NLDP's Graduate Board Match Program Abounds

Despite the many challenges we have faced this year, The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program has continued to support our network of 253 graduates. We have shifted to providing our graduates virtual programming and educational enhancements designed to increase their leadership capabilities. One of our graduate programs - the Graduate Board Match Program (GBMP) - began its second phase, connecting a new set of graduates with non-profit boards in Cleveland.

The purpose of GBMP is to conduct a board match process for graduates seeking board service opportunities with organizations seeking new board members while providing enhanced training and support to graduates desirous of serving on the boards of non-profit organizations. Through GBMP we have doubled the number of NLDP Graduates serving on non-profit boards, from 17% to 34%. This means more of our graduates are providing the non-profit boards they serve with their passion, dedication and the leadership skills and tools they learned in NLDP.

ATTENTION CLEVELAND-AREA NON-PROFITS: If you are looking for community-oriented leaders to join your Non-profit Board of Directors, reach out to Julia at to learn more about NLDP's Graduate Board Match Program.

Hear what our graduates who have been placed on non-profit boards through GBMP Phase Two have to say:

"This match is very well aligned with my values and interests in family engagement. I am looking forward to contributing and learning how to benefit our community more and more."
...Roscoe Morgan, C-XIII, Matched to Family Connections of Northeast Ohio Board of Directors

"The NLDP Graduate Board Match Program has enabled me to continue my passion for serving youth through arts education as a Board Member of Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center. I look forward to upholding the NLDP values of leadership, integrity, and equity when carrying out my fiduciary duties."
...Kirby Suntala, C-XI, Matched to Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center Board of Directors

Coming Soon: Cohort XIV Pre-recruitment

NLDP is excited to announce that on February 1st, 2021 we will kick-off a pre-recruitment period for our next cohort, Cohort XIV. The goal of Cohort XIV Pre-recruitment is to gain a better sense of how many community leaders are interested in becoming a part of NLDP Cohort XIV and whether they feel comfortable gathering for in-person sessions, once it is safe to do so. We are hoping to begin Cohort XIV in late fall of 2021. The final decision on enrolling a new Cohort ultimately depends on the risk of COVID-19 and local and state health mandates in place at that time.

We will begin sending communications once the Cohort XIV Pre-recruitment interest form opens on February 1st and we encourage our readers to share this information with their networks. We appreciate your continued support!
Congratulations to NLDP Graduate Joe Duffy

Congratulations are in order for NLDP Graduate Joe Duffy, Cohort XII, who was recently appointed Executive Director at St. Clair Superior Development Corporation. NLDP wishes the best of luck to Joe as he begins leading residents and stakeholders in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood towards a stronger, more connected and unified community.
"The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived." - Robert Jordan
Graduates: Save the Date for NLDP's Next Virtual Capacity Building Session

NLDP's virtual Graduate Capacity Building Sessions have been active since September, occurring on a monthly basis. The purpose of the Virtual Graduate Capacity Building and Networking Project is to continue strengthening the NLDP Graduate network throughout Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs while simultaneously continuing our mission to increase the leadership capacity of all NLDP Graduates. The goal of this brand-new virtual programming is to promote graduate to graduate support and engagement in a safe way during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual sessions have covered topics such as Leading Equitably During a Twin Pandemic, Adapting to Change and Self-Care. Our upcoming virtual Graduate Capacity Building Session on Sunday, December 13th from 5-7PM is in partnership with Cleveland Dinners, a new endeavor from NLDP Graduate Ricardo Reinoso, Cohort XIII. The mission of Cleveland Dinners is to provide a safe space around the table for an honest conversation about the state of race and equity in Cleveland, in both virtual and live settings.

GRADUATES: Email Julia at to RSVP for NLDP's next virtual Graduate Capacity Building Session on Sunday, December 13th from 5-7PM.
Learn Grant Writing Online

Did you know that if you are a member at Cleveland Public Library, you have access to online databases of educational courses? Cleveland Public Library (CPL) provides cardholding members access to a variety of online courses, ranging from language courses to professional development courses. These online courses are offered to CPL members through four different platforms - Digital Learn, Gale Courses, and Rosetta Stone.

One of the platforms - Gale Courses - offers six different grant writing courses. These grant writing courses are designed to help you learn the process of grant proposal writing and how to write and develop strong, effective proposals. This could be an effective tool for NLDP Graduates as they learn and continue to develop their grant writing abilities. The grant writing courses are available in Gale Courses in their writing and publishing category.

Explore CPL's online educational resources here.
NLDP Graduate Project Spotlight: Cleveland Dinners

In the midst of all that has occurred in 2020, one NLDP Graduate decided Cleveland needed what he had to offer. NLDP Cohort XIII Graduate Ricardo Reinoso launched Cleveland Dinners in August with a mission to provide a safe space around the table for an honest conversation about the state of race and equity in Cleveland, in both virtual and live settings (Cleveland Dinners is currently virtual). The Cleveland Dinners model aims for diverse groups of people to share a meal with facilitated dialogue on race and equity, helping bridge the gap that separates many of us.

