Spotlight Encore Cleveland: Legacy Leaders

Theodore Long, Jr. (L) with Tanya Reynolds of Sisters of Charity (R)

Launched in 2013 by the Cleveland Foundation, Encore Cleveland helps to connect and fund a network of organizations that provide experienced Greater Clevelanders an array of meaningful opportunities in the community upon retirement or near the end of their primary careers. In our “Spotlight Encore Cleveland” guest blog series, we go behind-the-scenes to explore programs offered through the Encore Cleveland network. In this guest blog, Lenora Inez Brown, Senior Fellow at the Cleveland Leadership Center, shares news about the launch of Cleveland Leadership Center’s Encore program.

Cleveland Leadership Center’s first success with the Encore program has been designing and launching a new offering: Legacy Leaders. Beginning in December 2018, we conducted focus groups, one-on-one meetings and visioning sessions that culminated in a May 2019 launch breakfast hosted by Thompson Hine LLC.

Puerto Rico Service (L to R): Maritza Rodriguez, Rick Bryan, Janet Pulis Garcia (FEMA), and Linda Kane

Since 2006, Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC) has educated, connected, inspired and engaged leaders from high school to C-suite to drive positive community change through six key programs, customized offerings and events such as the annual Accelerate: Citizens Make Change civic pitch competition, and Spark leadership symposium. The work is focused on our mission to build a continuum of civic leaders committed to our community’s excellence by serving as a catalyst for civic engagement.

Participating in the Cleveland Foundation’s Encore Cleveland program allows CLC to expand its programming to include those who have retired or begun to organize their days differently. Legacy Leaders provides individuals with opportunities to delve more deeply into civic activities and actively design their civic legacy footprint. The program works with proven Cleveland leaders looking for opportunities to connect with or create civic engagement projects that produce long-term change for people living in Northeast Ohio. We encourage Legacy Leaders to propose projects and we invite organizations to present opportunities that can propel our community forward.

Legacy Leaders activities are volunteer efforts focused on addressing concerns through strategic thinking and action. We encourage a team approach to better accommodate varied, busy schedules.

Projects fall into one of four focus areas:

  • Social Entrepreneurism: Working with social entrepreneurs or organizations who proposed projects through Accelerate, Cleveland Bridge Builders Leadership Action Projects, or the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland’s Innovation Mission Fellowships.
  • Puerto Rico Service: Building upon CLC’s post-hurricane Maria relief efforts, Legacy Leaders will lead service trips to Puerto Rico and work in Cleveland to support the Puerto Rican community here and on the island.
  • Senior Fellows for the Advanced Leadership Institute: Serving as Senior Fellows for this multi-generational civic leadership program.
  • Cleveland Forward: Creating and responding to submitted projects they believe will best serve Northeast Ohio’s future.

Projects within these four areas will address what CLC has identified as a guiding framework around which all its programs are designed: Civic Understanding, Relationship Building, Collaborative Leadership, and Civic Readiness.

The program is quickly creating community among the leaders themselves, identifying needs to address, and encouraging collaboration to lead change. We welcome those who have held top leadership roles in their organizations to join! Learn more online or  contact Lenora Inez Brown, (216) 456-8004 or