On July 1, 2013, Kathryn Kazol will be retiring as the founding executive director of Emerald Development & Economic Network Inc., but her legacy is an entire organization. It’s an organization capable of administering complex housing programs that serve more than 3,500 Cuyahoga County residents while remaining fiscally sound and simultaneously retaining the founding principles of treating people with dignity and respect.
Also known as EDEN, the organization provides, operates and advocates for safe, decent, affordable housing and support services for persons living with disabilities or special needs who have low incomes and may be experiencing homelessness. Starting with one group home in Cleveland Heights in 1991, EDEN now owns more than 80 properties in Cuyahoga County, operates six large-scale permanent supportive housing apartment buildings and administers housing vouchers that allow the disabled to rent from private landlords in neighborhoods of their choice.
As evidenced by the long waiting lists for EDEN housing, the organization fills a critical demand in the community. Kazol has achieved this success by using many for-profit business principles. She forecasts the economic landscape and specific program budgets. She expands when expansion serves the mission of EDEN, fills a community demand and is fiscally sustainable. She demands accountability from herself and her staff.
Throughout her tenure she has demonstrated sound, consistent and innovative leadership within EDEN’s organization and throughout the community. On the local front and on the national level, EDEN has been cutting edge. The fact that the organization has grown and thrived through both boom and bust financial periods over two decades is a true testament to Kazol’s leadership and ability to develop a solid foundation for EDEN’s future.
How to reach: Emerald Development & Economic Network Inc., (216) 961-9690 or www.edeninc.org