Celebrating the culture of community service
Medical Mutual, along with co-founding partner, Smart Business, is proud to present the 21st annual Pillar Awards for Community Service.
The Pillar Awards recognize organizations that set the standard for outstanding service to their communities.
These organizations’ service efforts take many forms, including volunteer time, charitable giving and pro bono support. What all our honorees have in common, though, is the culture they have built where service is ingrained in their values and employees are empowered to support their communities.
At Medical Mutual, we strive to embody a culture of service. As a company dedicated to our Ohio customers and employees, we have a responsibility to support the local communities where we live and work. When businesses help those in need, we strengthen our entire community.
One of the Pillar Awards that will be presented is a special honor given to a company whose employees best exemplify the values of Medical Mutual’s own Employee SHARE Program. SHARE stands for serve, help, aid, reach and educate.
Our SHARE Program is the heart and soul of Medical Mutual’s community service effort. Through our employees’ generosity and passion, the program coordinates more than 50 events in support of nonprofit and community agencies. Last year, our employees spent more than 5,800 hours aiding area organizations.
We are proud to be in the company of extraordinary organizations that improve the communities we serve. Together, through our culture of service, we are building stronger communities.
On behalf of Medical Mutual and Smart Business, we congratulate all our 2018 Pillar Award recipients.
Chairman, president and CEO
Medical Mutual of Ohio
Pillar Award honorees
Fred DiSanto, chairman and CEO
Fred DiSanto has always had a strong competitive spirit that dates all the way back to his time as a three-sport star athlete at Saint Ignatius High School. That drive and determination is still very present in his leadership as chairman and CEO at Ancora, both from a business standpoint and through the company’s philanthropic efforts.
Ancora supported 68 different organizations with monetary contributions through the first eight months of 2018, surpassing the number of organizations the company helped in 2017.
In addition to these corporate financial contributions, there are many more causes individually supported by Ancora employees, including DiSanto, who himself supported 15 different causes through the year’s first eight months.
Ancora encourages its employees to become involved in causes that are personally meaningful. Many employees choose to support organizations by serving on a board, while others walk, run or bike to aid fundraising efforts for events such as Walk MS, Cleveland Clinic’s VeloSano and The Gathering Place’s Race for the Place.
Still others donate time and resources to animal rescue groups, youth programming and more. The company also has a number of employees serving on the boards of not-for-profit organizations. Ancora is proud to make every effort to improve its surrounding communities and make an impact in the lives of others.
Ancora recently entered into a multi-year corporate sponsorship agreement with The Foundry, Cleveland’s community rowing and sailing center that is home to a number of local high school rowing teams. Ancora prefers to partner with organizations that are making a positive difference in the community. ●
Dworken & Bernstein Co. LPA
Patrick J. Perotti, senior partner and head of class action department
About 14 years ago, during a final settlement procedure in one of his cases, Patrick J. Perotti discovered a little-known doctrine called cy-pres. It was during the final stages of this settlement agreement when it was discovered there was money left over from the class action case — not all of the participants filled out their form or cashed the checks they received. Perotti serves as senior partner at Dworken & Bernstein Co. LPA and head of the firm’s class action department.
Both Perotti and defense counsel did some research and discovered that cy-pres, a very ancient doctrine, allows for unclaimed funds to be distributed to charity. It was then determined for that particular case that one-half of the funds would go to charity and the other half back to the defendant.
However, going forward, Perotti made it a point to always require a determination be made where such unclaimed funds would go in any future settlement agreement. By doing so, it allows the court — or the parties by agreement — to put these funds to beneficial use.
During the past 14 years, $37 million dollars in unclaimed funds has been distributed throughout Northeast Ohio to a wide variety of charities and nonprofits. Perotti and his firm founded Ohio Lawyers Give Back to actively teach and encourage the wide use of cy-pres throughout Ohio and across the country. If it were used in every class action case filed solely in Ohio, more than $60 million each year would go to charities and nonprofits. ●
Hard Rock Rocksino/Northfield Park Associates
Mark A. Birtha, president
Mark A. Birtha is a highly regarded gaming and hospitality executive with more than 25 years of experience in the world of casino resort hotels. At the same time, he understands the importance of giving back and has brought his philanthropic spirit to his role as president of Hard Rock Rocksino/Northfield Park Associates.
