Stokes Civic Leadership Institute Fellows named

Thirty-eight rising and established community leaders will examine critical problems facing our community and develop collaborative leadership skills to address those issues in the coming year as part of the newly created Stokes Civic Leadership Institute (Stokes CLI).

Stokes CLI is a collaboration between the Cleveland Leadership Center and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®). The program begins on Friday, October 27, and runs through June 2018. It is being launched as part of the yearlong, community-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Carl Stokes’ election as the first African-American mayor of a major American city (

The participants, who were selected after a competitive application process, will each be designated as a Stokes Fellow and have the opportunity to engage in continuing civic education and impact beyond the conclusion of the 10-month program.

They will be mentored by 17 Senior Fellows who are well-established community leaders with a legacy of civic engagement. The Senior Fellows were selected to offer guidance and support development of the Stokes Fellows, resulting in a rising generation of diverse leaders poised to assume leadership roles in all aspects of the community.

“We are excited to offer this program and expand our work to develop and inspire community leaders to become catalysts for change,” said Marianne Crosley, President and CEO of Cleveland Leadership Center. The center traditionally offers CLI three times a year as a six-week civic education series that gives participants a broad understanding of Cleveland’s civic landscape and highlights ways to get involved.

The Stokes CLI curriculum will be built around policy papers developed in five key areas that Mayor Stokes and his brother, Congressman Louis Stokes, sought to address 50 years ago: housing, health, public safety, education and economic parity. The papers are scheduled to be unveiled at a City Club of Cleveland forum on November 3.

“Issues that challenged the Stokes brothers continue to challenge our community today,” said Dr. Alex Johnson, President of Cuyahoga Community College. “Stokes CLI will help us reflect on the impact of the Stokes brothers and inspire a new generation to continue their legacy of leadership, advocacy and activism.”

Participants will engage in a series of formalized learning sessions through Spring 2018, and are being charged with identifying and advancing solutions that address the issues. Fellows will work closely with Tri-C’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center and its scholars to design and deliver forums to educate the larger community on the issues studied and to guide understanding of how the community can work collaboratively on solutions.

Stokes Fellows at-a-glance:

  • 58% are in their 20s and 30s (age ranges up to 57)
  • 45% from the City of Cleveland
  • 55% non-white
  • 32% work in community nonprofits
  • 32% work in education
  • 36% work in for-profit businesses, government and health care.


About the Stokes celebration: More than 70 organizations and numerous individuals are affiliated with the Stokes initiative, a yearlong, community-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Carl Stokes’ election as mayor of Cleveland. Mayor Stokes and his brother, Congressman Louis Stokes, played key roles in the advancement of the city and the nation through the civil rights movement and beyond.

About the Cleveland Leadership Center: The Cleveland Leadership Center’s mission is to build a continuum of civic leaders committed to our community’s excellence by serving as a catalyst for civic engagement. It offers transformative experiences through ongoing courses, community events and customized programs that connect, challenge and inspire individuals to make a positive community impact.

About Cuyahoga Community College: Founded in 1963 as Ohio’s first community college, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) has provided high-quality and affordable education to more than 900,000 community members since opening its doors.


Media contacts:
Marianne Crosley, President & CEO
Work: (216) 592-2298, Cell: (440) 552-9385

Michael E. Bennett, VP of External Affairs
Work: (216) 591-2426, Cell: (216) 408-3874