Cleveland Foundation 2017 Annual Meeting presented by KeyBank highlights Organizational Fund Partner Appreciation Week

JumpStart partnership, Homer C. Wadsworth Award are spotlighted as part of evening’s festivities

Release Date: 5.10.2017

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation 2017 Annual Meeting presented by KeyBank served as the marquee event of the inaugural Cleveland Foundation Organizational Fund Partner Appreciation Week. In addition to the Robert D. Gries Keynote Lecture by AOL co-founder Steve Case and a community reception following the annual meeting, the ceremony at the State Theatre included the presentation of the 2017 Homer C. Wadsworth Award and the announcement of a significant new organizational fund partnership.

Scheduled from May 7-13, Organizational Fund Partner Appreciation Week recognizes more than 170 Greater Cleveland nonprofits that have embraced the strategy of building a community endowment by partnering with the foundation to establish organizational funds that support their long-term mission, enhance Northeast Ohio’s nonprofit landscape and present numerous giving opportunities for caring donors. As part of the annual meeting, the Cleveland Foundation announced that JumpStart, a Cleveland-based nonprofit, has partnered with the foundation to establish a new organizational philanthropic fund. The JumpStart Future Fund will support JumpStart priorities and philanthropic initiatives that unlock the full potential of diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs to economically transform our community.

“We chose the Cleveland Foundation to administer this new fund because of their unwavering commitment to our community and their long-standing mission to enhance the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland,” said Ray Leach, JumpStart CEO. “Since JumpStart’s founding, the Cleveland Foundation has been one of our most trusted partners, and we can think of no better organization to help us accelerate philanthropic support that will create jobs by supporting entrepreneurial and economic growth throughout our community.”

An important piece of the JumpStart Future Fund will be the focus on transformational initiatives that will extend the economic benefits of entrepreneurship and small business growth to all communities – not just those who are currently connected to the venture capital ecosystem. Throughout the next several months, JumpStart will be working with the Cleveland Foundation to finalize all details related to the priorities of this new philanthropic fund which will support important initiatives that advance our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“On our biggest night of the year, it is wonderful to be able to announce JumpStart as our new organizational philanthropic fund partner,” said Ronn Richard, Cleveland Foundation president & CEO. “This type of long-term investment by JumpStart is crucial to sustained economic growth in our region. We applaud JumpStart’s vision of catalyzing even more opportunities for entrepreneurs and residents in Greater Cleveland.”  

The Cleveland Foundation also recognized Phyllis Seven Harris, executive director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland, with its 2017 Homer C. Wadsworth Award. The award is given annually to a local leader who has demonstrated creativity, innovation, risk-taking and good humor in a civic, volunteer, nonprofit or public sector role.

Harris’ devotion to community service has spanned more than two decades. The Cleveland native was most recently named executive director of the LGBT Community Center in the spring of 2012, the first African-American to hold the position in the 40-year history of the organization. During her tenure, the Center spearheaded equitable access to the 2014 Gay Games, mobilized a local response to the nightclub shooting in Orlando and helped support the community-driven inaugural Pride in the CLE march. In addition, Harris cultivated an anonymous $1.8 million donation to help construct the Center’s forthcoming new home in the Gordon Square Arts District.

Harris previously worked at Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio, where she oversaw youth engagement programming. She has served as director of education and advocacy with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, was vice president of programs and interim CEO with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland and capital campaign director at the Cleveland Sight Center. 

“Phyllis’ courage, passion and ability to rally the Greater Cleveland community exemplify the qualities that defined Homer Wadsworth,” said India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation senior vice president, program. “She has spent the past 20 years fighting for equality and working to improve people’s lives throughout the region. We are forever grateful for her bold leadership and her tireless devotion to furthering the LGBT movement that will resonate for years to come.”

Harris received the 2015 Leadership Award from Human Rights Campaign Cleveland and in 2016 she was awarded a Nonprofit Leadership Award from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. She holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Case and a bachelor’s degree from Baldwin Wallace College.

Homer C. Wadsworth was executive director of the Cleveland Foundation from 1974 to 1983. He was known as a man of creativity, courage, commitment and innovation. Prior to his death in 1994, Wadsworth’s friends and family established the Homer C. Wadsworth Award to identify and honor those in the community who best reflect those qualities. Recent recipients have included: Vickie Eaton Johnson, who was then director of Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation; Art Falco, president and CEO of Playhouse Square; Steven Standley, chief administrative officer of University Hospitals of Cleveland; John Zitzner, president of Friends of Breakthrough Schools; and Jim Rokakis, vice president of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and director of Thriving Communities Institute.

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Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.13 billion and 2016 grants of $93.6 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – education and youth development, neighborhoods, health and human services, arts and culture, economic development and purposeful aging – and responds to the community’s needs.

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