Since its opening, Rocksino has donated over $3.3 million in gifts and in-kind support to various philanthropic organizations in Northeast Ohio. The company has been a success operationally, as it was named Hard Rock International’s Casino of the Year in 2014 and 2016. As president, Birtha has overseen the Rocksino’s multiple expansions and successes, paving the way for more opportunities to give back.
Birtha not only gives financially, he also makes time for mentoring students, hosting charity events and supporting veterans, as well as participating in various charitable activities in the region. He has been a board member at Susan G. Komen® Northeast Ohio since 2017, was an honoree and speaker for the Human Rights Campaign in Ohio in 2017, and served as honorary chair of the 2017 Urban League of Greater Cleveland’s 100th anniversary gala.
Outside of work, Birtha has a passion for mentoring future leaders. In 2011, he was appointed president of the national executive board of the Cornell Hotel Society, the 90-year-old alumni association that represents 12,500 Hotel School graduates from around the world. Birtha has been a regular lecturer at the Hotel School, which is now part of the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. ●
Home Instead Senior Care
Therese Zdesar, CEO
Home Instead Senior Care is a health service organization dedicated to providing personalized, quality private-duty home care to seniors in Northeast Ohio who are in need of the support. Under the leadership of CEO Therese Zdesar, Home Instead Senior Care’s philosophy is “we are dedicated to our community through personal volunteer time, sharing of employee talents, community outreach programs and financial contributions.”
In 2018, the Be A Santa to a Senior program collected gifts for over 1,000 seniors in Lake, Geauga and Portage counties. The project requires yearlong planning, coordinating with community partners, local chambers of commerce and major local shopping malls. Those involved work closely with local nonprofits that serve the elderly to identify needy seniors who could benefit from the program. This part of the process involves engagement with local hospitals, nursing homes, attorney guardianship offices, senior centers and local offices on aging.
The program showcases best practices that can occur when the for-profit and nonprofit worlds come together in a spirit of volunteerism to help those in need. As a result of economic uncertainty, many organizations have seen charitable contributions decrease over the past few years.
Conversely, Home Instead Senior Care has seen significant growth in its Be A Santa to a Senior program and is committed to its continued expansion. When the Be A Santa to a Senior program launched in 2004, Home Instead Senior Care collected gifts for 186 seniors. It now brings joy to seniors across Northeast Ohio. ●
LeafFilter Gutter Protection
Matt Kaulig, CEO and owner
The strength of LeafFilter Gutter Protection lies in its local connections, and having a leader in CEO and owner Matt Kaulig who has empowered his employees to get involved in their communities. With 52 offices and over 1,500 employees across the country, this impact has spread on a large scale. LeafFilter establishes projects in the communities it serves either by working with local organizations or developing relationships with the community itself.
In May 2018, Kaulig and his LeafFilter employees organized a walk to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Team LeafFilter raised $5,375 at the 5K event through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Two months later, the team was back at it supporting the LeBron James Family Foundation and the I Promise School in Akron. LeafFilter supplied backpacks filled with school supplies for every student at the school.
Kaulig is a founding member of Santa PICsU, a 501(c)3 organization that brings the “healing power of giving” to children and families in traumatic situations on a year-round basis.
Santa PICsU raises money to fulfill wish lists for those who are in pediatric care. The team works with the pediatric intensive care units to find children and parents who are most in need of this support. All the gift buying, wrapping, delivering and accounting, along with the management of the foundation, is done in-house and on a volunteer basis. All the money that is raised goes to children and families in traumatic situations. LeafFilter has also made donations to Akron Children’s Hospital to support its neonatal intensive care unit. ●
John Wargo, Vice president
Quicken Loans and Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland have built a special relationship over the years. It dates back to 2010 with what began as a simple clean-up day and meal preparation. It has grown into a complete embrace of Ronald McDonald House by the local Quicken Loans team, led by Vice President John Wargo. The effort has provided thousands of meals to families who rely on the nonprofit for support during the difficult time of a child receiving medical treatment.
The Quicken Loans team piloted a program to serve families in the Ronald McDonald Family Room locations within UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Children’s, MetroHealth Medical Center and Fairview Hospital by providing healthy brown bag lunches.
This was in direct response to a cry for help from parents who didn’t want to leave their children or were unable to pay for more expensive meal options within the medical facility. By providing free, healthy food through the “Fuel For Families Program,” caregivers do not sacrifice their own nutrition and well-being, or incur more expenses during this critical time. They can focus their energy on helping their children get well.
