Vibrant NEO Champion Awards

The Champion Awards program was created by the Vibrant NEO Board of Directors as a way to publicly recognize projects, programs and policies, of communities, businesses, nonprofits, and civic groups that demonstrate leadership in the advancement of the Vibrant NEO Vision and its four majors themes:

  • Strengthen Established Communities
  • Increase Transportation Choice
  • Preservice and Protect Natural Resources
  • Promote Collaboration and Efficiency

We applaud the following winners of our first annual Vibrant NEO Champion Awards!

Cleveland Climate Action Plan: Building Thriving and resilient Neighborhoods for All, City of Cleveland
  • This Community-wide plan and engagement process update will improve outcomes in health, access to green jobs, resiliency, and engagement through equitable climate action planning and implementation.
  • Accepted by Matt Gray, Chief of Sustainability, City of Cleveland
Van Aken District, City of Shaker Heights
  • By leveraging and building off existing transit infrastructure, the District is introducing a regionally accessible hub for employment, living, retail, and entertainment options in a previously faltering commercial district.
  • Accepted by David Weiss, Mayor and Joyce Braverman, Planning Director, City of Shaker Heights.
Cuyahoga Greenways, Cuyahoga County
  • This is a countywide effort to build an interconnected system of greenways and urban tails that tie in with public transportation and parks to offer recreational opportunities and options for getting around the region, improving the community’s mobile options, health, well-being, and economic vitality.
  • Accepted by Glenn Coyne, Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission
Great Streets, City of Akron
  • Through this program, the City will make a strategic, impactful, long-term investment in neighborhood business districts and focus current community and financial capital to generate greater impact.
  • Accepted by Jason Segedy, Planning Director, City of Akron
Mahoning River Corridor Restoration and Dam Removal, Mayor’s of Mahoning River Association
  • This initiative brings together seven mayors from the cities along the banks of the Mahoning Valley to restore the Mahoning River, improve water quality, expand recreational opportunities and generate new economic development along the river.
  • Accepted by William Franklin, Mayor, City of Warran
Thriving Communities Program, Western Reserve Land Conservancy
  • In seven years, the program has helped created 53 land banks; raised $440 million for blight remediation; conducted vacant property surveys in Cleveland, Akron, and other cities; conducted ground-breaking research on the impact of blight, created an innovated urban tree planting program; and led one of the nation’s best examples of cross-sector collaboration with local government.
  • Accepted by Rich Cochran, CEO, Western Reserve Land Conservancy

Champion Leadership Award

The Vibrant NEO Board also honored the Cleveland Foundation Leadership. Together they have contributed to building a  culture of collaboration and trust, and overcoming political fragmentation.

  • Ronald Richard, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Lillian Kuri, Vice President, Strategic Grantmaking, Arts & Urban Design Initiative
  • India Pierce Lee, Senior Vice President, Program

Kathy Hexter, Awards Committee Chair, India Pierce Lee, Cleveland Foundation, Grace Gallucci, Vibrant NEO Chair, and Lillian Kuri, Cleveland Foundation