Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nonprofit Thursdays Report

We start this Nonprofit Thursday recalling the zest that Judge George W. White had for community and self-help. Obit writers, including us, noted his affability, but he was steadfast in his pursuits and possessed of a certain feistiness to boot. The time of his passing has poignancy reminiscent of  the natural passing of the seasons.

The judge’s proudest community achievement was undoubtedly the establishment of the Cleveland chapter of the United Black Fund. This weekend will witness not the judge’s funeral but also the retirement party of his longtime UBF colleague and friend, Ruby Terry, who served as both board chair and then chief executive officer for more than twenty years.

The bookend events perhaps form a springboard for the launch of UBF’s next phase, which will be led by its new president, Cecil Lipscomb. We had the chance to chat with Mr. Lipscomb for a few minutes when we stopped at UBF offices earlier this week. He is an impressive young man with a bold agenda for a vital agency in need of a shot in the arm.

Lipscomb was presented as a candidate to the UBF board through the efforts of Barbara Danforth, former YWCA Cleveland president and CEO who this year launched a new career as executive search consultant. She appears to be off to a great start!

Judge White charted an independent course as a politician. He would probably applaud the efforts of the Cuyahoga County Young Democrats in their sponsorship of a series of panel discussions addressing the issue of city, county, and regional  population decline.

Tonight’s panel discussion, “Media and Self-Esteem of the County”, is the second of an eleven part series. It will focus on the County’s image in the local and national media.  Tonight's panel will be moderated by radio personality Bijou Star [aka Kim Sadler] of Radio One Cleveland.  Panelists will be Kenny Crumpton and Angelica Campos (Fox 8) Colby "Colby Colb" Tyner of Radio-One, Felicia Haney of the Call and Post, and Rocky Robinson of Plain Dealer.

The series aims to provide in-depth and often surprising information regarding the state of Cuyahoga County through eleven topical discussions - each focusing on an aspect of life in the region. The program is intended to involve and elicit input from the public. 

The eleven panel discussions will culminate in the “Why Stay Conference” scheduled for September 2012. Emphasis is on ways regional government can retain the so-called Echo Generation, the 80 million tech-savvy Americans born between 1977 and 1997.

The panel discussion is free of charge and is open to the public.  No reservations are required, so head over after work to Loft Works in midtown [1667 E. 40th street, Suite B1]Midtown from 6-8:30PM.

For more information, please contact Charmaine Pope, Co-chair, Why Stay Executive Committee, at 216.200.2761. 
• • •

If you have been curious about the Occupy the Hood movement, you might want to head over to The Audacity of H.O.P.E. Foundation tomorrow. Topics being addressed include firsthand reports from homeowners victimized by fraudulent foreclosures, and how to fight back against them.

The program will start at 6PM at 11239 Superior Ave in the Glenville area just north of University Circle.

No charge, no reservations, all are welcome. Contact Natalie Fitten of Occupy the Hood Cleveland [216.383.4873] or Griot Y-Von

• • •

The Cleveland Council of Black Colleges Alumni Association and the Metropolitan Cleveland Alliance of Black School Educators (Metro  CABSE) are sponsoring their annual Historically Black College & University College Fair.

The event will take place this Saturday from 8:30AM until 12:30PM on the main campus of The Word Church South MultiPlex in southeast Cleveland. Contact:
 Mary Rice [216.932.4639 • 216.570.1200 • ]

• • •


The Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership is looking for an executive director.

The successful candidate will be responsible for the operations and management of the community action agency. The preferred candidate will have a master’s degree in nonprofit management or public administration, together with a minimum of five years experience in a nonprofit executive leadership position.

For more information contact The Prout Group  [1111 Superior Ave., Cleveland OH 44114 • 216-771-2260].

Send your Nonprofit Thursday info to:

Deadline for consideration is Fridays at 3pm.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BULLETIN: US Judge George White, 1931-2011

George W. White, retired chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Cleveland, died Nov. 12, at age 80.

White’s steely backbone and incisive mind were encased in an affable personality, features that helped him become the court's first African American judge in 1980 and first black chief in 1995. The judge was in his third term as a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas judge when President Carter nominated him on May 23, 1980. 

Judge White assumed senior status at the Court in 1999.

White was born in Duquesne, Pennsylvania on May, 6 1931. He graduated from Baldwin Wallace College (1951) and Cleveland Marshall College of Law (1955).

From 1964 to 1968 he served as a councilman in the Lee-Harvard area, representing what was then Ward 13.

Judge White’s wife of 52 years, Lillian and son Steven, both predeceased him. He is survived by a son David (Myra Jackson) a daughter, Lori White Laisure (Daryl), and five grandchildren.

Services will be held at Antioch Baptist Church, 8869 Cedar Avenue, Cleveland this Saturday, November 19 at 11am. A wake will precede the service.  Calhoun Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.