In the first several months of the program, the Quicken Loans team delivered more than 250 meals. Based on participant feedback, the program was a big success. Quicken Loans continues to help and is dedicated to continuing the program’s outreach. The culture of service is evident in every interaction with staff, volunteers and families. ●
State Industrial Products
Seth Uhrman, CEO
State Industrial Products has been a family-owned business for over a century. The leaders of the company have always been heavily involved in community service initiatives and CEO Seth Uhrman is no exception. He takes a hands-on approach and rolls up his sleeves to deliver food baskets, cut lawns or even spend a couple hours in jail for a good cause. The company seeks to convey a message that it isn’t just writing checks to charities. It is striving to take a more active role in interacting with civic leaders and the people they serve.
Over the past five years, State Industrial Products has become a major supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and was honored in May for donating more than $100,000 to help grant wishes to children with critical illnesses. The fundraising endeavors have been creative enough to garner media attention, but more importantly, have brought employees and the local community closer together.
For example, in 2015, employees orchestrated an elaborate raid involving the mayor of Mayfield Heights and local police officers. Eight top executives were arrested and jailed with “bail” set for $5,000. Within the two-hour window they were given to raise the money and secure their release, they had brought in more than $10,000 in donations for Make-A-Wish.
In 2016, the company transformed its offices into a superhero city to support a local child’s wish for a game room. Employees organized and participated in the reveal party, dressing up in costume, delivering surprise gifts and generally going above and beyond to make it a memorable event for everyone involved. ●
The Garland Co. Inc.
David Sokol, president
It all started with a simple Relay for Life event held in the summer of 2010 and has evolved into so much more. In the eight years since, employees at The Garland Co. Inc., led by President David Sokol, have used their Spirit Week initiative to raise more than $400,000 for charities in Northeast Ohio and across the country. Over time, it’s also become a way for employees to support each other during their own moments of need.
The first opportunity came in 2012 when the wife of California-based Garland sales rep Miles Taylor was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer at the age of 28. Not long after that, one of Garland’s own board members was also diagnosed with lung cancer. Feeling helpless, but wanting to show as much support as he could, Garland decided its Spirit Week charity in 2013 would be the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, an organization that supports lung cancer research and advocacy, and was providing help, support and comfort to the Taylors through their long and difficult journey.
Sadly, just three years later, two more Garland family members received cancer diagnoses. Heather Vogt, a graphic designer and videographer in the company’s marketing department for nearly two decades, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the wife of Garland’s general manager, Scott Craft, was diagnosed with a rare bile duct cancer that required a liver transplant.
Garland’s employees rallied behind their colleagues and raised the largest Spirit Week donation ever: $80,573 for the Ohio Cancer Research fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting aggressive cancer research. ●
Medical Mutual SHARE Award
David Kempton, area president
Gallagher takes great pride in being an ethical and socially responsible company, where philanthropy is an important part of the corporate culture. This spirit of giving enables the insurance and risk management company to make a significant difference in the communities that it serves. The company is led locally by Area President David Kempton.
As Gallagher approached its 90th year in business, there was a desire to do something special to commemorate the historic milestone. Beginning Oct. 2, 2017, and continuing through Sept. 30, 2018, Gallagher employees were challenged to reach a goal of performing 90,000 hours of additional volunteer service. As the end of this yearlong effort drew near, it appeared as though the team would be very close to meeting this ambitious objective.
With so many Gallagher employees taking advantage of the opportunity to be active in organizations that are important to them, it creates an environment where volunteers are often sought to fill more customized needs. Earlier this year, one nonprofit organization that an employee is involved with had a need for social media marketing to promote a large upcoming event. The nonprofit did not have anyone on its staff or board with the requisite experience, so Gallagher’s marketing team volunteered to assist with the marketing plan, training and execution.
In addition to employee and corporate-driven volunteer efforts, Gallagher has a nonprofit specialty practice area in Northeast Ohio. With a team dedicated to servicing these clients, the company works with more than 90 nonprofit organizations across the state. Team members actively participate in events and fundraisers put on by these organizations, and support them through donations and by once again providing additional employee volunteers where possible.
Many Gallagher employees also are active board members on local nonprofit and city council boards. Of its 84 local employees, 24 of them are current board or committee members with a nonprofit organization.
Gallagher has an online portal called Your Cause, which allows employees to make donation matches to eligible charities, and track volunteer hours and environmental sustainability activities in its communities. With the company match, Gallagher can submit any donation over $50 to have it matched by the corporate office.
