Since early November, WISH Cleveland has published a series of stories highlighting the local organizations that will share your generous donations #GivingTuesdayCLE. This week’s story is the fifth and final installment of our series, focusing on three organizations that serve the communities of Cleveland in distinct, individual ways.
Serving our communities, helping our neighbors, striving together for the good of our city–such actions can take many forms. It might involve helping someone provide good care for their pets, or it might mean providing shelter and assistance to those in the LGBTQ+ community who are working toward sobriety. It might even take the shape of holiday wrapping paper created by artists who are without homes. Each of the organizations below fits snugly under the umbrella of doing good for Cleveland.
Greater Cleveland Community Shares
As WISH Cleveland’s fiscal agent and an official partner of #GivingTuesdayCLE, Greater Cleveland Community Shares was an early adaptor of the philosophy that “together we can do more than each of us can do alone.” In fact, the catchy phrase and the concept of collaborative philanthropy were central to Community Shares’ mission long before Giving Tuesday was even “a thing.” Founded in 1984, Community Shares is Cleveland’s only workplace giving federation with a focus on social justice, committed to providing essential operating funds for nonprofit organizations that work for progressive community change.
Through 43 member organizations, including several other #GivingTuesdayCLE participating nonprofits, Community Shares seeks to address the root causes of social problems facing our neighborhoods, our community, and our region. Together, they uplift education, promote health care, protect children and women, advocate for reproductive justice, advance homeownership, provide job training and employment, build neighborhoods, and work to end discrimination.
Community Shares’ philosophy of change is based on the power of participation — the power of collective impact and each individual’s ability to meaningfully shape change in his/her community.
The mission of Neighborhood Pets is to keep pets in their homes through affordable pet care, resources, and education. To make this possible the organization offers affordable and accessible resources to all low-income Cleveland residents.
The program offers low-cost vaccine clinics, low-cost flea/tick prevention & parasite treatment, a free spay/neuter program, a pet food bank, free education and training classes, low-cost pet supplies, and unlimited counseling as needed. The organization also hosts free weekly group dog walks and training sessions for members. Families qualify to become members of the program if they live within the city limits and have a household income below 150% of the federal poverty level.
Neighborhood Pets is clearly loved by its customers. One member enthusiastically exclaims, “Love this place!!! It is a valued addition to the Slavic Village neighborhood that offers FREE spay & neuter, $5 vaccinations, $5 flea meds and MORE!! They also have group walks for dogs. The people that work there REALLY LOVE & CARE ABOUT OUR ANIMALS. I don’t know what our dog would do without them!”
Accessibility and affordability for vet clinics, pet supplies, and other pet services are obstacles for many pet owners. