Friday, March 01, 2013

Nonprofit Thursday II A Plan for Cleveland Neighborhoods • Jazzy Stevie Wonder • Flying Angels and more

There goes the neighborhood
Joel Ratner, President and CEO
Neighborhood Progress Inc.

A key but little understood player in Cleveland’s neighborhood development ecosphere is Neighborhood Progress Inc. Founded in 1988, its declared mission is “to foster communities of choice and opportunity throughout Cleveland.” Its status as a funding intermediary for CDCs gives it an outsized importance in determining the look, feel, and shape of community revitalization in our core city.

This coming Wednesday, NPI president and chief executive officer Joel Ratner will speak at the City Club. The centerpiece of his talk is very likely to be a public rollout of his organization’s new vision of community development, as set forth in its recently completed strategic plan.

Tickets for the noon luncheon program are $25 [$15 for members.] For reservations, call the City Club at 621.0082 or 888.223.6786. For more information, visit here.

Stevie Wonder in Cleveland next week? Not exactly 
The man genius himself won’t be here, but his music will be featured prominently in a jazz concert at one of the city’s hottest venues when The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra plays next Thursday at the Museum of Contemporary Art in University Circle. We don’t have all the details but if you want tickets [$26], go here.

Black Angels
We wrote here last week about the acclaimed off-Broadway production Black Angels Over Tuskegee coming to University School next week to support efforts to turn the mothballed Aviation High School into the chartered Benjamin O. Davis Aerospace and Maritime Academy.

Now comes word that there is a 10AM matinee performance as well. The early show is for lucky students only. Councilman Jeff Johnson, Forest City Enterprises and Lubrizol Corporation are sponsoring 400 Cleveland school students: 100 each from Glenville and East Tech high schools, and 100 each from E-Prep and Intergenerational schools, part of the Breakthrough group of charter schools. One hundred or so students from University School will comprise the remainder of the matinee audience.

Yellow Butterfly Winery
Spokesman Dave Centa said that ticket sales for the evening performance are moving well, and he harbors hope for a sellout. The impressive list of sponsors includes for Cleveland mayor Mike White’s Yellow Butterfly Winery, which is providing the wine for the benefit reception.

Harry Boomer of WOIO/WUAB-19/43 television will emcee the benefit program that includes a silent auction and other attractions. Rev. R. A. Vernon of The Word Church in Warrensville Heights will also deliver some remarks.

To purchase tickets or to get further information about Davis Aerospace Academy, visit or call 216.579-9487.

Women of Color Foundation       
Carmen Ortiz-McGhee
ACIS executive vice president
The Women of Color Foundation has snagged the corporate headquarters of American Greetings for its 2nd Annual Speaking of Women program on March 14.

This year’s speaker for the dialogue series for women in leadership is Carmen Ortiz-McGhee, executive vice president of sales for Aon Cornerstone Innovative Solutions. ACIS is a division of Aon PLC, a global provider of risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage as well as a provider of staffing solutions and outsourcing.

McGhee’s topic for the Women’s History Month program is “Managing Your Career Journey: Making the Right Choices at the Right Time.” The event is free but registration is required, which you may do by calling 216.391.4300 x 307.

Cleveland Radio this Weekend
“It’s About Justice” is a weekly local radio show hosted by Meryl Johnson, an educator, union official and community activist. Appearing on tomorrow’s show to discuss the consequences on public education in Ohio should Gov. Kasich’s budget pass will be Piet van Lier of PolicyMatters Ohio. He is likely to have some insights on the state takeover of Cleveland schools announced earlier this week.

Other segments on the show will have Wynne Antonio speaking on the women’s movement [can you lean in on the radio?] and peace activist Nina McClellan will discuss the military budget and military waste [can we speak of one and not the other?]

“It’s About Justice” airs on WRUW-FM/91.1 Saturday afternoons from 1:30-2:30PM. Hear it online at

Similar topics will be the focus of this week’s Zack Reed Radio Show, airing Sunday nights from 8-10PM on WTAM/1100 AM. Reed, Ward 2 Cleveland councilman, will discuss the budget crisis in Washington DC and the state takeover of Cleveland schools. The call in portion is likely to be lively.

Cleveland Foundation Scholarships applications for adults, teens due April 5
The application period has begun for the many opportunities for scholarship support through the Cleveland Foundation. Deadline for many of the most broadly available scholarships is April 5, 2013

Scholarships are available for adults returning to school as well as for graduating high school seniors. Applicants have multiple opportunities to be selected.  Visit\scholarships to learn more.

“Our scholarships are made possible by donors who believe in education, and who want to help worthy individuals who aspire to advance academically,” said Marvelous Baker, the Foundation’s Scholarship officer, in an email announcing this year’s program.