This allows the company to double its support to organizations that are important to Gallagher. With the willingness of Gallagher team members to go above and beyond, it only makes sense that the company would have its own fund. The Gallagher Ohio Employee Giving Fund was established as a donor-advised fund of the Cleveland Foundation in 2009. The fund’s goal is to provide financial support for nonprofit organizations located in Northern Ohio by direct grant recommendations funded by employee contributions and fundraising activities. ●
Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award
Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE
President and CEO, The MetroHealth System
The people who work with Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, call it “Boutros time.” It describes the unbelievably brief amount of time it takes The MetroHealth System’s president and CEO to turn a bold idea into reality. Consider the creation of the nation’s first public high school inside a hospital, an initiative that could have easily taken years. In “Boutros time,” students were attending health and science classes inside MetroHealth less than three months after the idea was unveiled.
Then there is House Bill 111, legislation passed last summer that, among other things, allows MetroHealth — for the first time in its 181-year history — to provide care for patients outside Cuyahoga County. The amendment was crafted, voted on in committee, passed by the House and Senate and signed by the Gov. John Kasich — all in about 45 days.
Since arriving in 2013, Boutros, always in fifth gear, has led what has been described by hospital personnel as a “Metro-morphosis.”
If you listed his accomplishments without knowing where he works, you’d think Boutros leads a thriving private business, not a public hospital. Consider his impact:
Strong financial performance — MetroHealth has operated in the black each of Boutros’ five years as CEO. Revenue has risen 44 percent and patient visits are up 40 percent. Two dozen new care locations are open throughout the county and innovative community programs have been launched. More than 1,400 jobs have been added to the local economy. The portion of the system’s budget covered by county taxpayers has dwindled to only 2.9 percent.
Audacious plans — Last summer, to rave reviews, MetroHealth unveiled the stunning design of its new hospital, the crown jewel of a billion-dollar campus transformation. Boutros’ plans extend beyond concrete, steel and glass, however. He has given MetroHealth an additional goal: transform the West 25th Street neighborhood along with the hospital’s campus. It’s led to the first hospital-created EcoDistrict in the world.
Vision for the future — The importance of House Bill 111 cannot be overstated: It gives MetroHealth not only the ability to broaden the impact of its mission, it has the potential to ensure the system’s viability for decades to come. That’s welcome news for a region that relies on the system to care for the most vulnerable members of the community.
Community involvement — In addition to leading an extraordinary turnaround at MetroHealth, Boutros has somehow found time to give back to his adopted hometown. He serves on roughly a dozen boards and has become a strong voice for reimagining the region’s economic development ecosystem. He is also one of 20 local leaders leading the bold and daring Blockland initiative to create the world’s largest blockchain technology hub.
The community has learned that when encountering Boutros, don’t doubt him. And don’t blink. ●
Our Lady of the Wayside Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Awards
Trustee and advancement committee chairman, annual fund co-chair, LifeAct
LifeAct is a nonprofit committed to fighting one of society’s most difficult challenges: suicide.
For the past six years, Frank Fantozzi has served on the board of LifeAct, formerly Ohio’s Suicide Prevention Education Alliance. He has made a direct impact on the organization’s mission to educate young people on suicide prevention through his fundraising efforts as an executive board member, as well as through significant personal donations.
Fantozzi believes giving back is a responsibility shared by everyone. His philosophy is that each of us has an obligation to seize opportunities to use our talents, knowledge, experience and compassion to make a difference in the lives of others.
Through his work at LifeAct, Fantozzi has helped to develop and implement a formal growth strategy that is focused on identifying new donor channels and donor types, as well as leveraging existing donors. LifeAct is not a crisis counseling service. Instead, it provides students in schools throughout Northeast Ohio with the tools and resources to get the professional help they need and seek for themselves and others. The focus is on saving lives through knowledge and empowerment.
Fantozzi believes the ability to reach students at their most vulnerable ages, in middle school and high school, is critical to the success of LifeAct’s mission and doing so requires significant funding.
In 2017, LifeAct commemorated 25 years of depression awareness and suicide prevention, and will have educated more than 200,000 teens across Northeast Ohio. Last year alone, the program reached more than 23,000 students in 160 schools. ●
Board president, West Side Catholic Center
Christopher Koehler has accomplished a lot in his time as board president at the West Side Catholic Center. In addition to overseeing a $2 million capital campaign, which met all goals and funded major renovations to the center, he helped lead and implement the renovations. The work transformed West Side Catholic Center’s ability to provide meals and clothing to people in need, and do it with dignity.
