Cleveland Foundation invites community to host conversations as a part of Common Ground 2018

Second year of community conversation initiative expands to three counties, launches new neighborhood experience series leading up to June 24 event

Release Date: 4.2.2018

CLEVELAND – Host registration is now open for the second year of Common Ground, presented by the Cleveland Foundation. This year’s event will be held Sunday, June 24 with an expanded footprint to include Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. Conversations for Common Ground 2018 will center on the question “Why does place matter?”

Launched by the Cleveland Foundation in 2017, Common Ground is a one-day event bringing thousands of engaged Greater Clevelanders together around tables to share a free meal and conversation – connecting in a way that nurtures familiarity, encourages understanding, and inspires action. Residents, organizations, and businesses can host their own Common Ground conversation on June 24 at the location and time of their choice. By registering to host a Common Ground conversation, individuals and organizations commit to bringing together one or more tables of 8-10 people to share a meal and discuss the future of our region. Support for guest registration, conversation facilitation, and participant recruitment/promotion will be provided to all Common Ground hosts by the Cleveland Foundation.

“Last year, more than 2,000 people came together across 42 locations on a single day to have a conversation on how to move our community forward,” said Michael D. Murphy, Cleveland Foundation chief marketing officer. “Building on this success and the positive feedback from attendees, we are so pleased to partner once again with many wonderful organizations and individuals in our community to expand the number of conversations across the three counties we serve.”

The foundation and its partners are also presenting a series of events leading up to Common Ground. Celebrating the history of our neighborhoods and the organizations working in them, the FredWalksCLE events highlight the valuable resources we share, the ambitious projects that aim to improve and protect them, and the individuals doing the work that makes Greater Cleveland an amazing place to call home. Visit for a full list of FredWalksCLE events. The current schedule is as follows:

Common Ground FredWalksCLE Neighborhood Event Series:

  • May 8 – Take a Walk Downtown: Campus District, Playhouse Square, 1 p.m.
  • May 11– Take a Walk Downtown: lower Euclid Avenue, Public Square and the Warehouse District, 1 p.m.
  • May 11 – East End Neighborhood House Open House, 4:30 p.m.
  • May 19 – Stewarding Nature East and West, West Creek and Doan Brook Watershed Hikes
    • 10:30 a.m. – Watershed Stewardship Center, Parma
    • 1:30 p.m. – Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
  • May 24 – Walk with a Cop – 4th District with Capt. Sulzer, 11 a.m.

As a part of this neighborhood event series, The City Club of Cleveland will again host “For the Love of Cleveland,” a free series of lunchtime forums presented by the Cleveland Foundation. Scheduled at noon every Tuesday in June on Public Square, this year’s series is entitled For the Love of Cleveland: The Power of Place. Event panels will focus on the places we use, the impact they have on our lives, and the people who work to build them. This series will launch Friday, May 18 with a forum at the City Club presented free to the community by the Cleveland Foundation:

  • May 18, 11:30 a.m. – Power of the People: The Role of Resident Activism in Placemaking, featuring Erin Barnes, Co-Founder and Executive Director, ioby (tickets required, visit to register)

For the Love of Cleveland: The Power of Place – Public Square, noon, every Tuesday in June:

  • June 5 – Streets: Achieving Connection Not Competition
  • June 12 – Design: Balancing Form and Function
  • June 19 – Public Health: Why Parks Matter
  • June 26 – Narrative: If These Spaces Could Talk

The post-event survey for Common Ground 2017 participants found that among respondents:

  • 96 percent would recommend joining a Common Ground conversation to their friends or family
  • 92 percent spoke with one or more attendees they did not already know
  • 85 percent said they were very likely or somewhat likely to take specific action on their Common Ground discussion
  • 76 percent wanted to create positive change in the community
  • 75 percent wanted to work with others to improve the quality of life in Greater Cleveland
  • 45 percent exchanged contact information with one or more attendees they did not already know

In addition, the respondents were asked to list the most urgent areas of community needs, with the top five answers being: education, safety, diversity & social justice, job creation & economy, and community connectivity & neighborhood support. To download the full report, visit

“While Common Ground might only take place on a single day, we hope the impact will be felt throughout the year,” said Murphy. “We will soon be announcing new support systems to translate the great ideas created at Common Ground into purposeful action in our neighborhoods.”

Host registration for Common Ground will continue through mid-June, but hosts are encouraged to register early to take advantage of upcoming trainings and other events. Participant registration for Common Ground will open Tuesday, May 1. For information and registration for Common Ground hosting, neighborhood events, and the City Club panels, visit: