Who are the most important people in Northeast Ohio. We all know a few, but I want to know who you see actually getting stuff done.
Liz pours her heart and "sole" into Girls With Sole-a local non-profit with a mission to empower girls who have experienced any kind of abuse through free fitness and wellness programs. Liz is an incredible person who changes the lives of girls all over NEO, and inspires adults like me every single day.
I've known Noelle as a colleague and friend since my first days in town, in 2005. I'm seriously biased in favor of her. But seriously, who else is launching a magazine to celebrate the local food industry in her spare time while she works a crazy part time job and raises a teenage daughter and a nine-month old?
Amy founded and created this progressive public policy think tank ten years ago. Under her leadership, Policy Matters Ohio has grown into a powerful voice in many state policy debates and issues. Their well-researched reports have never been found to contain an error, according to numerous "Politifact" investigations. Amy and Policy Matters clearly get stuff done --not just in Northeast Ohio but throughout the state.
Megan has been in Cleveland's community development world for several years and has been the organizer/leader of countless programs, social and otherwise, that help residents on the near west side. Their office services 30,000 residents and in the past Megan has worked in other surrounding neighborhoods. As my colleague, she works her tail off. Every minute is spent in an effort to do right by her employees and the community. She is the epitome of "getting stuff done." -Angela Shuckahosee (Thanks, Angie!)
Here are just a few items that I can name about John's many Pro-Cleveland facets. This man keeps Cleveland alive with his passion, and he's not even a native (he hails from Long Island, NY). He's the Chair of the board of SPACES art gallery, Director of Development & External Affairs at the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, Member of the Advisory Board at the Cleveland Artists Foundation, Vice President and PAC Chair of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, Concierge for the Moguls at the Cleveland International Film Festival, and... that's just what he's doing today. How many similar jobs do you do in one day?
I've never met another person who is more involved in Cleveland's betterment. He host's parties for the Print Club of Cleveland in his home, volunteers his precious time for PRIDE, Ingenuity, Dancin', and just about any other benefit you can imagine. Heck, if it's a significant event happening in Cleveland, you can bet that he's not just attending, but has donated some time to planning and improving the event and augmenting attendance with his wide-ranging influence.
You asked about the "Top Doers in Cleveland." That list most definitely should be topped by John Farina. Even if people disagree with his methods, they will all continue to benefit from his drive to make Cleveland a great place to live, and that's why I suggest him for this deserved honor. (Signed - John Coyne, someone who worked as his assistant 5 years ago, but never felt like killing him! Rather, I praise him for helping me and all other Clevelanders to continue to make this an even better place to live.)
Carlton is co-founder of Tunnel Vision Hoops LLC, founder of the Bioneers Cleveland’s Fast Track Civic Minded Project Accelerator, Local Food 365 Vacant Land Reuse, and We Dig the City Organic Backyard Raised-bed Gardens (now a division of Tunnel Vision Hoops). He volunteers for the international aid organization Reach the Children and Eco-Tuesday Cleveland.
In addition to creating Community Greenhouse Partners out of gumption, a dream, and a lot of elbow grease, Tim has been a formidable leader in the local Occupy movement.
Betsie took her own journey and transformed it into a much needed service for others. 20+ years later, she is finding homes for waiting children, leading state advocacy efforts and using cutting edge best practice strategies that other states are following.
The Community Youth Services branch brings teen programs to communities by working with schools, churches and other community-based organizations.
Slavic Village is a vibrant neighborhood in Cleveland that continues to fight through tough economic times with extraordinary perseverance. Marie is the valiant leader of the community development corporation's efforts. Innovation and creativity are bringing this neighborhood back from the foreclosure crisis that shook it. One of these efforts worth noting as a Velodrome! http://clevelandvelodrome.org/
I met Phil a year and a half ago. He approaches community organizing as if it's a military campaign. And he's winning.
Valerie Salstrom (Cleveland, OH):
One of America's busiest Lindy and Balboa teachers, Valerie has a reputation for her finesse on the dance floor. She emphasizes musicality and connection regardless of the style of swing. Since 2002 Valerie has taken home the 2003 National Jitterbug Championships (NJC) Grand Slam Championship, became both the 2004 NJC Balboa Champions and the 2004 American Lindy Hop Championships (ALHC) American Showcase Champions competition.
Valerie is the organizer of the 'All Balboa Weekend' held annually in her home town of Cleveland. This Weekend event first started in 2001 and was the first major dance camp dedicated solely to Balboa. It features the American Classic Balboa Championships (ACBC), one of the nations most respected and sought after Balboa competitions. www.AllBalboa.com.
Valerie also played a major role in organizing (and participating in) the Guinness World Record breaking 'Heart Health Hop' event sponsored by St. Joseph Aspirin, which broke the record for the 'Longest Dance Party'. From July 29-31 (2003), 41 participants danced at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, for 52 hours and 3 minutes...smashing the old record! www.guinessworldrecords.com (search "longest dance party")
Valerie is enthusiastic about passing on her love and passion for dance and she brings a fresh, interesting, and lighthearted attitude to both the dance floor and the classroom.