The project also included a new kitchen and dining space, coupled with volunteer space, a donation area, clothing sorting rooms and a clothing showroom that have transformed an 1886 building into a modern social service powerhouse. Additional second floor space was also added to accommodate a growing staff and consolidate staff locations.
“Chris has also continued and grown a board culture of involvement and understanding, increased board diversity and trust in the expertise of those around him,” says John Litten, executive director at West Side Catholic Center. “He is a leader who does not need to have all of the answers himself, nor always be the smartest person in the room. He is humble and always willing to listen to others’ perspectives.”
In addition, Koehler helped lead a strategic planning process to chart out the next five years for West Side Catholic Center.
“The best part about Chris is that once his term is up, I know he won’t be going anywhere,” Litten says. “He’ll maintain a presence both as a confidant and as a volunteer. He cares too much not to do so.” ●
Bonnie H. Marcus
Board chair, Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter
When the Cleveland Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association merged with the national organization two years ago, Bonnie H. Marcus was sought by others in the organization to build a new kind of board that could work in concert with staff leadership to advance its mission and meet its goals.
After the merger, Marcus chaired an important chapter board workgroup that would move the board from a fiduciary to a non-fiduciary board. She previously chaired the investment reserves policy work group, established after the recession hit in 2008, a workgroup that successfully instituted a first-time policy to ensure chapter stability in the event of future financial emergencies and created a method to ascertain and prudently use available reserve/excess funds.
In her new role, she spent countless hours learning about effective boards and brought energy and excitement to a process that few other chapters in the country even thought to undertake. One of the byproducts of this work was the identification of a strategic impact board that would work closely with staff leadership to advance the Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter’s annual strategic goals.
In 2017, she took on the role of board chair.
While Marcus has dedicated countless hours to the Alzheimer’s Association, she also has distinguished herself with civic engagement through the Junior League of Cleveland and academia at Hathaway Brown School. She has held every leadership position in the Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter, and is driven to find a cure for this disease and continue to provide care and support services at no cost to those who need it. ●
Thomas M. McDonald
Chairman, board of trustees, The MetroHealth System
There have been weeks, especially during the past two years, when Thomas M. McDonald spent more hours in The MetroHealth System’s boardroom than in his office at McDonald Partners LLC, where he is founder, president and CEO. He gets paid for only one of those jobs.
Since McDonald joined MetroHealth’s board of trustees in 2008, he has used his intelligence, experience and devotion to help turn the health system 180 degrees.
Consider where MetroHealth was a decade ago: The country was plunging into recession, and federal agents were launching an investigation that would entangle many county institutions. McDonald skillfully guided MetroHealth through the tumultuous waters of scandal, economic and political upheaval, sudden leadership changes, layoffs and hospital consolidation.
It’s no exaggeration to say there were moments when the future and very survival of MetroHealth hung in the balance.
To McDonald, the system is essential to the community. Despite calls for MetroHealth to be acquired, absorbed or shut down, he believed such a move would significantly harm the region’s most vulnerable citizens.
The turnaround began in 2009, when the system returned to the black. McDonald ascended to the role of chairman of the board of trustees in 2013 and MetroHealth’s revival accelerated. Since then, the system has remained in the black, investing its earnings back into programming and care for its patients. Revenue has jumped 44 percent, patient volume is up 40 percent and the portion of costs covered by county taxpayers has decreased to 2.9 percent.
“We are a different institution,” McDonald says. ●
Philanthropist of the Year Award
Richard W. Pogue
Senior advisor, Jones Day
Richard W. Pogue has spent a lifetime serving others and making the world a better place through his tireless efforts to make good things happen in his community.
“Not only have Mr. Pogue and his wife, Pat, donated generously to a multitude of charitable organizations in Northeast Ohio over their lifetimes, but there is no one in this area who has devoted more time, energy and thought to advancing the condition and culture of our community for at least the past 35 years than Dick Pogue,” says Kim Bixenstine, chief compliance officer at University Hospitals and a friend of Pogue’s for more than 35 years. “Mr. Pogue’s involvement in nonprofit organizations in this community is broad and deep.”
