Cleveland Foundation awards inaugural Encore Cleveland Prizes

Embargoed until: 10.15.2015 at 6:30 p.m.

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation tonight honored the first two recipients of its Encore Cleveland Prize, established this year to recognize significant, innovative work that engages older adults in making social impact in Greater Cleveland.

EncoreLogov2 copyThe Encore Cleveland Prize for Nonprofit and Public Sector Organizations was presented to the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for its Act 2 program, which deploys late career and retired volunteer lawyers into the community to address the legal needs of low-income community members. The Encore Cleveland Prize for Individuals was awarded to Thomas Gaghan. After being downsized from his corporate job, Gaghan launched the Cleveland Furniture Bank in 2006 to provide basic home furnishings to people in need. Today it serves more than 1,400 families each year.

Cleveland Foundation President & CEO Ronn Richard and Executive Vice President Bob Eckardt presented the Encore Cleveland Prizes during BVU’s Purpose@50Plus event at Cleveland Botanical Garden. BVU, an Encore Cleveland partner organization, matches volunteers with opportunities customized to their interests, skills and schedules.

“Our inaugural Encore Cleveland prize winners exemplify the positive impact possible when experienced Clevelanders focus their talents on improving our community,” said Richard. “The Cleveland Foundation is proud to honor this impactful work, which reflects the mission of our Encore Cleveland program and makes a difference in the lives of so many.”

A panel of judges comprised of local and national leaders in the field of aging and philanthropy reviewed more than 40 applications and recommended the final honorees to the Cleveland Foundation’s board of directors for approval. The Encore Cleveland Prize includes $25,000 that must be designated to a local nonprofit in Cuyahoga, Lake or Geauga County to support socially impactful work.

The Encore movement is a national effort to leverage the energy and experience of Americans who seek to fill community needs upon retirement or near the end of their primary careers. Encore Cleveland, launched in 2013 by the Cleveland Foundation, helps to connect and fund a network of organizations to provide experienced Greater Clevelanders age 50 and older with an array of meaningful opportunities in the community. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $2.6 million in grant dollars to support Encore Cleveland programs. To learn more about the Encore Cleveland movement, visit

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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 $2.2 billion and 2014 grants of $98 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – economic transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts advancement – and responds to the community’s needs.

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