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OTG Cleveland’s Morning Modules

We are introducing Morning Modules to the On the Ground agenda in Cleveland, building from our OTG tradition of practical learning together in neighborhoods rather than in hotel meeting rooms.

Participants will select one of the following three morning modules for going deeper/hands-on learning on our theme – Igniting the Power of Everyday People – using the work of Cleveland funders, residents and community partners. Although we will start off at our home base, these modules will include trips to Cleveland neighborhoods and institutional partners similar to our past On the Grounds.


Grassroots Grantmaking That’s More Than Money

  • Receive a clear grounding on the relationship between grassroots grantmaking and network building – and how each can be a vehicle to advance the other.
  • Learn about Neighborhood Connections and how they are building a broader network with residents at the center to effect positive social change in Cleveland. This discussion will focus on what worked, where they are challenged, and discuss, in depth, what are the core capacities and practices needed by the individuals who are “gappers” – the lead stewards in working in the space between walls of large institutions and networks of residents.
  • Meet with a few of the resident leaders of the Neighborhood Connections Grant Making Committee, visit Neighborhood Connections grantees and members of the Neighbor Up network (residents and institutional members), and learn more about the philosophy and strategy that undergirds this work.
  • Examine other forms of grassroots grantmaking that are being used in Cleveland, including giving circles, angel gifting, peer learning communities, and skill sharing micro-grants.

Community/Institutional Partnerships: Leveling the Playing Field for Co-Production

  • Dig into Neighborhood Connection’s real time learning about community building and change that strives for co-production rather than professional expertise and professionally derived solutions driving the bus.
  • Explore the role that institutions and instituitional leaders have in igniting the power of everyday people and building communities that are welcoming, vibrant, resilient and just – and what it takes to step away from the familiar levers of control and lead by stepping back.
  • Connect these discussions with real-time reality by taking an inside look at the development of a diverse team of people from institutions and community – Neighborhood Connections and the Case Western Reserve Medical School – who are on a “treasure hunt” to discover the opportunities and challenges around broadly defined health issues in Cleveland. Learn how the use of a network-based approach, combined with grantmaking, is being used with candid discussion about successes, challenges, and the vision for moving forward in this work.
  • Visit with participants from the community and from institutions, and learn more about some of the longstanding issues of inequality that have existed around health for decades in a city that has some of the best medical institutions in the United States.

Theory, Meet Reality: Getting Real About Building Communities from the Inside Out  

  • Learn about the network building practices used by Neighborhood Connections and work that is intentional about creating opportunities for unlikely collaborators who happen to live or work in the same neighborhood to overcome differences in the interest of making change together.
  • Move past theory to look at practice: What does it take for private sector and institutional leaders to leave their professional hat at the door and contribute as people in a local, networked environment – but still have the ability to bring their institutional resources to the table? How do everyday people move in from the margins to a place of contribution and personal power? How do established community groups continually enlarge the circle of inclusion and participation?
  • We’ll take a look at some specific examples – the Circle North neighborhood, the Commodore Apartments, a mixed income apartment building, and City Repair – to learn how community network building practices are being used in partnership with residents, community based organizations, and institutions.
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