BULLETIN: Gunfire in East Cleveland at rapper’s funeral

Gunfire in East Cleveland at rapper’s funeral

Police and television news crews on scene following
gunfire at funeral service for slain rapper

No reported injury but safety concerns intensify as mayor-council fiscal standoff has slashed police presence

A gunman fired a shot into a Hayden Avenue church in East Cleveland this morning during the funeral for rapper Cedric Morgan. No one was injured but the police put nearby Chambers Elementary School on lockdown to prevent anyone from entering the school.

The 24-year old Morgan, who performed under the name Lil Ced, was shot and killed in front of his home on East 142 St in East Cleveland on Feb. 20.

The shootings will undoubtedly lead to heightened tensions among city residents. The city’s struggles to deal with its state of fiscal emergency as declared in October by the State Auditor, has led to disputed cutbacks in the safety budget. The city council slashed the safety budget by more than one million dollars, leading the city administration to reduce police presence on city streets by more than 70 percent.

The mayor contends the council cut the safety budget needlessly. The city’s leading social action organization, Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope [NOAH], decided at a meeting earlier this week to step up pressure on council to restore the budget cuts.

NOAH members have been circulating petitions and encouraging citizens to assemble this coming Tuesday at City Hall, 14308 Euclid Avenue, where a rally in support of returning police to the streets will take place. Organizers then hope to pack council’s cramped chambers and press the legislators to “do the right thing”.

Mayor Norton was inside the church at the funeral when the shots rang out. Omega Baptist Church, at 1355 Hayden Ave., is only a few blocks from where Morgan’s murder took place.

The lockdown at Chambers School has been lifted.


Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan announced today that the city of Detroit is so snarled in financial woes that the state must appoint an emergency manager to lead it out of disaster.
The announcement was made in a town-hall-style meeting that was broadcast live on local television stations across the city.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

NONPROFIT THURSDAY I : Some Venerable Locals

We are constantly reinventing ourselves here at The Real Deal as we seek to report on aspects of life in this big town of contradictions. Cleveland is at one and the same time sophisticated and country, insecure and siditty. Sometimes that makes it tough to write about, because so much can and needs to be said. We are trying to keep to a schedule but then life interrupts.

So today, Nonprofit Thursday appears on the eve of Friday. We are going to call this Nonprofit Thursday I for this week. Nonprofit Thursday II will appear sometime tomorrow, in expanded form.

Cleveland Museum of Art

I’m starting off today with an unabashed plug for the Cleveland Museum of Art. It can be easy to take something for granted when it’s been around 100 years. But the Museum, which since 1913 has truly been one of our greatest civic treasures, just keeps getting better and better. Currently it’s in the final phase of a big-time renovation and expansion project that is actually about a lot more than just bricks-and-mortar or new gallery space. With a new director and several gorgeous new spaces, including a glassed in Gallery One that combines the anciently familiar with what seems like Instagram on steroids, the Museum is embarking on its second century with a bold confidence.

As I exited the space still digesting the realization that the term “museum” was in the process of redefinition, I bumped into Jane Alexander. She is CMA’s director of information management and technology services, a department that seen a 600% growth in the past couple of decades, was lead architect of the high-tech portion of Gallery One.

I’m not versed enough in the high tech stuff of today to say more about the Gallery’s interactivity, but if you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, mentor, etc., invite, coax, trick, bribe, or just drag your little ignoramus to the Museum. Their bug eyes will be your reward.

Sonya Rhui Quintanilla is welcomed by Renee Whiteside of
the Consortium of African American Organizations
I had wandered into the Gallery to pass an available 15 minutes or so. I had actually been at CMA for a meeting and reception.

The reception was to welcome Sonya Rhui Quintanilla, the new curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art. The meeting was essentially about CMA’s outreach efforts. More than ever, it seems, the Cleveland Museum of Art has redoubled its efforts to live up to the terms of its original bequest, to be a place “for the benefit of all the people forever.”

Judge Harper

She’s got another fifteen years or so before she can celebrate her centennial, but Sara J Harper has already become an enduring local institution.  A couple of days ago, she was featured in a Plain Dealer daily tribute to some aspect of local Cleveland black history.

Real Deal readers with sharp memories know that I have criticized the dear and feisty retired judge for clinging to an NAACP vice presidency that should be a leadership development post for an up-and-comer. But I’m actually quite fond of her Honor and deeply respect her commitment to our community. She still steps spryly and regularly to the Sara Harper Library located deep in the public housing estates where she counted Lou and Carl Stokes among her neighbors growing up.

Retired Court of Appeals Judge Sara J. Harper
In fact, I was delighted to catch her en route there one day last month and without any difficulty persuaded her to stand still for half a minute.