Here are a variety of materials and contacts that can assist you in your grant application and project implementation.
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children.”
~Native American Proverb
It’s estimated that the city harbors more than 3,200 acres of vacant land. Many grassroots organizations are developing creative ways to reuse the land for a variety of purposes that improve their communities.
Our grant recipients are using their funds to create community gardens, develop “pocket parks,” perform community beautification projects, and improve the environment. Many of these grant projects focus on bringing nature back to city spaces and lessening toxicity of urban land.
With so much vacant land, it’s a great opportunity to recreate and reinvent many parts of the city.
Health and Wellness
As obesity continues to be an issue in Cleveland, and as life becomes more hectic for everyone, there is a real need to find low-cost, healthy approaches to living that improve the quality of life for communities.
Whether it’s joining an athletic team, participating in a walking club, learning more about your physical health, eating healthier, or taking time for yourself, you can find many opportunities throughout the city of Cleveland.
Both large and small neighborhood initiatives are available to you everyday. If you are thinking about organizing an effort on your street, there are valuable resources available that can help with funding, planning, and implementation of your project. Check out a few of them here.
- Video on Red Hat Rubies
- Link to Grassroots Directory
- Links to Resources
- Steps to a Healthier Cleveland
- UHCAN Ohio (organizing on health initiatives)
- Active Living in Slavic Village
- Cleveland Department of Parks and Recreation
- YMCA and YWCA
- MetroHealth, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals
- Rebuilding neighborhoods in the wake of foreclosuresWhat can you do about the foreclosure epidemic?
The problems around foreclosure are overwhelming to many Cleveland residents, for which the daily realities of foreclosure can’t be avoided.
Yet many resident-led groups are taking action on this issue, transforming adversity into a new vision for their community.
Examples are plentiful:
Groups of residents have reached out to neighbors in danger of foreclosure to connect them with needed assistance to save their homes.
A block club painted boards on abandoned houses, cleaned up their street, and made a community garden out of what once was a vacant lot.
A resident-led arts organization fixed up vacant storefronts by hanging paintings and making murals.
A small group of residents from one neighborhood conducted research on house flipping and predatory lending that led to a detailed report on mortgage fraud. The report helped the community better understand this issue and has led to numerous indictments of predatory lenders.
Here are two things you can do about the foreclosure crisis now:
1. Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP) is a community organizing group that is currently working in several Cleveland neighborhoods reaching out to residents who are in danger of going into foreclosure. They work with local residents to reach out to their neighbors in danger of foreclosure to provide assistance so people can stay in their homes.
If you are interested in doing similar work in your neighborhood, ESOP organizers will meet with you and your group or organization to prepare you to do this type of outreach. This FREE training is available to you and your neighbors, block clubs, neighborhood associations, and nonprofits. If you are interested in this training and assistance to stop foreclosures on your street, call Jimmy Rudyk at ESOP at 216.361.0718 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
2. Get a copy of the Neighborhood Connections Foreclosure Toolkit. This booklet is a user-friendly resource that provides information on the foreclosure epidemic and lists things you and your neighbors can do to deal with foreclosures in your neighborhood. Download it or call 216.393.4642 to order a paper copy.
Neighborhood Connections hosted a conversation on the foreclosure epidemic earlier this year. Click here to read more. Listed below are more resources:
- Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Task Force, Call 2-1-1
- Empowering and Supporting Ohio’s People,
- Neighborhood Housing Services
“When people discover what they have, they find power.
“When people join together in new connections and relationships they build power.”
“When people become more productive together, they exercise their power to address problems and realize dreams.” – Mike Green, When People Care Enough to Act
Truly empowered communities are those that identify, connect, and use their own strengths.
Our grant recipients have used funding to reach out to the most vulnerable and marginalized populations to reweave the social fabric in Cleveland’s neighborhoods. There are creative and innovative ways to build community. Check out some of these excellent resources.
The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) is at the center of a large and growing movement that considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local residents, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions, asset-based community development draws upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future. They offer trainings and their website has a wealth of information. Visit www.abcdinstitute.org for more information.
The Cleveland Mediation Center promotes constructive conflict resolution, especially among youth and to strengthen community ties with an emphasis on mediation and mediation training. Some neighborhood leaders have been trained in mediation and use it in their neighborhood to improve relationships between neighbors and to resolve community disputes. For more information, please visit www.clevelandmediation.org.
Community Organizer Basic Training is an intensive training on the basics of community organizing and community building. It’s organized by the Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition, the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, and Organize! Ohio. Call Larry Bresler at 216. 651.2606 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio empowers individuals to build on the strength of diversity and create communities where all people are connected, respected, and valued. They offer training programs and assistance in promoting comfortable, diverse relationships. For more information, please call 216.752.3000 or visit www.diversitycenterneo.org.
The East Side Leadership Collaborative Training Program is a three-day training program on neighborhood community building and community organizing for neighborhood leaders. For more information, please contact Michelle Broome at St. Clair Superior Development Corporation at 216.881.0644 or by email at email@example.com.
Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University offers continuing education courses in community development and community engagement strategies. For more information, please call 216.368.2274 or visit http://msass.case.edu/ce/index.html.
The West Side Leadership Collaborative (WLCC) is devoted to fostering leadership skills in neighborhood leaders and offering a networking opportunity for community leaders. Lessons and discussions include community building, power analyses, strategies and tactics, meeting facilitation, and outreach techniques. The trainings are held at a central west side location. For more information, please contact Megan Meister at 216.961.7687 x. 202 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When People Care Enough to Act, written by Asset Based Community Development trainer Mike Green, provides great information on practical community building work and social inclusion using principles of Asset Based Community Development. You can order the book or download much of the material by visiting www.mike-green.org.
Neighborhood Connections believes that neighborhood groups need to engage youth in their work and that youth and children can be valued contributors to neighborhood revitalization. Neighborhood Connections has funded youth-led organizations that are working to revitalize neighborhood parks, create public art, do environmental work, and mentor younger children.
In addition, many adult-led grant recipients have received funds to work with youth to connect them to positive activities and to caring adults. From athletic programs to rites of passage programs, Neighborhood Connections’ grant recipients are working throughout the city to make Cleveland a great place to live.
Check out some of these valuable resources for youth and for youth-serving organizations.
- Link to video on K.N.O.W.L.E.D.G.E Youth
- Link to Our Stories in Cleveland Plain Dealer
- Link to Building Bridges Mural Program on WVIZ.
- Youth Philanthropy and Service at the Mandel Center
- Link to Grassroots Directory
Arts and Culture
“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.” ~John Updike
Creativity is at the center of neighborhood revitalization. Through arts and culture, youth are educated, neighborhoods are revitalized, and the history and culture of the community are appreciated, respected, and preserved. Neighborhood groups throughout Cleveland are doing some wonderful work in arts education, creating public art, honoring and preserving local history, and organizing neighborhood events that bring neighbors together while also bringing people in from outside the neighborhood.