Inspiring Leadership: Celebrating 102 years

On June 8, we celebrated 102 years of commitment to our community at the Cleveland Foundation 2016 Annual Meeting presented by KeyBank. Donors, board members, civic leaders, community partners and Greater Cleveland residents joined us at the State Theatre to celebrate inspiring leadership, the theme of this year’s annual meeting. Here are a few highlights from the afternoon:

Stellar performances by local students

The annual meeting program opened and closed with beautiful performances by students from Cleveland School of the Arts. The meeting began with a jazz performance of “Birdland,” and closed with an energetic dance performance through the aisles and onto the stage of the State Theatre.

A conversation on the state of our community

Our President & CEO Ronn Richard spoke with Dee Perry, senior host and producer of The Sound of Applause on 90.3 WCPN, about the foundation’s work over the past year and priorities for the future. Their discussion ranged in topic from education reform and equitable access to arts and culture programs, to community health issues and Greater Cleveland’s advanced energy economy. Though our community faces many challenges, we’re optimistic about our ability to expand Greater Cleveland’s renaissance to every neighborhood by working with our donors and collaborating with our partners in the public, private and philanthropic sectors.

Honoring a leader in our field

Each year, we honor a local leader who has demonstrated creativity, innovation, risk-taking and good humor in a civic, volunteer, nonprofit or public sector role with the Homer C. Wadsworth Award. This year, the award was given to Jim Rokakis, vice president of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and director of the Thriving Communities Institute, for the leading role he has played in the reinvention of dozens of neighborhoods across Northeast Ohio and in the redevelopment of downtown Cleveland. Jim’s work will surely have a lasting impact on our region for future generations.

Recognizing one family’s remarkable generosity

We were thrilled to announce the John C. and Sally S. Morley Philanthropic Fund, a new supporting organization of the Cleveland Foundation established by the Morley family: John, Sally and their six sons. Their philanthropic leadership and commitment to our community is truly inspiring! Hear directly from John Morley about their decision to establish their supporting organization:

Lessons from our nation’s leaders

Presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin delivered the Robert D. Gries Keynote Lecture at this year’s meeting. She captivated the crowd with personal stories from her time spent at the White House and shared some of her favorite discoveries and lessons from the diaries and letters of presidents like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. As our country prepares for the presidential election in November and Greater Cleveland gears up to host the Republican National Convention this summer, Kearns Goodwin’s insightful commentary on the leadership of past presidents was a welcome perspective.   

Each year, we look forward to our annual meeting as an opportunity to convene and celebrate the people who drive the foundation’s work. Thank you to everyone who joined us, and all who were there in spirit. We’re proud to work with so many inspiring leaders every day of the year.


  1. Chris Hrivnak

    Thanks for having me at the Annual Meeting.

  2. Caroljean Gates

    Thank you for keeping Cleveland informed with up to date facts and figures about everything that is important to a thriving, vibrant community like ours. I always enjoy the Blog and am inspired to create our own for all things reentry. In the words of the Honorable Judge David Matia, “If Offenders are not successful when they come home, those of us at home won’t be Safe.”

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