• Calhoun Funeral Home, 17010 Lake Shore Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44110-1018 216.738.0300

Monday, November 14, 2011


Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced today that almost 10,000 additional signatures are needed by next week to place House Bill 194 to a statewide referendum next year.

Petitioners seeking to place House Bill 194, “the voter suppression” bill on the November 2012 ballot need almost 9600 more valid signatures to get the referendum on the ballot. They submitted 333,063 total signatures, of which only 221,572, about two-thirds, were valid.

Petitioners now have ten days, until Thursday, November 24, to gather the additional valid signatures. The petitions submitted have satisfied the other constitutional requirements to collect signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties collected enough signatures equal to three percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2010. The three percent threshold was achieved in 52 counties.

Failure to secure the additional signatures would result in immediate application of HB 194, including curtailment of early voting.

Congressional Democrats hold hearing on nationwide voting law changes

In Washington DC, today, House Democrats, including Representative Marcia Fudge (OH-11), held a forum entitled “Excluded from Democracy: The Impact of Recent State Voting Law Changes”.  

Here are excerpts from Rep. Fudge’s opening remarks:

"It is time that the American people hear from more than just us that there is a concerted effort across this country to limit, to suppress and to undo our right to vote. It is deliberate and it is by design. From Ohio to Wisconsin, down to Florida, across Texas, the franchise is under attack today in this country. A certain predetermined segment of Americans are being targeted; young people, the elderly, our disabled and minorities, will all feel the repercussions of this concerted effort. There's nothing new about what we're seeing today if you have lived as long as I have lived. These are the tactics that have been used for years to compromise the franchise.” …

“Legislation passed or proposed in the state of Ohio, which is my home, and a number of other states has ended Sunday voting. Think about it, Ohio's Republican legislature has voted to reduce not only Sunday voting but voting early from currently what was 35 days a year ago down to 16 days. In 2008, African-American voters accounted for 22% of early votes and 31% of Sunday voters. Latinos accounted for 22% of Sunday voters. Minorities who work long hours all week and don't get time off need the flexibility that early voting and Sunday voting provide. On Saturdays and Sundays, before Election Day, people of faith across the country remind their parishioners to vote. But those orchestrating this suppression effort know full well the importance of Sunday voting and early voting. They know minorities in particular will be disproportionately impacted by these laws.”

New Occasions Teach New Duties: Joe Paterno's Choice Point

For a variety of reasons I don’t typically write a lot about national & international matters. Part of it is the adage to write what you know. It is difficult to be sure-footed about things you can see only from a distance. Also, there is no lack of folks ready to pontificate about the federal government, Pakistan, nuclear proliferation, global warming, Israel, etc. My rule is to think globally and historically, but to write/act locally.

But I do have a general inclination to fill in the gaps when important issues are not being acknowledged, where key aspects of a situation are muted or just dropped altogether from the story.

The Jerry Sandusky-Joe Paterno-Penn State outrage is one of them.

As usual in stories of serial abuse, money and power are factors.  In this case, the victims by definition had neither money nor power. It was their lack of family resources that profiled them for screening and assault by coach Sandusky through his Second Mile charity.

What permitted Sandusky to assault and abuse young boys for so long was the immense enabling machine that was Penn State Football, an institution unto itself that provided $50 million in profit to the University. Every year.

No wonder JoePa was next to godliness in Happy Valley. Remember Ohio State University president E Gordon Gee’s sad joke about hoping that OSU football coach Jim Tressel didn’t fire him? Tressel headed OSU football only about a decade. Paterno was at PSU for more than half a century.

Paterno had more power at Penn State than its president. No matter how little he knew, or when and how he learned it, Paterno was the guy who could have stopped the abuse as soon he found out. It was his duty, and one that he could not delegate. Titles aside, he ruled the roost.

In observing that Paterno was the ultimate guy who could not pass the buck, I mean neither to judge him nor to absolve all the others who had knowledge of the abuse and did not do enough to stop it. The conspiracy of silence and inaction that betrayed those innocent young men was widespread.

The tragedy evokes for me a poem I first learned when I was a prep school student, only a year or two older than some of Sandusky’s prey.

“The Present Crisis” was originally written by James Russell Lowell as an anti-slavery statement.[1] It was introduced to me in chapel service as a hymn, rendered in foreboding and dreadful tone. The stanzas I learned had by then been adapted for Protestant worship, and encapsulate the choice point that may come to define Paterno’s life:

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.

Paterno’s choice point came not when he reported the incident up the nominal chain of command, but at whatever moment he realized nothing was being done. As the ultimate Big Man on Campus, he had only to say a word, and justice could have been done. It appears that instead of a word, there was a wink and a nod toward presumed institutional interests — Penn State, the football program, and Joe Pa himself — and the choice went by.