Living Cities to award $14.75 million to boost Cleveland Foundation sustainable development effort

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(October 28, 2010) “Living Cities, a consortium of the world’s 22 largest foundations and banks, is set to announce today in Detroit that Cleveland is one of five U.S. metropolitan areas to share an $80 million basket of grants and loans. Cleveland and the other winners — Detroit; Baltimore; Newark, N.J.; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. — were selected from 23 competing cities. In all, $14.75 million will flow to Cleveland over the next three years. More important than the money, say those involved, is the stamp of approval from Living Cities, whose members include the Ford, Rockefeller and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations.

“We’re really excited. It’s a tremendous validation,” said Ronn Richard, president and chief executive of the Cleveland Foundation, which led the application and initiated the programs that will be expanded by the award.

Over the past five years, the Cleveland Foundation used its influence to enable discussions for the first time among the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University about how they could pool their collective buying power. The foundation also led the effort to create new worker-owned cooperative companies based on the promise of such spending.

So far, two companies — Evergreen Cooperative Laundry and Ohio Cooperative Solar — are up and running and employing 52 workers. Another, Green City Growers, is set to launch soon on 10 acres east of East 55th Street at Grand Avenue.

The cash and loans from Living Cities will enable the foundation and its local partners to create eight or nine more worker-owned cooperatives by 2013. The companies could, for example, clean and maintain medical equipment, or assemble sterile kits of materials for use in hospitals.

By diverting a portion of their income into stock-purchase plans, employees will be each able to amass $65,000 in equity in the companies after seven or eight years.” For the full article by Steven Litt for the Plain Dealer, click here.

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The Institute for Sustainable Development

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Chris has spent over 20 years helping communities utilize sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropy as catalysts for economic growth. Chris serves as Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and the Green Plus™ -- a program dedicated to helping America's...
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