Vibrant City Awards Lunch


Cleveland Neighborhood Progress proudly hosted 600 guests to celebrate the top efforts in neighborhood revitalization. This celebration of Cleveland’s neighborhoods and the city’s robust community development system took place at Edgewater Park and was certainly something to remember.

Congratulations to our winners! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our city of Cleveland.

Vibrant City Impact Award
Cleveland Public Library


CDC Community Collaboration Award
Northeast Shores Development Corp.
Ballot Box Project

The Ballot Box Project was a collaborative effort of 13 government, non-profit, and arts organizations to increase civic involvement amongst residents in Collinwood. It all began with project planning, when in small group discussions residents and artist leaders decided topics that were important to the community. Experts in those fields joined the monthly meetings. Facilitated discussions helped with a deep dive about why those topics were important and how artist proposals could best address them. Then the Board of Elections (BOE) joined the conversation when residents decided the rules and regulations for voting in The Ballot Box Project, focusing on equity around who gets to vote and ballot procedures.   Once all the rules were established, the fun began. Upcycle Parts Shop worked with artists and residents in creating visual displays for project proposals that were on site at all the voting locations. A team of Waterloo artists were charged with creating a loud and colorful parade that wove through residential streets, bringing the project to the people. Finally, voting locations were established throughout the neighborhood. As a result, 124 people were involved in planning, 520 ballots were cast, and 3,400 people participated in funded projects.


CDC Neighborhood Placemaking Award
Campus District Inc.
A Bridge that Bridges

A Bridge that Bridges mural project was developed to physically connect the Campus District while publicly addressing the longstanding division of race in Cleveland. Innerbelt I-90 divides the Campus District, with Downtown Cleveland to the north and the Central Neighborhood to the south, and serves as a physical representation of the racial and cultural barriers in our city. Throughout this 6-month project a diverse group of community stakeholders who work, live or go to school on either side of the highway engaged in intentional conversations about race, racism, privilege and segregation while co-designing a mural. The team targeted one of the few links between Downtown and Central, the walls of the East 22nd Bridge over I-90. The final image names elements of both interpersonal and structural racism while illustrating the intention for a more equal and integrated future. Where there were once grey walls there are now bold colors inviting both pedestrians and drivers to cross the bridge. The project served as a true placemaking opportunity as it visually transformed the experience of crossing the East 22nd Bridge while also socially connecting neighborhood and acting as catalyst for conversation on racial equity.


CDC Economic Opportunity Award
Metro West Community Development Organization
BUILD Health Challenge

Metro West joined the Build Health Challenge in 2015 to identify bold, integrated, and data-driven solutions to improve health equity in low income communities. The effort is a partnership between The Environmental Health Watch, Metro Health Hospital, The Cleveland Department of Public Health, The Hispanic Alliance and The Spanish-American Committee. Through its leadership in the community, Metro West has been able to work with residents through one-on-one outreach, conducted dozens of in-home surveys to identify causes of environmental health ailments, and identified funding to remedy situations that contribute to conditions like asthma, lead poisoning and COPD. As a result of Metro West efforts, the city, local hospitals and neighborhood groups will have better lines of communication in dealing with public health problems and citizens will have greater access to information about the homes they live in. Most significantly, its work in Build Health is leading to a robust and enforced rental registry that will hold landlords accountable to healthy home standards.


CDC Neighborhood Branding and Marketing Award
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corp.

In 2014, a new brand promise and motto that reflected the history of the neighborhood and the quality of life there: Old Brooklyn is a Great Place to Grow. As a large neighborhood that was quickly diversifying, OBCDC recognized that the community was filled with unique stories and diverse opinions on what made the neighborhood so great. The social media campaign, #WhatsYourOldBrooklyn (WYOB) was born from this idea. In 2016, the WYOB campaign took a three-pronged approach to neighborhood branding.   First, a small group of Social Media Ambassadors were convened and trained in the voice of OBCDC’s social communications. Their roles created the framework for social media engagement and helped create the initial buzz. Secondly, OBCDC held WYOB themed events aimed specifically at promoting the community to visitors and newcomers with targeted social media ads. Lastly, the hashtag was promoted and adopted by local residents and businesses. Following #whatsyouroldbrooklyn provides a glimpse into the many ways people call our neighborhood home and has been adopted as a community supported brand.


Urban Developer Award
Mustard Seed Development

Mustard Seed Development is a community based business that specializes in the renovation of real estate for rental in the near West Side of Cleveland. Daryl Anderson and family members are committed to providing housing for newcomers and refugees to the city of Cleveland.   Mustard Seed is buying foreclosures in both the Detroit Shoreway and Metro West service areas that are distressed and/or condemned. Over the last six years through the skills of five full time employees, some of whom are newcomers themselves, 50 units have been renovated. Daryl has identified workers who are interested in learning a construction skill and has hired them for work on the properties as apprentices. Daryl works closely with the Refugee Services Collaborative of Greater Cleveland. His tenants are from war torn areas of the world, such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Syria, Ivory Coast, Nepal, Rwanda, or Iraq. Daryl also is currently a partner in the International Village, a larger redevelopment strategy in the Metro West service area.


Civic Champion Award
Dawn Arrington

The nickname for Dawn Arrington is super neighbor. Dawn and her family live in the Buckeye neighborhood, where almost four years ago, they started a monthly Exchange with neighbors where they exchange food or other items. If someone has too much mayonnaise and someone else needs a jar, they meet regularly through the summer to make those exchanges. Dawn also leads Neighbor Up’s Community of Practice teaching folks about community network building.     She organizes sessions for the jobs pipeline Step Up to UH. When she took over that work last summer, we soon began drawing record numbers of residents to those sessions, which help them get jobs at University Hospitals.   She is a regular participant at the Greater Buckeye Network Night and also a member of the Larchmere Porchfest planning committee. Dawn is a committed, tireless advocate for our city and its residents working behind the scenes to build community and launch a variety of neighborhood events both large and small.


Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award
Judge Raymond Pianka (1951-2017) (His daughter, Kirsten Pianka, accepted on his behalf)

VCAL 2016 summary
VCAL 2015 summary