We've Moved!!!
NLDP....New Digs...More Services

After almost 14 years of being a tenant of the United Way, the Neighborhood Leadership Development Program has a new home. NLDP is now a new resident of Midtown after becoming a tenant at the Life Building at 3700 Euclid Ave directly across from the Children's Museum. The parking lot and NLDP entrance are located on the right hand side of the building. 

Thank you to Jeff Epstein, Executive Director of MidTown Cleveland, for welcoming us! We are excited to get to know our new neighborhood.

We will have larger offices, free parking and greater programmatic capacity, but there's also lots more. NLDP will now offer free co-working space by appointment to all program graduates free of charge. More details coming soon!

Excited to see the new digs? Join us on Tuesday, June 18th for a New Office Open House 4:00pm-7:00pm. This event is for anyone who wishes to see the new space. All are welcome. Free Parking.

Win your very own Official NLDP fleece jacket, sweatshirt or t-shirt during our raffle!

Marissa's Off To San Francisco... 

NLDP's Graduate Support Manager (GSM) is off to San Francisco to take a new position where she will be working with nonprofits and local governments to improve social service delivery. Marissa has developed several new graduate programs and has been an outstanding member of the NLDP team...all of us wish her well. 

Anyone interested in applying for the position of NLDP Graduate Support Manager should contact Yuolanda Murray at 

All The Best Marissa!!!

Congratulations Grantees! 
Graduate Support Grants Awarded

The Graduate Support Grant Program provides an opportunity for NLDP graduates to receive financial support of up to $5,000 for graduate-led community projects. Graduates completed a written application and interviewed with a panel of fellow graduates. The graduate panel selected eight grantees to receive funding. We had a very competitive process and are pleased to announce that the following graduates have been awarded grants to enhance their projects.

Letitia Lopez, Cohort XI, is the Executive Director of Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center. She received a grant to support arts programming and improvements on the new building for Julia de Burgos, a cultural arts center with a focus on preserving and promoting Latino heritage. 

Holly Davenport, Cohort XI, will be starting an inter-generational cooking class with her grant. Students will learn a variety of cooking skills and international cuisines alongside seniors.

Joe Black, Cohort VIII, runs a "reverse ride-along" program that gives police officers a glimpse into the lives of the people in the communities they serve and an opportunity to connect with residents. Joe will be using his grant to explore an expansion of this project. 

Kenneth Perdue, Cohort IX, is Executive Director of Rollin' Buckeyez, which brings roller skating to Cleveland communities through their Turning Wheels Pop-Up Roller rink. Kenneth received funds to purchase needed  equipment for the pop-up rink.

Alex Robertson, Cohort IX, runs Recess Cleveland, a program that brings outdoor recess activities to communities throughout Cleveland. His grant will support additional equipment and transportation.

Tonya Perkins-Stoudermire, Cohort IX, is the Executive Director of Bessie's Angels. Their grant will support monthly dinners and workshops for young women who have previously been in the foster care system.

Chrishawndra Matthews, Cohort X, received a grant for Literacy in the Hood's Parent Engagement Home Library. She engages with parents on reading with their children to promote literacy. The grant will fund books and bookcases for starting a home library.

Maria Campanelli, Cohort X, is the Executive Director of the Cleveland Children's Museum her grant will provide low-income residents with a free pass for their family to come to the museum. 

Graduate Spotlight
Alex Robertson

Alex Robertson, a graduate of NLDP Cohort IX, is a self-proclaimed "dodge ball enthusiast" who is proud to have won two University School Founder's Day Championships. Alex is also passionate about youth workforce development and was shocked to find out four years ago that many of the young people he worked with in his Lawn Life landscaping program had never played dodge ball. That's when he found out that 42% of schools have eliminated recess. Thinking of the fun he had during the University School Founders Day Field Day playing dodge ball, tug-o-war and three team soccer, the idea for Recess Cleveland was born. Alex applied for a Neighborhood Connections grant and was awarded a grant in 2015. They received enough funding for 5-6 events, but had so much community support in Glenville when they began putting them on, that they did 10 events that summer. 

Recess events bring a wide variety of recess equipment into vacant spaces, underutilized spaces, schools, and more to engage children and adults in fun outdoor activities. They have exciting equipment that many kids have no other opportunity to use like giant soccer balls, zorbs (person-sized inflatable balls you get inside), human-sized connect four, a bounce house, and more. Kids can play by themselves or with their friends and then each Recess Cleveland event engages all attendees in at least one big team game like dodge ball or kickball. 

Since its inception, Recess Cleveland has only grown.  Last year, recess reached 7,000 people and partnered with 28 organizations. This year they are planning 100 events over the course of the year, and hope to reach 10,000 people. They also have their very first hospital partnership with University Hospitals and will be putting on recess events on Saturdays with the UH Rainbow Center for Women and Children. Recess Cleveland will provide different fun-filled games and activities each Saturday and UH will provide tables to share the wide array of free resources that are available to the community. 

