing Angels have pursued the mission of encouraging, fostering, and cultivating positive youth development by engaging youth from all communities in quality music and performing arts education that teaches discipline, builds confidence, and provides a foundation for life. Founder Bill Boehm believed in the power of music to bring people together to do amazing things, and his vision continues today.
The Singing Angels consists of three performing choruses that do dozens of concerts each year locally, nationally, and internationally, entertaining audiences in venues from nursing homes to audiences with popes and presidents.
It was great to see The Singing Angels perform at the Cleveland Foundation Headquarters Grand Opening! Since 1964, they have been goodwill ambassadors for Cleveland around the world. Their singing is a great way to open the Cleveland Foundation’s new community dance studio and performance space!
My Grandfather, Curtis Lee Smith, was a very active board member of The Singing Angels (I think in the 1970s or earlier). My wife, Julie, and I remember them singing at my grandfather's 90th birthday celebration. Another family connection is that my son, Kevin, has a good friend who used to be a member when she was younger. After their performance, I talked to one of the current board members of The Singing Angels, and they remember my grandfather from when they were a youth member. If you search for "Singing Angels" in my past blog posts, you will see their performances mentioned a several times.
Here is my video of The Singing Angels' performance:
It is great that KeyBank supported this new studio for arts and community in the neighborhood!
THE FUTURE! - Another New Building To Come!!!
MidTown Collaboration Center
During the tour of the Cleveland Foundation's new headquarters, Program Director for Education Helen Williams pointed to the lot next door, and told us of the new MidTown Collaboration Center. There was already a groundbreaking in May 2023, and construction is happening now. I had not heard of this new building, and I was excited to learn from her about the new organizations that would be occupying it! It looks like another new building celebration will need to be planned soon!! I look forward to seeing the new space and learning more about the services that will be provided.
In addition to what I learned from Helen Williams on the tour, I learned the following on the Foundation's website:
MidTown Collaboration Center
. . .
Positioned to bridge Cleveland’s thriving downtown business center with its University Circle academic hub, the project is halfway between two of Cleveland’s most important nodes of activity. It aims to bring together multiple sectors, companies and disciplines under one roof and is a new model for a “both and” approach to economic development that centers around community. The 95,000-square-foot project builds upon the momentum of the adjacent Cleveland Foundation headquarters and aims to be both regionally significant and locally transformative.
A catalytic center of activity
At the corner of E. 66th Street and Euclid Avenue, the project is located in the heart of the Health-Tech Corridor – Cleveland’s prime location for biomedical, healthcare and technology companies . . .
Pathways to opportunity and economic prosperity
This building will house approximately 200 direct full-time jobs. Multiple anchor institutions are bringing new innovative programs that will create jobs, focus on community and position this district as the place in the region to collaborate. . . .
Building tenants include:
CWRU’s Center for Population Health Research
UH’s new Diabetes Research and Wellness Center
CIA’s new Interactive Media Lab
Hyland Software Training Center
Innovation Hall and music venue
ECDI – SBA Lending Center and Women’s Business Center
Black Frog Brewery (Cleveland’s only Black-owned brewery)
Pearl’s Kitchen restaurant
I look forward to learning more as the ClevelandFoundation.org/MidTown web page is updated, and I hope to attend the MidTown Collaboration Center opening when it occurs. There is a slideshow on the web page that I found interesting, especially if you zoom in to see more details. It is good to zoom in to see who attended the project’s May 2023 groundbreaking ceremony, and to look closely at the maps and floor plans. I recommend you go to the web page yourself and zoom in to take a look, but for future reference for when the slideshow is removed, I included a video of what I viewed here:
I recommend watching the above video in full screen mode.
When Helen Williams mentioned that one of the places in the new building will be a Hyland Software Training Center, it brought great memories of the evening tech Meetups and all-day tech conferences that I attended at Hyland's Westlake, Ohio, location. It will be exciting to have this additional resource of a Hyland Software Training Center now in Cleveland.
In addition to the tech meetings at Hyland, it is important that I mention that Hyland Software hosted Cleveland GiveCamp in 2022 and 2023 -- thank you, Hyland!! Cleveland GiveCamp is a GREAT resource for FREE websites and other tech solutions for Cleveland and Akron area nonprofits -- please ask all nonprofit leaders to share knowledge of this great resource with their peers. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Cleveland Foundation staff I worked with over the years who learned about Cleveland GiveCamp so that this information could be passed on to local nonprofits.
If you want to learn more about how tech professionals can volunteer, or how nonprofits can apply to get a new website or other tech solution, please go to the website below and read my blog posts:
Cleveland GiveCamp Blog Posts
I have attended every Cleveland GiveCamp since its first year in 2010 through 2022, and served on the Steering Committee from 2011 through 2022.
Related Blog Posts
I always like ending my blog posts with links to related blog posts, but there are so many that relate to this one, that I decided to just suggest these blog subject tags. I am very fortunate to be able to attend so many great venues and activities that are supported by the Cleveland Foundation and other organizations I mention in these blog posts:
I am always grateful for all that is happening in our community, and I plan to continue writing in this blog about my experiences as I continue to explore and enjoy local events and venues.