It’s still September but we’re ready to say that this was one of our best years yet in Cleveland. Really! All across the city, neighbors proved what we’ve long known—when you set out to get good done, Clevelanders are ready to lend you a hand.
Earlier this year we launched three crowdfunding matches—the Common Ground match with support from The Cleveland Foundation and Neighborhood Connections, the Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Match Fund with support from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, and the Racial Equity Matching Fund with support from Neighborhood Connections. With ioby’s match fund opportunities, resident donations on ioby.org are matched dollar for dollar, helping to grow neighbor’s impact even further. We closed out all three matches last month, and all told neighbors have crowdfunded over $180,000 together to fight for racial justice, bring art and cultural opportunities to the neighborhood, bridge divides to strengthen our communities, and grow our movement for positive civic change.
In Shaker Heights Lindsay Marcus, Nancy King Smith, and a group of their neighbors crowdfunded to update the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland’s playground so that it would be safer and more welcoming. “The June Common Ground discussion about what makes for a good neighborhood environment set the stage for a wildly successful ioby campaign to raise over $4,000 for redoing the playground,” Nancy said. “In July, dozens of neighborhood and congregation folks spent the day installing and painting the new playground.” It was an awesome idea thought up by the kids in the neighborhood, and that got a boost from the Common Ground match.
Though systemic racism can often feel like an overwhelming challenge to tackle, Recess Cleveland, and others, offered a powerful reminder that there are still lots of things you can do to join the fight for racial justice—wherever you are, and with whatever power you have. Recess Cleveland raised $3,800 with the Racial Equity Matching Fund to host 60 opportunities for families to get outside and play together, and give kids an opportunity to exercise and learn through play—something kids of color are statistically less likely to have as part of their school curricula.
And with the Cuyahoga Arts & Culture match, The Great Lakes African American Writers Conference & Youth Poetry Slam crowdfunded over $7,000 to help bring the conference to life at the end of the month. The funds will help bring writers from across the region together to network, share their work, and it’ll help give writers of color a boost as they pursue their craft in a challenging world.
All of the projects that crowdfunded with ioby were unique. But behind each and every one of them was a group of neighbors who took a look around and decided to get the community together to make the places we call home a little stronger, a little more fair, and a little more awesome.
“The projects that Clevelanders are working on are by and for our neighbors. Residents are literally sitting up front leading the way,” Dawn Arrington, our Cleveland Action Strategist, said. “They’re using the expertise they have as members of the community and they’re making decisions together about what our neighborhood’s most need. To me, that’s a transformative way of making change.”
We think it’s transformative too. All those dollars raised and projects completed add up to a wider movement of community-led positive change across the city, and across the country. It means tipping the scale towards the leadership of everyday leaders, and strengthening our collective civic muscle. That’s a pretty big deal, and we’re so proud to be a part of the movement in Cleveland. Thanks for being a part of it too.
Here’s to getting even more good done in Cleveland!
Ready to join our movement of positive civic change? We want to help! Share your idea with us at ioby.org/idea