Justin and Andrean Horton
For Justin and Andrean Horton of Cleveland Heights, philanthropy takes many shapes.
“One way to be a philanthropist is to support organizations and missions that are important to you,” Andrean said. And sometimes, she says, philanthropy is deeply personal, and it takes lending a direct hand to shape a community for the better.
The couple is well known in the community for their corporate and charitable leadership. Andrean is executive vice president and chief legal officer & secretary for Myers Industries where she advises senior leadership on the legal intricacies of a variety of business transactions. Justin is a partner at the national financial planning firm Stratos Wealth Partners. In addition to building thriving careers, the two are jointly dedicated to creating opportunities for others to succeed by supporting education initiatives in Cleveland and beyond.
“I see so many young people that have innate qualities that they can’t bring to fruition because they haven’t learned to think critically and navigate our society,” said Justin, who also serves on the board for Breakthrough Charter Schools (BCS), the highest-performing network of free, public charter schools in Cleveland. By supporting schools like BCS and Justin’s alma mater, Morehouse College, the Hortons feel they can have a much broader impact by helping these organizations equip students for success in life.
Advancing African American philanthropy
For the Hortons, philanthropy is simply a natural extension of being a good neighbor. “There’s a sense of humanity, compassion and a desire to improve things,” Andrean said.
That drive leads them not only to devote their time, talent and treasure to worthy causes, but also to promote the overall visibility of African American philanthropy. Every two years, the Cleveland Foundation’s African American Philanthropy Committee (AAPC) organizes a philanthropy summit to honor and celebrate the impact of giving by African Americans. Justin has served as an AAPC member and past summit co-chair, and his volunteer work for the organization has deepened his connection to the wider giving community as well as cemented his confidence in the Cleveland Foundation as a philanthropic partner.
“The AAPC has been one of the most enjoyable organizations I’ve ever been involved with,” Justin said. “I love helping, and as a member, I’ve seen firsthand the care the team at the Cleveland Foundation provides to donors. It’s extremely helpful to have a charitable partner that can meet our needs and provide knowledge around local efforts that we are interested in supporting.”
This year’s summit theme, “Disrupting the Cultural Landscape Through Philanthropy,” is sure to spur thought-provoking conversations and help participants move closer to fulfilling their personal philanthropic vision, according to Justin.
“I love this year’s theme,” he says. “The play on ‘2020’ means there is clarity of vision. “Disrupting the cultural landscape through philanthropy is the way any of us can help make changes to our society.”
Celebrating a collective effort
The African American community has a strong philanthropic legacy, and Cleveland is counting on even more people to get involved.
“Philanthropists will have to play a role to help solve some of our region’s most pressing issues,” Andrean said. “Concentrated poverty, joblessness and poor educational options need our collective energy so we can move society forward.”
Keeping the contributions of African American philanthropists in the spotlight is key to building an even stronger charitable network across Greater Cleveland.
“Knowing history is important, and African American philanthropists aren’t always mentioned when the conversation is being had,” Andrean said. “Knowing the rich history of African American philanthropists may motivate others to give, but regardless, the stories of those that have shouldn’t be lost.”
Meet others with passion and creativity who are using their charitable dollars to create the change they want to see in the world. Learn more about the April 25 Cleveland Foundation African American Philanthropy Summit.