Generational commitment Featured

9:42am EDT November 22, 2004
The Ratner family's years of giving have set the tone for what the Forest City Charitable Foundation has become -- an organization that invests in human capital and effects positive change in the communities Forest City serves.

The foundation accomplishes this through $2 million in annual contributions, concentrated in the Cleveland area, and through hundreds of employee volunteers who serve on boards, run in races, participate in book sales and give countless numbers of hours to local health and human service agencies.

As Albert Ratner, co-chairman of the board of directors for Forest City Enterprises often says, "You can accomplish so much more together than anyone could alone."

Forest City associates prove that true each day, whether working at a Cleveland school, raising money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation or volunteering at local service agencies across the United States during the company's first national volunteer day, in which 400 associates in Cleveland and 1,000 nationwide participated.

Forest City's associates often initiate their own fund-raising efforts for events such as Race for the Cure and other walks benefiting the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and others. Forest City responds with matching contributions.

"We believe by building communities physically with the projects we do and, most importantly, by building the human capacity in the communities in which we operate, that we make every place better and we improve the quality of life," says Chuck Ratner, the company's CEO.

One example of Forest City's commitment to the community is its participation in the Business/School Partnership Program.

For the past 17 years, Forest City Enterprises has given the bulk of its time and financial contributions to the betterment of Thomas Jefferson Middle School on West 46th Street in Cleveland. As part of the program, Forest City employees have helped thousands of school students receive a better education on Cleveland's near-West side.

The company has completed general improvements at the school, such as painting and carpeting. It also holds fund-raisers, such as an annual book sale, it sponsors a week during which employees read to students, offers a monthly shadowing program in which a student spends half a day with a Forest City employee, helps finance graduation ceremonies and awards grants to teachers to implement new programs.

A paid Forest City employee works at the school to coordinate the company's volunteer efforts.

Last year alone, the company donated more than $50,000 for various programs at the school.

How to reach: Forest City Enterprises, (216) 621-6060