Cleveland Foundation announces additional Common Ground training, funding resources for second year of community-wide event

Nearly 50 host locations throughout Greater Cleveland already confirmed for June 24

Release Date: 5.18.18

CLEVELAND – With Common Ground 2018 just five weeks away, the Cleveland Foundation has announced a partnership with Neighborhood Connections and ioby to provide facilitation training, action clinics, fundraising workshops and match funds for project ideas that emerge from Common Ground conversations on June 24.

“We are energized by the support of Neighborhood Connections and ioby to help residents translate great ideas about place into on-the-ground results,” said Stephanie Hicks Thompson, Cleveland Foundation marketing & communications officer. “Based on the feedback we received from last year’s post-event survey, we felt it was important to provide assistance for those participants who were motivated to keep an idea going beyond the initial conversation.”

Neighborhood Connections and ioby are partnering to amplify resident ideas emerging from the Common Ground conversations, starting with a series of action clinics in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties to be scheduled after the completion of this year’s events. Additionally, one-on-one and group project guidance will be available free of charge through Neighborhood Connections, while crowdfunding trainings will be conducted through ioby. The collaboration will provide match funding that will effectively double donations to ioby crowdfunding campaigns that help bring these ideas to life this summer. Follow-up materials and next steps will be provided at the conclusion of each Common Ground conversation.

Neighborhood Connections ( is a nationally recognized community-building program established in 2003. Since that time, it has invested over $8 million into nearly 2,700 resident-led projects in Cleveland and East Cleveland.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Cleveland Foundation and ioby to provide the residents of Greater Cleveland an avenue to take these conversations and make them a reality,” said Tom O’Brien, Neighborhood Connections program director. “Extraordinary things happen when neighbors come together.”

An acronym for “in our backyard,” ioby ( is a national nonprofit organization that helps individuals to organize all kinds of capital – cash, social networks, in-kind donations, volunteers, and advocacy – to launch projects that enhance neighborhoods. Since beginning on-the-ground work in Cleveland in March 2016, ioby has trained over 1,300 Clevelanders to plan, fund, and build positive change in neighborhoods across the city, and supported more than 125 project leaders in launching their crowdfunding campaigns. Together these leaders have raised nearly $200,000 in small donations to make Cleveland neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable and more fun.

This partnership also addresses another opportunity identified from the Common Ground post-event survey– the need for pre-event facilitation training. With that in mind, Neighborhood Connections, in conjunction with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, is offering free two-hour facilitation trainings for hosts, participants and volunteers who want to ensure productive conversations. These sessions will be focused on the Common Ground conversation structure and will teach best practices for encouraging inclusive, civil discussion among small groups. The trainings will be offered on the following days:

  • Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. – Noon (at Mandel School, 11235 Bellflower Rd.)
  • Wednesday, June 6, 10 a.m. – Noon (at Urban Community School, 4909 Lorain Ave.)
  • Tuesday, June 19, 6 – 8 p.m. (at Neighborhood Connections, 5000 Euclid Ave., Suite 310)

Registration for the trainings is available at

Centered around the question “Why does place matter?”, Common Ground 2018 is a day of community conversation that will bring thousands of Greater Clevelanders together around tables across Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties to share a free meal and dialogue throughout one day – Sunday, June 24. Nearly 50 host sites are already online, with more being added daily. Visit for more information, to register to host or to attend a conversation.

As a lead-up to June 24, the foundation and its partners are also presenting a series of events calling attention to the history of our neighborhoods and the organizations working in them. FredWalksCLE events highlight the valuable resources we share, the ambitious projects that aim to improve and protect them, and the individuals doing the work in Greater Cleveland. The remaining events are:

  • May 19: Stewarding Nature East and West, West Creek and Doan Brook Watershed Hikes
  • May 23: Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Take a Hike Civic Center Tour
  • May 24: Walk with a Cop, 4th District with Capt. Sulzer
  • June 2: Hingetown Mural Walk
  • June 12: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Underground Railroad Hike
  • June 18: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Scenic Railroad Train Ride

Registration is available at