FutureHeights publishes the Observer to build community

Clare Taft

For the past six years, FutureHeights, the community-building nonprofit organization serving Cleveland Heights and University Heights, has published the Heights Observer. The Observer is, without a doubt, FutureHeights’s most visible—and time-consuming—program. Yet, too often, the connection between the Observer and FutureHeights is lost.

The Observer came about six years ago, when the FutureHeights Board of Directors decided that publishing a citizen-driven newspaper was the best way to engage the citizenry and encourage community engagement, and to further FutureHeights’s mission: to promote a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights through innovative ideas and civic engagement.

FutureHeights’s small—but mighty—staff works throughout the year to publish our monthly hyper-local, citizen-driven newspaper and our weekly e-newsletter. This means that FutureHeights works with other community organizations, citizens and our city governments to ensure that the stories that matter to you—and to all of us—are published.

The Observer fills a critical role in our community, providing a venue where Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents can tell the stories that matter to them. Each month, Heights-based nonprofit organizations, community groups, churches, schools and neighbors submit articles to the Observer. Many of these are stories that would go unnoticed by conventional print and online news sources, but they are stories that FutureHeights recognizes are critical to building, growing and engaging the community. As a result, the Observer has become the heart of FutureHeights’ community building and civic engagement mission and programs. Without FutureHeights, though, and without the vision of our Board of Directors in 2008, the Heights Observer would not exist.

What else does FutureHeights do (while producing a monthly newspaper and weekly e-newsletter)? Above all, FutureHeights supports community building, with the goal of engaging the citizenry of Cleveland Heights and University Heights to grow, build and foster this community that we live in and love. FutureHeights actively supports new community gardens and neighborhood groups, as well as our locally owned and operated businesses.

Each year, FutureHeights hosts the Best of the Heights awards, recognizing our unique, diverse and indispensable local businesses. In 2013, FutureHeights kicked off the first Heights Music Hop, and that popular event will return in October of this year. FutureHeights also brings together other local organizations, community groups and our city governments, to discuss and work through issues such as community development, vacant storefronts, safety and city services.

Without a doubt, where community grows and the citizenry is engaged, you will be sure to find FutureHeights—whether it is at a community forum, a new community garden or in the pages of the Observer.

If you value the Observer and value the voice that the Observer gives to our community, please consider supporting FutureHeights—as a volunteer, donor or citizen journalist—so that we may continue to build community.

Learn more about FutureHeights at www.futureheights.org.

To sign up to receive the weekly e-newsletter, go to www.heightsobserver.org and select "Get the E-newsletter" from the left-hand menu.

Clare Taft

Clare Taft is the president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors.

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 9:00 AM, 02.28.2014