Pogue estimates he has served on more than 50 nonprofit boards in his lifetime, mostly in leadership positions. The focus of these organizations ranges from health care and social services to economic development, education and the arts. While he served as managing partner of what was then known as the Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue law firm from 1984 to 1992, he spent approximately 20 percent of his time on civic activities, Bixenstine says.
“Since 2004, he has devoted all of his time to such work,” she says. “Long after most people have retired, Mr. Pogue is working 12-hour days, all devoted to improving our community.”
Pogue graduated from Cornell University in 1950 and the University of Michigan Law School in 1953. He then served three years in the U.S. Army, working at the Pentagon in the patents division for the office of the Judge Advocate General.
He joined the law firm now known as Jones Day in 1957 and became a partner in 1961. During his nine years as managing partner, the firm grew from 335 to 1,225 lawyers and from five domestic offices to 20 locations around the world, becoming the second-largest U.S. law firm. His hard work professionally only strengthened his commitment to philanthropy.
Here are just a few highlights of his philanthropic work:
■ Co-chairing Cleveland’s 1989 United Way campaign, which achieved an all-time high of $51.9 million.
■ Served as co-chair of both a successful $30 million capital campaign for the Gordon Square Arts District and a $40 million capital campaign for Cleveland Institute of Music.
■ Co-chaired a $10 million capital campaign for the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
■ Served as co-chair of the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission.
Through all his efforts, Pogue never sought personal glory or adulation, Bixenstine says.
“He performs his work humbly, without fanfare and with no personal aggrandizement,” she says. “Whatever the charitable goal is for any organization with which he is involved, he always plays a key role in its achievement.” ●
Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Awards
Executive director, MidTown Cleveland Inc.
It was 2015 and MidTown Cleveland Inc. had reached an inflection point. Lagging financial performance resulted in a series of operational and personnel cuts, and the subsequent resignation of the executive director. A search ensued and the organization’s board ultimately approved the hiring of Jeff Epstein as executive director in February 2016.
As Epstein was beginning his tenure at MTC, the board underwent a process of amending its governance, which had the effect of replacing nearly two-thirds of its directors. So with a new board, little staff and no room for error, Epstein dug in and got to work.
He helped guide the board in crafting a strategic plan, which has four distinct goals: build a connected community, create a complete neighborhood, build the MidTown brand and strengthen the organization’s capacity. Each of these goals has been positively impacted and made possible by Epstein’s hard work and commitment to the organization.
An organization previously known for only working with the businesses in the area, Epstein hosted the first resident block party on East 75th Street and this year has engaged the residents to work on programs such as the successful Leo’s Listening Party to introduce neighbors to each other while rekindling the memories of the famed music venue, Leo’s Casino.
Epstein also engaged a new marketing firm to rework the image of MidTown from being a pass-through to a place where people work in a variety of fields, be it for-profit or not-for-profit, a place where people of all income levels live and a place for recreation. ●
Judy Ghazoul Hilow
Executive director, Malachi House
Malachi House was founded in 1988 through a pioneering effort to preserve human dignity for terminally ill individuals. The inspiration for it came from the ministry of Fr. Paul Hritz and the St. Malachi Church parishioners, who often encountered homeless individuals dying under bridges or in cars, deserted buildings and other unsuitable places within the city.
As executive director, Judy Ghazoul Hilow has continued her growth as a mission-driven, servant leader, building on the experience she has gained leading organizations and communities over the last 32 years. She has crafted a proven process for the mission, its finances and development aspects that are so crucial to the success of a nonprofit. Her empathetic spirit and business sense create success in every role.
Residents continue to be served with loving care at the highest level, and at a capacity of 15 individuals, along with a waiting list. There has been a 25 percent increase in the number of volunteers, bringing the total number of active volunteers to more than 100. Grant awards have doubled yearly from $225,000 to $530,000, and contributions from individuals and corporations overall have increased on a similar scale.
Hilow was recently recruited as a nonprofit leader to receive a scholarship as a student in the Executive MBA program in The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. The program began in the fall and will continue for two years with an international trip to two countries to study their economy and business practices, as well as visits to nonprofit organizations. ●
Jeffery K. Patterson
CEO, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority
Jeffery K. Patterson has taken steps to ensure that Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority offers residents a variety of enrichment programs that span a lifetime. This includes youth services, family programming and senior support. These initiatives create a foundation for residents to gain the knowledge they need to be successful.
