Cleveland Neighborhood Progress Leadership Change

Below is a message from CNP Board Chair, Grace Galluci.

Dear Stakeholder,
I am writing to you today with mixed emotions to advise you of a leadership change at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP).  Joel Ratner, our president & CEO since 2011, will be leaving CNP on December 31 of this year. 

Joel’s departure is bittersweet because we are saying farewell to a trusted, talented leader and friend.  Joel’s contributions to CNP have been immeasurable.  It will be a challenge to find his successor. At the same time, we support Joel’s decision to begin a new chapter in his life and his career.  As Joel told the board when we began discussing this transition, “After 10 years, this is the right time to make a change. The work has been personally and professionally rewarding, and I am leaving CNP in a good place knowing it will achieve even more in the years to come.”

CNP is a deeply different organization than the one Joel joined us to lead a decade ago.  Thanks to his leadership, the Cleveland community development system has never been stronger.  And there are many accomplishments to note.

We have grown our staff to 28 talented, committed and diverse professionals.  We have a new headquarters that serves as the cornerstone for the rehabilitated Saint Luke’s Hospital. Other major achievements during Joel’s tenure include Slavic Village Rediscovered, Community Financial Centers, Cleveland Chain Reaction, and critical initiatives to build awareness for racial equity and inclusion, as well as efforts to support neighborhoods affected by redlining and disinvestment including significant reinvestment in the Buckeye Neighborhood.  Joel also has been a prolific fundraiser and has broadened our base of corporate support and created new partnerships through strong advocacy and policy efforts in Columbus and Washington.

Joel’s talents will now be applied to new initiatives, including consulting with Vibrant NEO.  In this capacity, Joel will be working with government, the non-profit sector and private business to help Northeast Ohio grow faster and smarter, with a focus on sustainable economic development. That work will include assisting the organization as it turns its award-winning plan into practical action and implementation.

As we reflect on the vision, energy and creative thinking that Joel brought to CNP, I want to assure you that the Board will be leveraging that work to take the organization to new levels.  We will use this opportunity to focus tightly on our commitments to Cleveland’s neighborhoods with timely programs such as facilitating small business loans to address economic challenges related to COVID-19.   And during this time of national civil unrest, we especially want to build on our efforts to address racial inequity.  

To move us forward, our board has begun the search for Joel’s replacement and has hired Sally Sterling Executive Search, a Washington-based firm that recently completed the search for the new president and CEO of the St. Luke’s Foundation.  Our goal is to have a successor named well before the end of the year in order to provide for a seamless transition. If you know of someone who should be considered as a candidate for this position, I encourage you to contact Sally Sterling at with your recommendation.

I know you join me in thanking Joel for his dedication and contributions to Cleveland Neighborhood Progress during his 10-year tenure.

Grace Gallucci, Chair