The Cleveland Foundation will administer a sustaining fund that will be used to allocate proceeds from the new Pillar Award for Community Service.
The Pillar Award program, created in partnership between Medical Mutual of Ohio and Small Business News, identifies and honors companies of all sizes for outstanding contributions to their community.
The program is accepting nominations through Sept. 30 (see page 53), which will be judged by an independent panel of community leaders.
Honorees will be featured in the December issue of SBN and at a special banquet on Dec. 3, 1998.
Proceeds from the event will be donated to Greater Cleveland's non-profit community through a sustaining fund managed by The Cleveland Foundation. The fund will be non-allocated, meaning the Cleveland Foundation will determine its best use on a year-to-year basis.
"Our goal is to have an impact," says Robert G. Rosenbaum, editor of SBN. "The 40 or so people who work at SBN's headquarters give very generously to charitable causes, but we can only do so much. That's a frustration we have. But if we leverage the collective power of our audience and advertisers, we think we can do more.
"It's an especially important message today in light of BP's planned departure to Chicago. [Its predecessor] Standard Oil helped to invent the concept of community service, and to witness how fast a company can uproot itself after more than a century of philanthropy is a frightening prospect for anybody who cares about their home town."
Rosenbaum says the magazine has committed to a minimum donation of $10,000, and adds, "We think we can do far better as the Pillar Award program matures over the years."
In other Pillar Award news, Executive Caterers at Landerhaven signed on as a corporate sponsor. Medical Mutual of Ohio is the event's founding sponsor.
They're a tad less "aussem" now
In a development that has received far too little attention, Cleveland's best-named law firm has undergone a change in names that threatens to undermine its radical distinctiveness.
For years, the firm of Seeley Savidge & Aussem turned a thousand heads as they happened by it in the phone book or on a sign somewhere. One could almost read the momentary confusion on the perplexed faces of those first encountering the name: Is this another lawyer joke or is that the actual name of a firm? For others, the string of names conjured to mind the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who wrote that, absent rules governing human conduct, life is "nasty, brutish and short." But none of it did any harm to the firm's client development. What client, after all, wouldn't want to march into court or a deposition backed by counselors whose name sounds like a troupe of steroid-popping pro wrestlers?
Alas, all good things came to an end. Partner Jim Aussem, who prepped at Ernst & Young before joining the firm, has left to open a Cleveland office for the prominent Akron firm of Brouse & McDowell.
The firm's new name, by the way, is Seeley Savidge & Ebert. Just doesn't have quite the same ring to it, now does it?
At least we're not last
Every state likes to brag that it's a hospitable climate for business, and Ohio's no different. But what about the climate for entrepreneurship?
That's where Ohio comes up short, in the opinion of one long-outspoken small-business advocate. For the last three years, the chief economist of the Small Business Survival Foundation, Raymond Keating, has prepared what he calls his Small Business Survival Index, a state-by-state ranking of the environment for entrepreneurship.
His latest offering, the 1998 index, places Ohio a "wretched" 46th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Only Rhode Island, Oregon, Minnesota, Hawaii and D.C., in that order, fared worse. South Dakota, not exactly known as a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, ranked first.
"Ohio entrepreneurs do receive a boost from fairly low sales taxes," he notes. "However, Ohio imposes fairly high personal income and capital gains taxes, a high corporate income-tax rate, a death tax reaching beyond the federal pickup level, a high health-insurance tax, and a very high electric utilities tax."
The rankings are based on criteria that include: the total crime rate and the tax rates for personal income, capital gains, corporate income, property, sales, unemployment, health insurance, electric utilities and workers' comp.
For the complete index, plus Keating's no-nonsense views on other political developments as they affect small business, check the Small Business Survival Foundation's Web site, at www.sbsc.org.
"This problem knows no age limit. People in their 70s cheat."
Kay Wallis, HR director for a midsized Cleveland manufacturer, of the widespread propensity of job applicants to cheat on drug tests
Ups and downs
Downs to BP America and its move to Amoco's Windy City office building. But at least all those years of hand-wringing over Cleveland's declining oil business have finally ended. Hang on: Banking's next.
Ups to online banking. Customers can now check their account balances and pay bills from home computers. That is... if they can bump their kids off the World Wide Web.
Downs to private prisons. Good business concept - the more prisoners they keep, the more money they make. Too bad the profits keep walking out the door.
Ups to Medical Mutual of Ohio for expanding services to the poor and elderly. Not to downplay the profit potential in administration of Medicare and Medicaid programs. But it's not easy money, so this decision is more than pocket-deep.
Downs to the Asia Flu for infecting local manufacturers. Exports are down, and so are stock prices. This is one fortune cookie everyone could have done without.
Downs to Cleveland Indians stock - worth a fraction of its IPO price. It looks more like wallpaper than an investment. We called it months ago. Let's hope on-field performance isn't tied to per share value.