Pulitzer Prize Winner Isabel Wilkerson to Deliver Keynote during Cleveland Foundation 2021 Annual Meeting Week Presented by KeyBank

Foundation to convene the community virtually for week of free events

Release Date: 7.29.21

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation announced today the schedule for its 2021 Annual Meeting Presented by KeyBank, with free virtual community events scheduled throughout the week of Aug. 23-28. The slate of programming kicks off Monday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. when Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson delivers the Robert D. Gries Keynote Lecture. Daniel Gray-Kontar, Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Twelve Literary Arts, will moderate the conversation with Wilkerson, who will be speaking about her book Caste and this country’s racial moment of truth.

On Tuesday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m., Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard will give his annual State of the Community address as the centerpiece event of the annual meeting week, presented with this year’s theme “It Starts with Community.” The program will also include a reflection on the past year and celebration of how the community came together for this pivotal moment in our shared history; the announcement of the Homer C. Wadsworth Award recipients for exceptional community leadership; and conversations about what’s next for Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland Foundation as we continue our work with community.

“The Cleveland Foundation’s Annual Meeting Week brings people from all backgrounds together for thoughtful dialogue that moves our community forward,” said Timothy Burke, KeyBank Northeast Ohio Market President. “We are honored and proud to support the important work the Cleveland Foundation does to enhance the lives of all residents of our region.”

The programming for the rest of the week will include virtual panel discussions on “Fostering Inclusive Economic Prosperity,” “Creating Pathways to Opportunity” and “Building and Sharing Power” before concluding with MidTown Inc.’s Cleveland Walls! festival community celebration Saturday, Aug. 28.

All events are free to attend, but registration is required. Full details and registration available at ClevelandFoundation.org/AnnualMeeting

2021 Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting Week Presented by KeyBank: It Starts with Community

Schedule of Events

Monday, Aug. 23: 7 p.m.

Robert D. Gries Virtual Keynote Lecture: Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, is the author of the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestsellers The Warmth of Other Suns, and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.

“Wilkerson’s work,” in the words of The American Prospect magazine, “is the missing puzzle piece of our country’s history.”

The Warmth of Other Suns won the National Book Critics Circle Award, among other honors, and was named to more than 30 Best of the Year lists, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker and The Washington Post. TIME Magazine named it one of the “10 Best Non-Fiction Books” of the decade. The New York Times Magazine named Warmth to its list of the best nonfiction books of all time.

Her new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, was published in August 2020 to critical acclaim and became a Number 1 New York Times bestseller. Dwight Garner of The New York Times called it, “An instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.” Oprah Winfrey chose it as her 2020 Summer/Fall book club selection, declaring it “the most important book” she had ever selected.

Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her deeply humane narrative writing while serving as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African American to win for individual reporting. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Wilkerson the National Humanities Medal for “championing the stories of an unsung history.”

As the historian Jill Lepore observed in The New Yorker: “What Wilkerson urges, isn’t argument at all; it’s compassion. Hush, and listen.”

Recording of this event is not permitted. For more information on this Speaker please visit prhspeakers.com.

Tuesday, Aug. 24: 4 p.m.

2021 Cleveland Foundation Annual Meeting presented by KeyBank: It Starts with Community

  • State of the Community: Ronn Richard, President & CEO, Cleveland Foundation
  • Homer C. Wadsworth Award
  • Panel conversation on the future of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland Foundation

Wednesday, Aug. 25: Noon

Fostering Inclusive Economic Prosperity

  • How might we help every person in our community find a job or access the support and resources needed to put a great idea into action? Learn how people and organizations are working to foster inclusive economic prosperity in Greater Cleveland in this conversation moderated by Keisha González, Cleveland Foundation Program Manager for Social Impact Investing and Community Development Initiatives.
    • Panelists:
      • Ricardo León, Executive Director, Metro West Community Development Organization
      • Jeremy Johnson, President & CEO, Assembly for the Arts
      • Karis Tzeng, Director of AsiaTown Initiatives, MidTown Inc.

Thursday, Aug. 26: Noon

Creating Pathways to Opportunity

  • How might we help every person in our community discover their interests and talents and make the most of them? What will it take to give every person the supports and resources they need to succeed in school and the workforce? Discover how people and organizations are creating local pathways to opportunity in a conversation moderated by Helen Williams, Cleveland Foundation Program Director for Education.
    • Panelists:
      • Bishara Addison, Director, Job Preparation, The Fund for Our Economic Future
      • Roberta Duarte, Project Manager, Core City: Cleveland, JumpStart Inc.
      • Michele Scott Taylor, Chief Program Officer, College Now

Friday, Aug. 27: Noon

Building and Sharing Power

  • How might we help every person in our community feel seen, heard and a sense of belonging? What will it take for more people to see themselves represented and reflected in the leadership of their community? How can we ensure more people have a say in the decisions that affect them? Find out how people and organizations are building and sharing power in Greater Cleveland in a conversation moderated by Nelson Beckford, Cleveland Foundation Program Director for Neighborhood Revitalization and Community Engagement.
    • Panelists:
      • Erika Anthony, Executive Director, Ohio Transformation Fund, and Co-Founder, Cleveland Votes
      • Keith Benford, Hough Youth Advisory Board
      • Michelle Tomallo, Board Member, Plexus LGBT & Allied Chamber of Commerce

Saturday, Aug. 28: All Day

Cleveland Walls!

  • More than 20 national and international artists will work with Northeast Ohio artists, MidTown Inc. and LAND studio to make over around 20 facades of buildings in MidTown and its surrounding neighborhood in a celebration of art, culture and community.

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