Alex attended NLDP Cohort IX, beginning in 2015. He says, "NLDP gave me a process or system I use when I'm trying to find help. When I do find that help I know how to delegate." What he learned in NLDP has helped him grow Recess Cleveland and reach more people. Alex has also made a lot of connections with other NLDP graduates. He's currently president of the board of directors for Rollin' Buckeyez. Fellow graduate Jon Rivera is a longtime volunteer and will be this summer's event DJ. Many NLDP graduates have helped Alex book Recess events throughout the city. Alex is a passionate leader and continues to be engaged in workforce development as well as Recess Cleveland and is constantly seeking new partnerships to help young people in Cleveland thrive.

We are excited to announce that in addition to being an amazing NLDP 
Graduate, the founder of a great organization and strong Cleveland leader...Alex is soon to add Awesome Dad to his list of accolades. Baby Robertson is coming to a pop-up playground near you in November 2019! 

NLDP Graduate Board Match Program Launches
Helping Build Strong Neighborhood Leadership on Non-profit Boards

If you were stopped on the street and asked a simple question. What percentage of NLDP's cohort of graduates currently sit on the boards of directors of non-profit organizations in Cleveland? Is it 9...17...23...29? Well as of this writing 29% of NLDP's two hundred and nine graduates are serving on non-profit boards. We hope you agree that this is an impressive number especially since it's all organic...based on the desires of our graduates without any prompting from NLDP.
The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program thinks it's a great number but believes what a wonderful thing it would be if we could increase the number...hence the Graduate Board Match Program (GBMP) was born.
The mission of the GBMP is to provide enhanced training for NLDP graduates in the area of non-profit board service while at the same time creating a pool of qualified talent available to help non-profit organizations fulfill their missions. NLDP has created, and is expanding, a special database of non-profit organizations seeking new board members and is recruiting graduates who are interested in board service. Initial matches for the first cohort of NLDP graduates in the GBMP has begun. Once the proposed matches are completed the organizations and graduates will be notified and the non-profits are encouraged to make contact.
If you're an NLDP graduate and you'd like to expand your community contribution or you're a non-profit leader and you're seeking great talent for your Board of Directors contact NLDP's Graduate Support Manager Marissa Williams by emailing her at

Graduates...RSVP for the Paint Party
RSVP to Yuolanda at!

Cohort XII...
What a Cohort Indeed

A community organizer...veteran of the Boys and Girls service professional...a barber turned community crusader...master community gardener/teacher...a cohort member who brings his violin to almost every session...a twenty-something who is very wise beyond her years and a visually impaired cohort member who sees better than most when she looks at our community. That's a small fraction of the dynamic collective that is NLDP Cohort XII.

Cohort XII, like the eleven cohorts which preceded it is the same but yet unique with their own personalities. The cohort has a great attendance record and time on task with their coaches. They have asked great questions of their facilitators and showed an overwhelming thirst for knowledge and better ways to help their communities. Oh and did we say that they are as close as Gorilla Glue on a mild day...and that's real tight.
On Wednesday, June 12th 6:00pm at Trinity Cathedral NLDP Cohort XII will complete their leadership curriculum and will don the title of NLDP graduate. Go get 'em Cohort XII!

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." - Maria Robinson

Contributed by Loretta Gray, Cohort IX
Community Innovation Network 
Cultivating a new culture of collaborative community change
NLDP facilitator Mark Chupp, NLDP Graduate Indigo Bishop, and community leader Heather Lenz are leading a new community collaboration effort, the Community Innovation Network. The Community Innovation Network is building a strong foundation for the connection between the everyday lives of individuals and the complex systems in civil society. They connect community building experts, nonprofit organizations, researchers, and people working on a grassroots level through strength-based approaches to community change.

If you are interested in learning more and connecting with other change makers in our community, check out their Innovator's Monthly Meetup. This meetup is the place for community and social change professionals to connect with peers, share wisdom and learn together. The next meetup is Friday, May 10th 12:00pm- 1:30pm. For more information, visit .

Graduate Shout Outs
Special congratulations to...

Ariana Johnson, Cohort XI, on being named a Distinguished Young Woman by the YWCA.

Robin Turner, Cohort XI,  on her new job as an Organizer with Ohio Organizing Collaborative.

Alex Robertson, Cohort IX,  on receiving the Community Spirit Award from Cuyahoga County Council.

Chrishawndra Matthews,Cohort Xon being featured in Phenomenal Woman Magazine. 

Becca Britton, Cohort II,  on being named an All Star in Our Community by Channel 3 News.

Letitia Lopez, Cohort XI, for being honored by Cleveland City Council for her work in Ward 14.

Upcoming Events in 2019...

Wednesday, May 1st
Cohort XIII Recruitment Begins
Sunday, May 19th
Graduate Paint Party at 3pm
Wednesday, June 12th
Cohort XII Graduation at Trinity at 6pm
Tuesday, June 18th New Office Open House

The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program is a Program of 
the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.