Our mission is to strengthen our community through collective investments that identify and nurture innovative projects. We pool our funds and share our energy to invest it back into projects that we see as worthwhile and exciting in Cleveland.
2016 was a pivotal year for the Cleveland Colectivo. In late 2015, we held the first of two retreats for our members, facilitated by Lisa-Jean (LJ) Sylvia, a friend and supporter of our mission. Our purpose was to clarify the purpose, identity and vision of the Cleveland Colectivo.
Members of the Colectivo have learned a thing or two in our years together, and occasionally people ask us to share our experiences. Last week, Colectivo member Walter Wright was a guest on WCPN's Sound of Ideas program. Walter and the other guests discussed crowdfunding with host Michael McIntyre. You can listen to an archive of the show on WCPN's site, or watch the video at the bottom of this post.
The Cleveland Colectivo, a Cleveland-based giving circle whose members make contributions to innovative projects in Cleveland, celebrated ten years of collective giving in 2015. The Cleveland Colectivo gave away over $115,000 between 2005 and 2014, through nearly sixty small grants. To celebrate the organization’s tenth year of giving, the Colectivo invited all prior grant recipients to share a big idea that a $10,000 gift could help catalyze.
Out of a strong pool of exciting ideas, Colectivo members selected Fresh Camp to receive this year’s $10,000 gift in support of its urban gardening/hip hop program.
A trained doula, or birth-worker, Christin Farmer has launched ‘Birthing Beautiful Communities’ to help address the crisis of infant mortality in African American communities. An African American woman is seven times more likely to have a preterm baby (preterm babies account for over 60% of infant deaths). Much of this is tied to stress, and from the lack of support and poverty. The March of Dimes has graded Cleveland an “F” for preterm births. Christin has joined with a network of other birth-workers to assist women of color, their partners and families in bringing births to full term successfully, and to raise healthy babies.
In response to the shooting of Tamir Rice, residents have joined to form the ‘Cudell Cooking Club.' The group is meeting twice a month to plan, cook, create and share a community meal – attracting between 8-11 kids per night, their parents and guardians, neighbors and friends. This effort provides adult interaction, cooking skills and healthy eating habits along with building community. An existing kitchen is being utilized, but funds will help purchase needed cooking equipment and small appliances, and offset costs for food purchases.
Fred Ward, a neighborhood activist in the E. 105 and Superior neighborhood of Glenville, is active in his neighborhood and working to address issues that lead to incarceration, including safety, food access, police concerns, etc. He operates a local storefront called the Khnemu Center where he offers hot meals, classes, and conducts voter registration and education programs. He is a passionate person with respect and connections in the community that are allowing him to make a difference.
Literary Cleveland has had a successful year – linking writers and readers together. Last year’s Inkubator program hosted at the Cleveland Public Library was a great success. Literary Cleveland would like to continue the program as an annual event. The Cleveland Public Library is in support additional funding will help to bring this to fruition.
Jasmine Burnett is working with New Voices Cleveland to champion reproductive justice, a movement focused on the physical, mental, spiritual, political, social and economic well-being of women and girls. New Voices was established in Pittsburgh to to advance reproductive justice for women of color and queer women, who are often under-represented and marginalized. Jasmine has been working to expand the work to Ohio, working on reproductive health access, minimum wage, domestic violence, voter education and registration, etc. Grass-roots organizing is key to their work, which includes door knocking, house parties, writing campaigns, billboard campaigns, and creating a pipeline and political opportunities for women of color to be developed as future leaders.
Talespinner Children’s Theater has hosted a ‘playground’ contest for new playwrights. Four winners have been selected (prize is seeing their play realized and performed). Funding will allow actors and directors to be paid for the performances (to be performed over two weekends as a free program). Previous funding from Colectivo that supported ‘pay what you can’ program nights has now been funded by Ohio Savings Bank, which has led to greater attendance and greater public awareness of Talespinner.