Volume 1: Issue 2
August 1, 2017


Too often the most valuable thing in an organization is also the most underappreciated. That is how I feel about strategy.
Strategy is how an organization can grow from  good  to  great . It is intentional. It is innovative. In ODA's case, it is bold.  

Jason Shefrin / ODA Board President

ODA's Board of Directors loves this organization because of its ability to positively affect the lives of hundreds of kids. But we knew that ODA could do more.
So, last year we approved a strategic plan that stretches to 2019, but its vision goes even further. Serve more kids? Not exactly. The strategic plan does not ask ODA to become Cleveland's largest after-school agency. Rather, the plan envisions creating Greater Cleveland's best out-of-school educational enrichment program.
How? First, we want to build on the success of our programming models for middle school and high school. Second, we want to validate those models through rigorous analysis and testing. Third, we want to use our experience and programs to influence the national conversation on education.
That is how we are going to positively impact the lives of millions of children across the country.
If you are interested in learning more about this plan, you can read about it below.
I am proud of how far ODA has come since I joined the board. But I am excited by how much farther ODA can go.

Jason Shefrin


This month's featured staff member is Rebecca Dios. You may not know that ODA has been working with EDSI, a community partner, on designing a custom Customer Relationship Management(CRM) system to track its data. Rebecca has been spearheading that process, and she is looking forward to its full implementation in the 2017-2018 programming year. 

Rebecca loves that her job is anything but mundane. Each day is completely different from the day before, and she appreciates the challenge and level of engagement required. 

While Rebecca is technically a member of the office admin team, she is one of the few team members who is fortunate enough to interact frequently with our scholars and families - a perk of the many hats she wears. 

To learn more about Becca's background, experience, and other hobbies, you can visit her staff bio here.


A group of 35 ODA scholars and 6 staff members took part in a week-long service trip to Harlan, Kentucky. 

While there, scholars volunteered each day with an affordable housing organization. They built a house, bonded as a family, and grew as community leaders. Thank you for your service and welcome back! 


One of the first summer camps this year was Mime: Motivation in Motion, designed and led by ODA Assistant Coordinator Tessa Scott.


A contributing factor to the transition in ODA's high school model is the recognition of the growing need for an emphasis on workforce development and career readiness. Cuyahoga county is not alone. Check out this article on what employers in Medina county are doing to help their workers take it to the next level. 

You can find it here.


Many are aware that education is one of the most reliable ways to escape poverty. What many do not realize, however, is that it does not take a bachelor's degree to do it. 

In fact, thirty percent of associate's degree holders earn more money than individuals who have a bachelor's degree. Here are thirty examples of careers that earn an average of $50,000 or more that only require an associate's degree


The entire team at ODA has been hard at work over the last year beginning the  implementation of its 2016-2019 Strategic Plan. This plan, which is the first part of a larger initiative, is about "getting great" in Cleveland.  In order to "get great," the 2016-2019's prioritizes the following issues:
Evaluating our approach
We have been exploring best practices across the country in the field of out-of-school education. Look for some exciting opportunities and news this fall.
Bolstering ODA Governance
We want to support the dedicated, volunteer members of ODA's Board of Directors. ODA will accomplish this by refining board recruitment, policies, training, and coaching.

Strengthening ODA Management
A great company needs great management. That requires clarity in roles, responsibilities, and structure. It also requires third-party evaluation on the efficiency and effectiveness of ODA's management structure. 
Expanding ODA Fund Development
Unlike schools, ODA does not receive support from property taxes, tuition, or per-pupil calculations. Unlike many other nonprofits, there is no reimbursement for our services. In order to continue, ODA is implementing an innovative Fund Diversification Plan with the aim of increasing individual and corporate support while decreasing reliance on governmental grants.
Improving ODA Operations
We have strengthened ODA's budget reporting, and we are developing a "pricing model" and cost-per-participant ratio. These tools, combined with an organization-wide continuous improvement process, will help us maximize our impact and minimize costs.
Boosting ODA programs
ODA offers the only seven-year, year-round, out-of-school educational enrichment program in Northeast Ohio. (We know. That's a mouthful.) We have been studying best practices across the country, and we are excited about the opportunities to strengthen our program and provide great professional development for our staff.
Ramping up ODA communications
Because we make a long-term investment in our scholars, we also make a long-term investment in the communities we serve. Our dual newsletters are just one part of ODA's efforts to improve its visibility in Greater Cleveland and overall communication with staff. Our new External Communications Plan will continue this momentum.
These are just the foundations of our 2016-2019 Strategic Plan. We will continue to update you on new developments, successes, and the challenges that we encounter as ODA goes from good to  great.


6/12 - 8/11

ODA Summer Camps
Questions about which camps are being held this month? Check out the summer camp schedule here.


Family Department Finance Series, Part 3
Come join the ODA family team for the third and final part of their summer financial series. 

8/4 - 8/6

Ohio Back to School Sales Tax Holiday
The state of Ohio is looking to help with back to school shopping. During these three days, no sales tax will be charged on the following items: clothing priced under $75 per article, school supplies priced under $20 per item, school instructional material priced under $20 per item. Please be sure to get the word out to your scholars and families!


Family Movie Night: Finding Dory
Are you a Disney/Pixar fan? If so, you won't want to miss the final Family Movie Night of the year. Come enjoy some popcorn and good company for this final summer family series event. 

8/30 - 8/31

Staff Retreat
It's time for our annual staff retreat at the beautiful Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake. Please keep an eye on your e-mail for all of the important details in the near future. 

R&R Day - Enjoy!


Labor Day - ODA Offices Closed

Major gifts and grants to Open Doors Academy come from:

The Abington Foundation, The Ames Family Foundation, Barbara McWilliams and Tom Paraino, Bruening Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, CDBG, Cleveland Clinic, Deaconess Foundation, Dr. Malcolm Kenney, John Morley, 
Higley Fund, The Kelvin & Eleanor Smith Foundation, Key Bank Foundation, Lubrizol Foundation, The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of Education, The Reinberger Foundation, Robert Immerman, Saint Luke's Foundation, Starting Point, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, The Thomas H. White Foundation, Third Federal Foundation, The Treu-Mart Fund, United Way of Greater Cleveland. 

For more information about gifts and  giving, please visit