Cleveland Leads... sometimes it’s just nice to hear it from an outside source.
Monday night, at The Cleveland Foundation FRED Talk celebrating ten years of the Greater University Circle Initiative, Surdna Foundation President Philip Henderson talked about his “Rust Belt Tour” and what he found visiting Midwestern Cities. He spoke about the importance of anchor institutions, culture, and jobs in bringing neighborhoods back the way that University Circle has come back. Later, in a panel discussion with leaders from the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, and The Cleveland Foundation, moderator Paul Clark from PNC asked Philip Henderson how he saw Cleveland. His answer was short and to the point:
“Cleveland is a leader.”
Henderson expanded on that by noting that Cleveland’s initiatives supporting economic empowerment and community development are a source of ideas and innovation for the rest of the country—not just for the rust belt. The collaborative work of funders, cultural institution, health institutions, nonprofits, businesses, and residents in the University Circle area is innovation that Cleveland should point to with pride.
I was chatting with a staff member from another nonprofit comparing Cleveland with another city, and he said that one of the best things about Cleveland is that the residents don’t shy away from recognizing the problems that the city faces. I think that’s true, and it was especially true Monday night, particularly in the “FRED Thinks” discussion sessions coordinated by Neighborhood Connections. But I also think that Cleveland sometimes shies away from how great it might appear to the outside world.
So, "Cleveland Leads" is a happy thought for the end of the year, which I will try and keep in mind for all of 2016. This also goes along with my new title--which, though I thought it a little odd at first, may be the best reminder of why I love this city, its people, institutions and social sector.
I’m the new Cleveland Lead. I returned to Foundation Center to help coordinate trainings and services at the Cleveland Hub. Can't wait for 2016!
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Cleveland Lead, Foundation Center