Cleveland Foundation to host sixth biennial African American Philanthropy Summit

Award-winning activist, author and tech executive Valeisha Butterfield Jones
to deliver keynote address

Release Date: 2.24.2020

CLEVELAND – The sixth biennial African American Philanthropy Summit and luncheon, presented by the African American Philanthropy Committee of the Cleveland Foundation, will take place Saturday, April 25, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the InterContinental Cleveland hotel. This year’s Summit, “2020 Vision: Disrupting the Cultural Landscape Through Philanthropy,” will focus on the power of strategic giving as an instrument for transformational change. Sponsors for this year’s Summit include Dominion Energy, FirstEnergy Foundation, KeyBank and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

“The Summit is a powerful reminder of the rich legacy of African American philanthropy in Northeast Ohio and beyond and a testament to the donors who continue to have a significant impact in our community,” said Ronn Richard, Cleveland Foundation president and CEO. “We are honored to celebrate nearly three decades of this tremendous volunteer-led committee and to partner yet again to host another wonderful day of listening, learning and networking.”

The 2020 African American Philanthropy Summit keynote will be delivered by Valeisha Butterfield Jones, tech executive and co-founder and CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network. Her career started at HBO Sports and has spanned for two decades with proven community impact at the intersections of technology, politics and entertainment. An award-winning activist, author and executive, Butterfield Jones formerly served as the National Youth Vote Director for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the International Trade Administration, as the Executive Director of Rush Communications and as the National Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Clark Atlanta University graduate has been recognized for her work by Forbes Magazine, Elle Magazine’s Top 10 Women to Watch, Essence Magazine’s Top 40 under 40, Ebony Magazine’s Power 100, TheRoot100, Glamour Magazine and others. Butterfield Jones is the host of the podcast “Off the Record with Valeisha” and the author of the highly acclaimed book “The Girlprint,” a career mentorship guide for young women.

The half-day Summit will kick off with a conversation with Eddie C. Brown and C. Sylvia Brown. Eddie C. Brown started Brown Capital Management in 1983 and currently serves as the chairman of the board and as a member of the Management Committee. He has more than 40 years of investment experience, including serving as VP and portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. for 10 years before starting his own firm. C. Sylvia Brown has a distinguished career divided between education and business. She taught middle school in New Jersey and New York, and also at Baltimore City Community College, where she served as the assistant director of admissions and registration for five years. On the business side, she worked for 13 years in property development and management of the Brown family’s real estate in Baltimore.

Following the morning speakers, there will be breakout sessions around the following topics:

  • Tools of Philanthropy: Exploring Opportunities to Give Back
  • Vibrancy for Whom?: Placemaking and The Black Experience
  • Culture Shocked: How Strategic Giving has Transformed Communities
  • I am the Future: The Next Generation of Philanthropists (Part 1 – Discussion)
  • I am the Future: The Next Generation of Philanthropists (Part 2 – Activity)

The African American Philanthropy Committee was created as an advisory committee of the Cleveland Foundation in 1993 under the leadership of former Cleveland Foundation Executive Director and President Steven A. Minter, and has served as a national model in community engagement. The committee launched the Summit in 2010 as a signature event to engage the African American community around charitable giving and to honor African American philanthropists in the region. The Committee also maintains a legacy fund at the Cleveland Foundation that supports a variety of nonprofit organizations within the African American community, helping to advance their missions and support key initiatives.

The Summit is open to the public, but tickets are required and include valet parking. Early-bird registration is $40 for those signing up by Friday, March 27 (registration will continue for $50 per ticket after this date). Lunch-only ($35), youth ages 15-18 ($20) and young professionals up to 35 years of age ($30) options are also available. Register at, and find more details at or by calling 216-615-7199.

Summit Schedule Highlights

  8:30 a.m. – Welcome & Morning Speakers: Eddie C. Brown and C. Sylvia Brown, Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Family Foundation

  9:30 a.m. – Breakout Sessions

12:15 p.m. – Keynote Address: Valeisha Butterfield Jones, tech executive and co-founder and CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network

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