Sustainable Cleveland 2016 Summit

Ronn Richard at the Sustainability Summit

Earlier this month, we were thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of Sustainable Cleveland’s 2016 Sustainability Summit. Our CEO Ronn Richard spoke at the event (pictured above), and it was great to see so many people gathered who share a passion for preserving and protecting our city’s future.

For more than a century, we’ve worked to enhance the lives of all Greater Clevelanders. We know that a healthy environment lays the foundation for all the other measures of a good life.

In the last decade, we’ve granted more than $35 million dollars across a range of environmental causes, from water quality and land protection to advanced energy and environmental policy.

In this Year of Sustainable Transportation, here are just a few examples of our work to help Greater Clevelanders explore and enjoy our region:

  • If you haven’t already had the chance, test out the new Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail, which we supported through a partnership with the Trust for Public Land, Cleveland Metroparks, and LAND Studio. When it’s complete, the trail will wind from Scranton Peninsula to the West Bank of the Flats, all the way to Whiskey Island right at Lake Erie. It will also be the first-ever trail to link a lakefront and a national park.
  • This May, we supported Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art’s new Nord Family Greenway, an urban landscape project to add walkable green space to Rockefeller Park, restore local streams, and better connect residents of Greater University Circle neighborhoods to the area’s economic and cultural resources.
  • We hope you’ve been able to visit the new and improved Public Square, including the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Plaza. We granted $8 million dollars in 2014 to rebuild this community gem, so that more people can enjoy green space, outdoor performances, and recreation.
  • We supported the Western Reserve Land Conservancy in their work to restore Cleveland’s tree canopy with new plantings and map out all properties in the city of Cleveland to better understand the potential of blighted neighborhoods.
  • We also helped plan and fund the renovation and relocation of new RTA stations in University Circle and Little Italy to fill key gaps in public transit so more people can commute to their destinations.
  • And this year, we supported Bike Cleveland’s effort to implement a large-scale bike sharing program for the city of Cleveland. We’ve also supported their research to make bike sharing more equitable, so people can take advantage of bikes even if they don’t have a credit card or smart phone.

All of these have turned out to be great investments.

Another big priority for us is the protection of Lake Erie. Our lake has tremendous value, not only as the source of our drinking water and an outlet for recreation, but as a huge economic driver for our region. And now, Lake Erie will establish Cleveland as a leader in the advanced energy economy.

We helped create and work with Lake Erie Energy Development Co, or LEEDCo, to build the first-ever offshore freshwater wind energy project in the United States, right on Lake Erie.

In May, the Department of Energy awarded LEEDCo a $47 million dollar grant to make this happen. We hope to have new turbines spinning and creating clean, renewable energy by 2019. Just as we’re celebrating 10 years of the Sustainable Cleveland initiative, we will also be able to usher in a sustainable energy economy.