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Cleveland’s “joyful gathering” place

Tony Sias, President & CEO, Karamu House

Tony provided an update on the ongoing renovations at Karamu House, highlighting the completion of phases one through three and the plans for phase four. He emphasized their goal to create a vibrant campus environment that will attract more visitors to the Fairfax community. Additionally, he discussed the challenges faced and the efforts to engage neighbors and foster community involvement in the revitalization efforts and he touched on Karamu’s upcoming programming for children and summer camps. Tony also talked about the evolving subscription model in American theater and Karamu’s innovative approach to the pandemic. Tony highlighted their efforts to attract younger audiences to Karamu House by offering unique experiences and events.

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Recorded 02/21/2024

Accelerating our community for a decade

Micki Byrnes , President & General Manager, WKYC Channel 3

Mike McIntyre, Executive Editor, Ideastream Public Media

Jim Malz, President – Ohio, Citizens

Past Accelerate emcees Micki and Mike reflect on their best Accelerate memories, talk about the impact of the event and past Accelerators, and share their thoughts on the upcoming 10th-anniversary celebration. The conversation was moderated by Jim Malz (Accelerate Co-Chair 2020-2024).

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Recorded 02/14/2024

A familiar face in a new chair

Emily Campbell, President & CEO, Center for Community Solutions

Emily discussed Community Solutions’ nonpartisan stance and its commitment to providing data and analysis to inform policy and improve the lives of Ohioans. She highlighted the organization’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, upcoming initiatives, and the challenges of dealing with strong opinions and perceptions that may not align with the data. Emily also discussed successful innovations and pressing issues, emphasizing the importance of connecting various community issues and exploring innovative solutions to improve the current system.

She highlighted the urgency of expanding programs to address behavioral health needs, particularly in young girls and teens, and discussed effective advocacy work, emphasizing the significance of voting, finding a passion, and sharing stories with legislators to make a tangible impact. Finally, Emily highlighted the Center for Community Solutions’ impact in areas such as Medicaid policy and needs assessments, emphasizing the importance of regulatory changes in improving access to resources.

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Recorded 02/07/2024

Standing against gun violence in our neighborhoods

Myesha Watkins, Executive Directo, Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance

Myesha provided an overview of the Peacemaker’s Alliance’s efforts to prevent violence and how social determinants of health, such as childhood poverty and lack of resources, contribute to gun violence. Watkins emphasized the need for resources and support to address the epidemic of violence, while acknowledging the limitations of individual organizations in solving population-level problems.

She called for collective responsibility in leading efforts to reduce gun violence, both locally in Cleveland and across the country, and highlighted the success stories of young people who have benefited from the mentorship and outreach work of the Cleveland Peacemakers team. Myesha also provided a detailed breakdown of the financial implications of gun violence, citing specific costs for fatal and non-fatal shootings. She urged a shift in approach, proposing that investing in community programs could be a more effective and proactive solution to addressing the high costs of violence.

Myesha also discussed the organization’s efforts to support young people involved in gun violence, emphasizing community education, court support, and partnerships to address the root causes of violence. She shared her personal journey of overcoming challenges in Cleveland, highlighting the importance of seizing opportunities, building relationships, and shifting mindsets to create change. She envisions a broad ecosystem where organizations come together to share ideas and training opportunities, supporting families across Cuyahoga County who have been victimized or are struggling due to lack of investment in their communities. She emphasized the potential for collective action to bring about a sense of safety and restore the city of Cleveland.

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Recorded 01/31/2024

New leadership for America’s oldest community foundation

Lillian Kuri, President & CEO, Cleveland Foundation

Lillian Kuri discussed the Foundation’s journey and future plans, including their move to Midtown and their evolving role in the community. Kuri emphasized the foundation’s commitment to community partnerships and accessibility, as well as their focus on economic mobility and eliminating the racial wealth gap. She also discussed the foundation’s strategic shift towards transforming community philanthropy, including the importance of donor advised funds and supporting foundations, social impact investing, and collaborative strategies that align donor interests with community needs. Finally, Kuri addressed the importance of measuring impact and the need for collaboration among nonprofits to achieve greater impact, highlighting the Foundation’s goal to endow the Black Futures Fund and grow it to a significant level.

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Recorded 01/24/2024

Bridging the digital divide

Joshua Edmonds, CEO, DigitalC

Joshua discussed the organization’s journey from a nonprofit to a social enterprise and their commitment to bridging Cleveland’s digital divide by providing affordable and reliable home internet. He outlined the company’s plans to deploy a state-of-the-art network in less than 18 months, offering internet access for $18 a month and accelerating the deployment timeline. Joshua also discussed community engagement strategies and potential expansion of their service to surrounding suburbs. He highlighted the significant funding of $50 million received from the city, state, and foundations to bridge the digital divide in Cleveland, with a focus on signing up 23,500 households within 18 months and the ongoing need for fundraising to support subsidies and tech support.

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Recorded 01/17/2024