Vibrant City Awards Lunch

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is proud to host its sixth annual Vibrant City Awards Lunch. This event celebrates Cleveland’s neighborhoods and the leading revitalization efforts taking place within them. We will be partnering with the historic Dunham Tavern in 2020, hosting this popular event at the oldest standing building in Cleveland, built in 1842.

VCAL 2019 summary

Thanks to all of our partners, colleagues and friends for making the 2019 Vibrant City Awards Lunch a huge success! This annual celebration of Cleveland’s neighborhoods and the city’s community development system was hosted by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and presented by Delta Dental. We once again partnered with the Cleveland Metroparks in 2019, hosting this popular event in Collinwood at Euclid Beach Park, where our guests enjoyed a perfect Cleveland afternoon and appreciated gorgeous scenery which included Lake Erie and the park’s brand new pier.

Norm Krumholz received the 2019 Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award. Additional Vibrant City winners included:

CDC Neighborhood Placemaking Award: University Circle Inc.; for its partnership role in the Nord Family Greenway

CDC Economic Opportunity Award: Metro West Community Development Org.; for its partnership role in Las Tienditas del Mercado

CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award: Burten Bell Carr Development; for the creation of WOVU 95.9 FM

Urban Developer Award: First Interstate Properties; for One University Circle

Civic Champion Award: Anita Gardner; for her community activism and founding of Concerned Citizens Community Council

Click here to view the Mandel Award video.

Click here to view the Education in the City video.

A slide show of the event is below:

VCAL 2018 summary

The fourth annual Vibrant City Awards Lunch took place on Friday June 8, 2018, where a sell-out crowd of 600 city leaders, stakeholders and community development professionals gathered to celebrate leading neighborhood revitalization efforts. The event was hosted by Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and presented by KeyBank. Guests gathered at Cleveland’s Lakefront Reservation on the border of the Glenville and St. Clair Superior neighborhoods. They appreciated scenic views of Lake Erie, Gordon Park and Dike 14 from the Metroparks location and enjoyed an outdoor lunch coordinated by Chef Chris Hodgson of Driftwood Catering. The event honored 18 award finalists and eight Vibrant City Award recipients.

Kenny Crumpton, Fox 8 personality and partner alongside Cleveland Neighborhood Progress for Cleveland Chain Reaction, served as emcee.

Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency (NOACA) received the Vibrant City Impact Award for being an invested neighborhood institution that is contributing to the lives of Clevelanders every day through its transportation related services and programs.

Bobbi Reichtell, recently retired executive director of Campus District, Inc. was named the recipient of the 2018 Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award. Reichtell has dedicated her career to neighborhood development, working at settlement houses, community development corporations and intermediaries over the last four decades.

Additionally, six other efforts received Vibrant City Awards. They include:

CDC Community Collaboration Award: Famicos Foundation – Glenville Arts Campus
CDC Placemaking Award: Slavic Village Development – Fleet Avenue Revival
CDC Economic Opportunity Award: Burten Bell Carr Development – Arbor Park Place
CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award: Midtown Cleveland Inc – “Town” Branding & Video
Urban Developer Award: Sustainable Community Associates
Civic Champion Award: Marilyn Burns

Here is a slideshow from the event:

VCAL 2017 summary

May 24, 2017  – 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Edgewater Park
Cleveland, Ohio

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.

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

May 2, 2016  – 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Cleveland Masonic Auditorium
3615 Euclid Ave. Cleveland, Ohio

On May 2, 2016, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress hosted the second Vibrant City Awards Lunch. Held at The Cleveland Masonic Auditorium, a one-of-a-kind gem in the Midtown neighborhood, located on the RTA HealthLine. Community development professionals, city and county elected officials, corporate leaders, real estate experts, and hundreds of city stakeholders gathered to celebrate Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods and honor leading revitalization efforts.

2016 Award Winners

CDC Community Collaboration Award:
Stockyards, Clark Fulton, Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office – La Placita

CDC Neighborhood Placemaking Award:
University Circle Inc. – Wade Oval improvements

CDC Economic Opportunity Award:
Famicos Foundation – EITC program management

CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award:
St. Clair Superior Development Corp. & Campus District, Inc. – Night Market Cleveland

Corporate Partner Award:
Dave’s Supermarkets

Urban Developer Award:
Case Development – Mike DeCesare

Civic Champion Award:
Joseph Black – Central

* For more information about the efforts of each award finalist, please click here to read our web post.


VCAL 2015 summary

2015 Award Winners

On April 28, 2015, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress hosted the first Vibrant City Awards Lunch. Held at The Victory Center, on Euclid Avenue in the Health Tech Corridor, this event immediately generated excitement among the 500+ attendees and throughout Cleveland. Community development professionals, city and county elected officials, corporate leaders, real estate experts, and hundreds of city stakeholders gathered to celebrate Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods and honor leading revitalization efforts.

Morton L. Mandel Leadership in Community Development Award
Daryl P. Rush

CDC Catalytic Project/Program Award
Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. – Intergenerational housing

Urban Realtor Award
Keith Brown & Dave Sharkey – Progressive Urban Real Estate

Urban Developer Award
Keith Sutton & Dave Territo, Sutton Builders

CDC Neighborhood Branding & Marketing Award
Downtown Cleveland Alliance – “You and Downtown” Video

CDC Community Collaboration Award
Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization – Gordon Square Arts District

Corporate Partner Award
Third Federal Saving

For information, please contact Nick Patrone, Senior Manager of Marketing Design at