Cleveland Foundation announces inaugural Public Service Fellows

Millennials from across the country to be partnered with six Greater Cleveland agencies for year-long fellowships designed to inspire the next generation of public sector leaders

Release Date: 5.5.16

CLEVELAND – In an effort to create a pipeline of new talent for community-based and national public sector careers, the Cleveland Foundation – the world’s first community foundation – today announced the inaugural cohort of Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellows after a nationwide search that attracted 110 applicants from 19 states and 50 universities. Beginning September 2016, nine recent college graduates, including returning Greater Cleveland natives and newcomers to Cleveland, will be paired with six Greater Cleveland public sector and nonprofit agencies for year-long paid fellowships funded by the foundation and agency partners.

“A key determinant of America’s future will be good public policy, which will only happen if we recruit brilliant, dedicated and altruistic millennials into America’s public sector,” said Cleveland Foundation President & CEO Ronn Richard. “The Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship program is a proactive step in creating the next generation of public leaders. We look forward to being inspired by this first class of Fellows, and we are certain our community will benefit from their insights through what we hope will be the first step in a promising career in public service.”

The 2016-2017 Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellows include:

  •   Kathleen BrennanSupporting community-police relations in Cleveland (Cleveland  Foundation)

Brennan is a 2015 University of Notre Dame graduate in Sociology and currently is finishing her master’s degree in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland. A Strongsville, Ohio native, Brennan’s placement at the Cleveland Foundation will be focused on supporting the Cleveland Community Police Commission’s work to strengthen community-police relationships.

  •   Roberta DuarteImproving cultural competence in patient care at Cleveland’s public health  system (MetroHealth)

Duarte, a native of Paraguay, is a 2016 graduate of Mount Holyoke College in Global and Public Health Sciences. At MetroHealth, Duarte will work with senior leadership and a cross-functional implementation team on population health initiatives that will address social determinants of health in Cuyahoga County and bolster the cultural competence of MetroHealth staff.

  •   Joshua EdmondsDeveloping a new vision for one of the nation’s largest public housing  authorities (Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority – CMHA)

Edmonds is a 2014 graduate of Notre Dame College in English and Spanish and this year earned his master’s degree in International Relations and Public Policy from Howard University. Originally from Twinsburg, Ohio, Edmonds will focus on the finalization and implementation of CMHA’s first new strategic plan in 20 years.

  •   Tabitha GillombardoShaping the region’s transportation infrastructure for the Cleveland  of tomorrow (Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency – NOACA)

Gillombardo is a 2016 graduate of Wesleyan University in Government and Middle Eastern Studies. A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Gillombardo will help create NOACA’s new long-range transportation plan, which will shape the development of the Greater Cleveland transportation system for the next two decades.

  •   Ricardo MasonImplementing a new county-wide culture of innovation (Cuyahoga    County’s Office of Innovation)

Mason is a 2015 graduate of Kent State University (KSU) in Healthcare Administration and is currently working on his master’s degree in Health Policy & Management from KSU. Originally from Euclid, Ohio, Mason will join a Cuyahoga County team tasked with leading the implementation of internal and external innovation plans, with a goal of creating a center of excellence that will serve as a model for counties across the nation.

  •   Takasha NutallIncorporating City Council’s new Civitism agenda (Cleveland City Council)

Nutall is a 2016 graduate of Spelman College in Political Science.  During her fellowship, she will focus on Cleveland City Council’s new policy agenda called “Civitism,” or love of place. Nutall will work with the council president and committee chairs on incorporating the new platform throughout the Council’s 11 committees, which each address separate legislative priorities. She is a native of Chicago, Illinois.

  •   Olivia OrtegaAddressing one of the nation’s highest rates of infant mortality and lead  poisoning (Cleveland City Council)

A Newark, Ohio native, Ortega is a 2016 graduate of Case Western Reserve University in International Studies, Political Science and Spanish. She will also work with Cleveland City Council on its new policy agenda, “Civitism,” and will work with the council president and committee chairs specifically on the Council’s public health initiative, centered on addressing infant mortality and lead poisoning.

  •   Hannah SantisiIncreasing access to mastery-based arts for Cleveland youth (Cleveland       Foundation)

Santisi is a 2015 graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory in Sociology and Viola Performance. She currently serves as Program Director for the nonprofit, Make Music Cleveland. In her fellowship role, Santisi will focus on the Cleveland Foundation’s new arts strategy to increase access to mastery-based arts to all youth in the city of Cleveland and will also support foundation projects in the areas of arts, culture and placemaking. She is a native of Montclair, New Jersey.

  •   Eli StacyHelping residents in public housing become more financially self-sufficient   (CMHA)

Stacy is a 2016 graduate of the University of Virginia in Sociology. At CMHA, he will serve as the onsite program facilitator for the Jobs Plus initiative, which works to help residents become more financially self-sufficient. Stacy grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellowship program includes monthly professional development programming, which is being shaped with guidance from Cleveland State University. In addition, Fellows will have unique networking opportunities with a diverse array of emerging and senior leaders in the community. For more information on the Fellows program, visit


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.1 billion and 2015 grants of $95 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.

For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, visit, and follow us on, Twitter @CleveFoundation and Instagram @CleveFoundation.