Protect. Inspire. Nurture. Challenge.
December 5, 2017

Annemarie Grassi 
ODA Chief Executive Officer

We feel it's important to stay connected with our ODA alumni to see how they are doing, where they are, and what is going on in their lives. I was excited by what I recently learned from them, and I wanted to share these updates with you. 

Of those who have responded so far:
  • 63% are working full-time, with an average salary of $46,679,
  • 52% bought their own car,
  • 52% are in committed, long-term relationships,
  • 30% are pursuing a Master's Degree or doctoral work, and
  • 4% serve in the US military.
Let's remember that these are kids who were raised in high-risk environments, and whose families weren't always able to provide the support and opportunities that benefitted other kids.

Take Michelle, for example. Michelle joined ODA in 2006, graduated from Cleveland Heights High School, and is now a first-year graduate student at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. Reflecting on her experience with ODA over the Thanksgiving holiday, she said that she traces her dream back to ODA internships with veterinary offices. However, her vision of success doesn't stop there:

Not only do I want to be a veterinarian, I also want to be a mentor to young minorities with a passion in veterinary medicine. I want to intern students like me who may not have gotten the same opportunities as their peers to succeed in this career.

She understands that success means giving opportunity to others. (I'd like to think that this means all of ODA's service-learning projects have paid off!)

So, when we asked ODA scholars about the future during the summer's Annual Report Summer Camp, their responses reflected what they experience going on in the world today:

In the future, hunger will cause us to rethink food. -Zayda Stormer, 8th Grade

In the future, healthcare will be for everyone. -Kayla Moore, 7th Grade
In the future, families will love more. -Curtis Fann, 7th Grade

That future is up to you.

This season, we all have a choice to make. In the future, ODA will be:


◻︎ Able to serve more scholars.

◻︎ Unable to serve more scholars.


Even a small gift can make a huge difference.

The future is up to you.


Annemarie M. Grassi, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer


ODA worked with four Baldwin Wallace students in the Jacket Philanthropy Program (JPP) this fall. As part of their business class, they wrote a grant to create onboarding videos for ODA's new hires.

Last week, Baldwin Wallace University and the JPP announced the grant winners, which included ODA and a gift of $2,800!

Thank you to the student-led team who made this happen. 


If you visit Open Doors Academy's alumni campus at Euclid High School, you will find 43 college- and career-bound scholars engaging in our Pathways to Independence Program. The newly designed Pathway to Independence Program provides our alumni scholars with academic tutoring, ACT Prep, college and career readiness workshops, and curriculum on the core competencies to adulthood. 

With 13 seniors among our scholars, many have already completed college credit plus courses through the Lakeshore Compact Program, and they earned college credit that will help scholars meet their future career goals. Scholars are excited and fully prepared to take advantage of opportunities provided by Open Doors Academy to explore future pathways. 

Our scholars particularly enjoy the bonds that have been created in and beyond Euclid. In fact, 10 Euclid scholars recently joined high school scholars from other ODA campuses in the Fall College Tour, which included visits to Kent State University, Ashland University, and Ohio University.


In her most recent blog for BOOST Cafe, Annemarie reflects on the tactical changes she has made over to become the best leader she can be. She shares some of the challenges and successes she has overcome along the way. 

BOOST Cafe is an online community for leaders in Out-of-School Time from across the country. 


Gift Wrapping Party
ODA parents and volunteers get together from 4:30-8:00 PM for an evening of wrapping holiday gifts for scholars. If you're interested in volunteering, email Maggie Wingenfeld at


ODA Career Fair
ODA scholars from each campus will come together for a day of meeting professionals and  learning about different careers.


Annual ODA Holiday Dinner & Dance
ODA celebrates the holidays in style with semi-formal family event and evening of dancing, food, and a visit from Santa!


ODA Adopt-a-Family Distribution Day
One of ODA Staff's favorite days of the year! We spend the day spreading cheer and delivering gifts to families adopted by our amazing donors. 

12/25/17 - 1/5/18

Winter Break
The ODA Office and Campuses will be closed during the Holidays.

Engage with ODA. Follow us on social media:
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