CMHA was selected to pilot the White House’s ConnectHome initiative, which works to bridge the digital divide by providing digital literacy training, as well as the necessary technology, to school-aged youth and seniors. It has already given more than 240 adult residents and 410 children an opportunity to go through training in the last 12 months.
As the CEO of CMHA, Patterson is focused on leading and inspiring his team to fulfill the organization’s mission and develop strategies to align the vision into opportunities for the agency. He has created an atmosphere that stimulates confidence and ideas from his team, and he is attentive to providing opportunities for the residents.
From residents, employees, community leaders, elected officials and beyond, Patterson is respected for his solid work ethic and ability to be innovative, focused and passionate about enhancing the quality of life for the residents being served.
Patterson was one of the first in the housing industry to take advantage of effective, innovative financing available through the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. Under this program and his direction, CMHA was awarded financing for a total of eight projects, which will allow CMHA to preserve its stock of affordable rental housing and continue to build strong, stable communities. ●
CEO, The City Mission
One of the unique qualities Rich Trickel brings to his role as CEO at The City Mission is his ability to articulate a vision and then make decisions, moving quickly to maximize results. Those who know him well consider Trickel to be a great communicator who is able to boil down an issue, express it in a succinct manner and provide strategic insight and direction to begin solving the problem and eliminating barriers.
Since his arrival at The City Mission 14 years ago, Trickel has been able to bolster needed departments, including the expansion of a former one-person development department into a cutting-edge, fully integrated and diverse department. Trickel acts decisively to eliminate redundant services while working to change the perception of the foundation community, local government officials, donors and the community at large to a more positive image.
Today, The City Mission is fiscally sound and sustainable year after year, due in part to Trickel’s launch of a multi-million dollar direct mail enterprise business, which saves significant funds for The City Mission and missions across the country.
As a visionary leader, Trickel was ahead of his time in utilizing social media messaging as an awareness and fundraising tool while battling and advocating to bring the needs of the homeless up to a national level. His forward thinking on issues such as the current crisis for homeless women and children and Housing First have put The City Mission in a position to be able to respond rather than react when the need arises. ●
Lifetime Achievement Award (posthumous)
Matthew P. Figgie was an accomplished businessman, a philanthropist, a loving father and a family man, says Rick Solon, his friend and business partner at Clark-Reliance Corp.
“Most of all, he was an incredible, giving soul,” Solon says. “Matthew’s passion was trying to improve the overall quality of life, especially in Northeast Ohio. He was the most generous soul I ever met.”
Figgie died unexpectedly on Aug. 25 at the age of 52. An eighth-generation Clevelander, Figgie was founder, chairman and CEO at Figgie Capital, chairman at Clark-Reliance and chairman of The Figgie Foundation. He was also chairman of Fairmount Center for the Arts, as well as owner and director of a broad portfolio of private operational and financial holdings. But Figgie didn’t make his mark on the community by collecting important job titles.
Rather, his passion was to run productive, impactful organizations. His success in doing so was evident by the people he affected; his position as an industry leader; his ability to share knowledge through his writings; and the growth of his organizations on both a domestic and an international scale.
“Matthew personified the adage, ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’” Solon says. “It was a value that was instilled in him from a young age, and he adhered to it throughout his life. When Matthew committed to helping anyone, he would not stop until he created the biggest impact that he could on that organization. His favorite saying was, ‘Go big or go home.’”
Figgie worked hard to create a friendly, family-oriented environment at Clark-Reliance where employees could excel and advance. While expanding his company worldwide and continuing to offer new products and services, he also committed to keeping the company in Cleveland.
In addition to his leadership posts, Figgie was an accomplished author. He published a book with Solon and Adam C. Snyder called, “Maximizing Profits Immediately: How to Dramatically Improve Your Company’s Bottom Line,” and had three additional works in the pipeline focused on investments and economics.
He also contributed to “How to Build a Billion Dollar Company from Scratch,” with his father, Harry E. Figgie Jr.
Away from business, he guided The Figgie Foundation in its ongoing effort to support the community. The nonprofit supports the arts, children, education, historical preservation and the medical community. Figgie’s commitment to giving back was always strong, Solon says.
“That’s why Figgie Field has the best turf available and Gilmour Academy is well on its way to becoming an All-Steinway School,” Solon says. “If you were in Matthew’s presence for just 15 minutes, you were a friend. He wanted to know what intrigued you about life and how he could help you. It was my great privilege to know him for more than 40 years.” ●