Valerie teaches all over the United States,
Canada and Europe and runs a dance studio in her hometown of Cleveland, OH.
Tara is a graduate of RWJF’s Ladder to Leadership’s Cleveland Cohort, embodies the spirit of “doing whatever it takes ” when it comes to improving the health of her community. Through her We Run This City Youth Marathon Program (WRTC) in Cleveland, Ohio, Tara has helped Cleveland Metropolitan School District students learn to set and achieve fitness goals. CMSD Physical Education teachers help her recruit student runners who train for 12-14 weeks, then participate in one of three race options as part of the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race: a 1.2 mile run, a 10K or a half-marathon. Her program has grown from 80 student runners and 7 schools in 2006 to 403 race day participants and 23 schools in 2010.
Ari doesn't wait for permission. He (and his dad) are a huge force in bringing back downtown and uptown.
Developers and designers, working under the name Civic Design and Development Collaborative (CDDC), began work earlier this month on a new customer service web survey that will be implemented by Cuyahoga County. The County approached the TAP group at the end of December to build a mobile friendly template that the County could launch in conjunction with a new paper version of the survey early this spring.
If you've met Nicole, you know why she has to be on this list. If you haven't, go look her up. Nicole and I have come to know each other through our work with Cleveland Colectivo. She is an amazing mentor, teacher, artist, entrepreneur, and activist. If you like to dine at Aladdin's you've seen some of her work right there on your table--she creates artwork and jewelry from cast-off items like vinyl samples and cereal boxes. If you shopped local this holiday season, you might have met her behind the counter when you visited the Collective Upcycle at Shaker Square. And if you stop by her house, you might meet her chickens. The most amazing part of all is that Nicole accomplishes all of this and more with great humor and a smile for everyone. I, for one, can't wait to see what Nicole will do next.
View full sizeFrank Lanza, Special to The Plain Dealer CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland's bicycling community has its first full-time advocate. Bike Cleveland, a new nonprofit, has hired Jacob VanSickle, 27, of Old Brooklyn, as its executive director.
Jason is a tireless advocate for thoughtful community planning. You don't hear public officials talk in the plain, direct way that he does, and, as the director of an MPO, he and his team funnel a gazillion dollars back into the local economy.
Michael is one of the most passionate Clevelanders who elevates multiple initiatives by providing them platforms to shine. He is a connector and it's rare NOT to see him participating at every festival, planning charrette, etc.
Megan has taken this agency to new heights, elevating its impact from the local community to a statewide presence. A result of her leadership, this agency is serving more people than ever before and is amplifying the voice of survivors is places where these voices were not heard before.
Growing up in Cleveland's Archwood-Denison neighborhood, Jim Rokakis saw first hand how neighbors helping neighbors could strengthen an entire community. Elected as the youngest member of Cleveland City Council at age 22, he embarked on a 19-year tenure that saw several successes in reversing neighborhood blight, redeveloping Downtown Cleveland, creating the Cleveland Housing Court and serving as chairman on the influential Finance Committee for his last seven years on Council.
Under Jean's Leadership Neighborhood Family Practice has grown and added services for Cleveland's Near West Side. NFP offers Primary Care with Integrated Behavioral Health Care and Midwifery Services, supported by care teams with doctors, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, nurses and patient advocates. The Mission-Partnering with the Community for Everyone's Best Health.
Under Sari's leadership, CCPL has been ranked the #1 library in the country by two different ranking agencies. She has put the system on firm financial footing in the midst of budget cuts, and is in the process of updating or building new library branches throughout the county. She is unbelievably active in the community, and is currently President of the Board of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20110718/WOMEN11/307189996/1212
Pat McDermott Nixon said on Facebook: "Her ministry includes work for environmental justice, interfaith relations, sustainable urban planning, arts and culture, and the diversity of the Episcopal Church."
Debi leads America SCORES Cleveland a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of young people in Cleveland through soccer, poetry and service learning. America SCORES brings children, teachers, families, communities, volunteers and funding partners together in urban public school environments to create a support system for learning and community enhancement. SCORES’ innovative tri-curricular approach effectively demonstrates to young people how physical activity, creativity, and teamwork promote a sound body, mind, and heart. The unique programming America SCORES provides for Cleveland youth in elementary and middle school is unbeatable. These Poet-Athletes, as they are called in the program, bring success to their schools and communities. America SCORES partners with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to deliver programming. Since starting at America SCORES Cleveland, Debi has expanded the program to 10 CMSD schools, serving more than 400 youth. Debi is a champion partner-always looking for new ways to expand the program through working with other youth serving programs in the Cleveland area. This small nonprofit is making a big difference for Cleveland youth.