Cleveland leadership program seeks applicants for 2014

NLDP graduate Caitie Adams. Photo courtesy Maria Kaiser.

In 2006, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, along with former Cleveland Mayor Michael White, established a leadership training program for engaged neighborhood leaders. The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP) is a free, 15-session community engagement training program for residents of Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs.

“A large part of Cleveland’s future depends on the strength of its neighborhoods,” said Michael R. White, NLDP program director. “The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program identifies, engages and trains leaders working to improve their communities. Through an intensive, nine-month program, NLDP develops skills and abilities that will benefit its participants, their neighborhoods and the city for years to come.”   

Twenty committed individuals are chosen for the NLDP program each year through an application process. NLDP seeks out individuals who are working on projects within the City of Cleveland and show a determination to make a positive impact on their communities. Beginning Sept. 6, the sessions will take place on Saturdays at Trinity Commons located at 2230 Euclid Ave. in Cleveland.

NLDP presenters and facilitators are leaders in the fields of nonprofit management, marketing, program planning, fundraising and organizational leadership. Every NLDP participant and NLDP graduate has ongoing access to the services of a program coach who gives advice and support tailored to the needs of the individual.

NLDP currently has 120 graduates who are still working to improve life in their communities. The work and interests of NLDP graduates are varied. NLDP graduates build and maintain community gardens, work in community development organizations, support homeowners through financial literacy programs, teach computer skills to residents and build playgrounds for children.

NLDP graduates are community activists who work, volunteer, or do both, in their communities. They have created community kickball programs for youth, provided services to those in need, worked with the homeless and those facing re-entry. NLDP graduates enrich their communities through arts and culture and as advocates for housing rights.    

Caitie Adams of Cleveland Heights is one such graduate. She learned about NLDP from an article about another Heights native who graduated from the program. Adams, who has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s in sociology, is passionate about environmental sustainability, environmental justice and social equality.

She came to NLDP with ideas for developing an after-school program on environmental stewardship and an urban gardening project. “I want to work with high school students so they can better understand the impact of their everyday actions on the environment,” said Adams. “The program would provide education on the environment and the local food movement.” Adams is a member of the Vital Neighborhoods Working Group of Sustainable Cleveland 2019. She was drawn to NLDP through her determination to make a positive impact on the City of Cleveland.

“I really enjoyed meeting committed leaders and being exposed to an amazing network of community projects,” said Adams. “The program helped build my confidence and improved my ability to relate to others, especially in conflict management. It taught me to take one step at a time and face project issues head on and not to become overwhelmed by it all.”

For more information and to request an application, visit or call 216-776-6172.

Sandra Kluk

Sandra Kluk is a a 30-year Heights resident and program administrator for the Neighborhood Leadership Development Program.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 1:26 PM, 06.30.2014