GMMC Take 1

I now own a $20 nametag. I al­so had an ex­cel­lent mediter­ranean­ly catered meal from Middle East restau­rant. Their grape leaf rolls were the best I’ve had. I al­so got free park­ing in down­town Cleveland. [!]

Now that the im­por­tant stuff is out of the way, I’d like to share my thoughts on my first meet­ing as an al­ter­nate on the Neighborhood Connections Grantmaking and Monitoring Committee which is spon­sored by The Cleveland Foundation. Scott Muscatello, a fel­low NEO blog­ger, is al­so an al­ter­nate on the Committee. The Committee is com­prised of just un­der 20 folks who are en­gaged com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers in their re­spec­tive neigh­bor­hoods. As soon as I walked in I start­ed net­work­ing with the peo­ple in the wait­ing room. Isiah Powell is an­oth­er new mem­ber on the com­mit­tee and is al­so do­ing field co­or­di­na­tion for lo­cal and statewide politi­cians. He’s a cool guy. There is a fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion of both east and west of the riv­er and it is a pret­ty di­verse bunch, which I found heart­en­ing. I’m still the youngest per­son on it, of course.

The GMMC is unique across the coun­try. The mem­bers have re­al ul­ti­mate pow­er in de­ter­min­ing the lo­gis­tics of each award. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween The Cleveland Foundation and the mem­bers of the GMMC en­sures that TCF trusts the de­ci­sions we make im­plic­it­ly. They have a well de­fined con­flict of in­ter­est pol­i­cy, which is pleas­ing to me.

The grant re­view process is gru­elling. TCF re­ceived a record num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions this year, en­sur­ing that each sub­com­mit­tee will have around 30 pro­pos­als to ex­am­ine. There is al­so an ex­ten­sive in­ter­view­ing sched­ule and dis­cern­ment process. One of the most im­por­tant things I con­clud­ed from the 4 hours I spent at the foun­da­tion last night, is that there are no losers in the process. Even those peo­ple whose grants are de­clined are as­sist­ed through work shops and oth­er tech­ni­cal mat­ters in or­der to im­prove their di­rec­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion. I’m look­ing for­ward to learn­ing more about Cleveland neigh­bor­hoods and the ideas that my fel­low Clevelanders have about im­prov­ing them.