Since launching, Cleveland Dinners has hosted four virtual dinners on Zoom - two of which were test dinners to test the virtual dinner model. Each dinner includes dialogue in small breakout rooms with facilitators trained to guide conversation on race and equity. Cleveland Dinners was featured in FreshWater Cleveland in August and Fox 8 News in October.

To learn more about the project, explore the virtual dinner model and sign up to receive communications, go to

Congratulations to Ricardo Reinoso for starting a new job at Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority as Digital Inclusion Manager!
"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
PCs for Kids: Free Computers & Internet for School-aged Youth in Cuyahoga County

Through generous funding from the Cleveland Foundation and Cuyahoga County, PCs for People has launched a new program called PCs for Kids. The program gives out free computers and hotspots to K-12 students enrolled in a public or charter school in Cuyahoga County. Students or caregivers can register for a computer at Registrants will need to provide proof of enrollment, which can be any official school document that includes the student's name, name of the school, and a recent date. The student/caregiver will then be able to pick up the computer and/or hotspot at a participating public library.

PCs for People is also coordinating special distribution events around Cuyahoga County. They will work with organizations in the county to promote the event in their community and will distribute computers and hotspots from the PCs for People truck in a designated parking lot. If your organization is interested in hosting a truck event, contact PCs for People using the email address or phone number below.

Download information about the program here. If you have any questions, email or call 216-777-4441.
Graduate Shout Outs
Special congratulations to...

Chrishawndra Matthews, Cohort X, for receiving the Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award presented by The Center for Community Solutions.

Becca Britton, Cohort II, for being featured on FreshWater Cleveland.

Bianca Rozenblad, Cohort XIII, for starting a new job as Senior Program Coordinator, Digital Learning Centers at JumpStart.

Ricardo Reinoso, Cohort XIII, for being featured on Fox 8 News.

Roscoe Morgan, Cohort XIII, for being featured on Fox 8 News.

Gwen Garth, Cohort VI, for opening an art exhibit at the 5th Street Arcades in Downtown Cleveland.

Chanell Boyd, Cohort XII, for being featured in FreshWater Cleveland.
Grow With S.E.E.D.S. Virtual Educational Series for Women in Cleveland

Freshly Rooted, an initiative in Cleveland focused on empowering individuals to make healthy and sustainable food and lifestyle choices, has teamed up with Councilwoman Jasmin Santana to host a women's empowerment and development program. Sessions will occur weekly each month through February 2021, covering different topics each month, and are free for women who live in Cleveland.

January's sessions will occur weekly on Saturday mornings from 9-10:30am. January's topic will be "Let's Reset Our Health" and will explore the power of hydration, whole foods vs processed foods and reveal the truth about sugar to incorporate simple techniques to reset our health in the new year. February's sessions will occur weekly on Monday evenings from 6-7:30pm. February's topic will be "Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals" and will help participants assess and identify where more balance is needed in their life while helping them learn to set S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

For more information about the S.E.E.D.S. virtual educational series, download this PDF and sign up for sessions here.

Thank you to NLDP Graduate Elana Zollars-Almaleki, Cohort XIII, for sharing!
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” - Maria Robinson
Recipes from NLDP Staff Kitchens: Holiday Banana Pudding

Quick & Easy Holiday Banana Pudding
Recipe shared by Yuolanda Murray, NLDP Program Associate

  • 3-5 ripe bananas, depending on size
  • 1 box vanilla wafers 
  • 6-8 3.35oz regular or fat-free vanilla pudding cups
  • Redi Whip
  • Red sprinkles
  • Mini candy canes

  • 4-6 individual containers, such as 8oz plastic cups or wine glasses
  • 1 tbsp measuring spoon
  • Butter knife
  • Crumble 1 to 1-1/2 cup of vanilla wafers by hand
  • Slice bananas with butterknife
  • Layer whole vanilla wafers and crumbled wafers
  • Layer sliced bananas
  • Layer 1 tbsp of vanilla pudding
  • Continue layering wafers, bananas and pudding until about 3/4 to 1-inch from top of container
  • Cover top pudding layer with crumbled wafers

Top with Redi Whip, red sprinkles and a mini candy cane immediately prior to serving (if storing in the refrigerator, leave these toppings off until ready to serve).

Makes 4-6 servings, depending on container size.

Video of the Month: Recess Cleveland

To better market our videos on the NLDP YouTube page, we will be featuring one Graduate Grant video each month on our Graduate Alerts and Newsletters. NLDP Graduates who apply for an NLDP Graduate Support Grant have the opportunity to request funds for a marketing video. We will be featuring these Graduate Grant videos over the next several months so you can learn more about what other graduates are doing in Cleveland.

This month's video features Alex Robertson, C-IX, and his organization Recess Cleveland. Watch here!
The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program is a Program of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.