As part of my training as a new Cleveland Foundation employee I watched a video of former CEO Steve Minter sharing his perspectives and highlights of the history of the foundation.
I knew that Cleveland had the oldest community foundation (95 years old this year), and one of the nation’s largest. Aside from those foundation facts, I did not have a good grasp of its history. As I learned more, I became more interested. My history teacher grandfather would be so proud.
I’ve lived in Cleveland since 1997 and had only learned bits and pieces about its history. Minter helped add to the big picture with insights into, for example, the Playhouse Square collaborative rescue in the 1980’s or Cleveland’s place as the eighth largest city back in 1969. Fascinating stuff. Check out Diana Tittle’s great book Rebuilding Cleveland for more history. I will be investigating some other documents (he mentioned the Cleveland Papers and surveys from 1923 as compelling reads) and may blog on those at a later date.
During his presentation, Steve Minter shared four adjectives to describe the Cleveland Foundation: permanent, evolving, hopeful, and fallible.
- Permanent – in that the funds have generally been established and will generate dollars for giving in perpetuity;
- Evolving – the foundation has changed over time, and will continue to change;
- Hopeful – without being blind to challenges, but knowing that times have been bad in the past, and Cleveland made it though;
- Fallible – we try our best but don’t always get everything right. Although I’ve paraphrased his words – the sentiments behind them resonated with me.
I’ve heard a number of other adjectives used to describe both the Cleveland Foundation and Cleveland itself. Personally, I remain tremendously hopeful – there’s just too much great stuff happening in and around Cleveland not to be in my opinion. My contributions to this group blog and the foundation will certainly be evolving, hopeful, and fallible – we’ll see what other adjectives emerge over time.