Cleveland Caucus - Community Solutions

Blog Date

Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions

The Saturday, March 12, 2016, inaugural Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions engaged over 400 attendees from throughout Greater Cleveland to spend their Saturday morning in serious dialogue about key community issues. In addition, representatives from more than 70 nonprofit organizations staffed informational booths before the caucus started, and then joined the attendees in brainstorming priorities within eight “caucus areas.”

Inaugural Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions
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I want to start by thanking the Greater Cleveland Caucus Series partners for this 2016 initiative. I hope that the Caucus Series, and their related events (such as debate watch parties), provides structure for positive outcomes for Cleveland's future, and acts as a catalyst to involve more Greater Cleveland citizens in that future. The partners include:

Greater Cleveland Caucus - Fred Talks

The Cleveland Foundation has a speaker series called Fred Talks:

Learn. Engage. Champion.

Fred Talks build on Cleveland Foundation founder Frederick Harris Goff’s legacy of innovative thinking by inviting community members to learn, engage with one another, and champion new ideas in conversations with local and national thought leaders. Each event features a thought-provoking conversation, public Q&A session, and facilitated brainstorming roundtables that challenge attendees to become Cleveland’s next champions for change.

The Greater Cleveland Caucus started with Fred Talks by Greater Cleveland area experts on eight “caucus areas:”

UPDATE -- MAY 9, 2016: Videos of the Fred Talks speeches from the March 12 Greater Cleveland Caucus Town Hall have now been added to this blog post!

Rather than write a summary of each of these Fred Talks in my blog post, I recommend reading about the talks in these articles:

While I was writing this blog post, I received an email from Cleveland Foundation Chief Marketing Officer Michael D. Murphy indicating that videos of these Fred Talks will be added to the foundation's YouTube channel. Be sure to watch not only their YouTube channel, but also the Cleveland Foundation website and @CleveFoundation on Twitter for these videos and more information about caucus follow-up events.

UPDATE -- MAY 9, 2016: In addition to the videos being added to this blog post, I can now also provide a link to the Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions (March 12) playlist on YouTube.

Greater Cleveland Caucus Discussion

During the Fred Talks, all the attendees were seated in different sections of Cleveland Public Auditorium, according to which of the eight caucus areas they were interested in discussing. With over 400 attendees, the organizers where then able to break each caucus area into smaller groups. Each group was charged with the task of coming up with a positive priority for Greater Cleveland in 10 words for less.

Greater Cleveland Caucus Discussion
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I decided to join one of the Environmental Sustainability discussion groups, since several of my blog posts have dealt with greenway and waterway issues in our community. We had about seven people at our table, including Chagrin River Watershed Partners Executive Director Heather Elmer, Lake Metroparks Chief of Marketing Services Sharon Jenkins (@LakeMetroparks), a student from Hathaway Brown School (@HathawayBrown), and The Trust for Public Land Ohio Director of Philanthropy Jeremy Davit (@JeremyDavit - @tpl_org).

I do not remember the name of the Hathaway Brown student, but want to note that I thought it was really great that a high school student was actively providing her input. She was often the first person presenting ideas! It is exciting to see the next generation involved in our community's future.

After our discussion at the table, Jeremy also shared some information and a map about The Trust for Public Land's work with Cleveland Foundation (@CleveFoundation), LAND studio (@cleveLANDstudio), and the Cleveland Metroparks (@CleveMetroparks) in developing the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail that I want to share with you here:

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The Trust for Public Land: Cuyahoga-Lake Link
The Trust for Public Land: Cuyahoga-Lake Link MapCleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail

This map of the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail was of particular interest to me, since I had written this blog post: "Take a Hike" - Cleveland's Flats & Beyond!

Greater Cleveland Caucus Vote

Once each table generated their priority idea, each of the attendees was given hand-held voting devices, and the results were shown on the big screens.

Greater Cleveland Caucus hand-held voting devices
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The following are my photos that list the priorities along with the voting results. Please click on them to enlarge and read the details:

  • Education & Youth Development
    Education & Youth Development Vote

  • Environment
    Environment Vote

  • Health
    Health Vote

  • Housing + Neighborhoods
    Housing + Neighborhoods Vote

  • Inclusion: Population + Demographics
    Inclusion: Population + Demographics Vote

  • Jobs + Economy
    Jobs + Economy Vote

  • Safety
    Safety Vote

  • Transportation + Infrastructure
    Transportation + Infrastructure Vote

In the Cleveland Foundation's blog post Takeaways from the Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions, they provide a full summary of the Greater Cleveland Caucus results as a PDF file, which I have included here for your downloading pleasure.

Greater Cleveland Caucus Photos & Video

Here are the photos I took during the event. In addition to the photos of activities during the Greater Cleveland Caucus, please note the beauty I found in the Cleveland Public Auditorium.

If your device does not support photos/videos,
please view them here.

Tweets & Retweets

Here are my over 250 @sos_jr tweets and retweets about the Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions and related activities. I always find it interesting to see what others share during an event like this.

Please share any tweets with content or photos that you find interesting by retweeting them. Clicking on Twitter photos will enlarge them!

Tweets I shared after the event

Additional tweets

Follow-up tweets

The Future

Normally, I would attend an event that had the energy level and high participation level of the inaugural Greater Cleveland Caucus: A Town Hall Meeting on Community Solutions, and report that it was a great success -- the end. That is NOT the case with this event!

For the Greater Cleveland Caucus, the event organizers presented a higher goal -- for it to be just the beginning! It cannot be considered a success unless it leads to real action that makes change in the Greater Cleveland community.

To that end, there will be more events and more work to be done. I look forward to learning about these next steps, and recommend that you engage in a future caucus at:

On Twitter, watch for tweets with the #CLECaucus hashtag, and for announcements by the partners:

Mark you calendar now for the next event, and RSVP online:

YPCLE: The Millennial Caucus - By: Cleveland Young Professional Senate
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YPCLE: The Millennial Caucus
By: Cleveland Young Professional Senate

Saturday, May 14, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Avenue #200, Cleveland, OH 44114

Related Blog Posts

I have included here my other blog posts that deal with environmental issues that are related to the discussion group I attended during the Caucus:

I have additional blog posts (including an event at The City Club of Cleveland and several about the Cleveland Foundation) which you can find at: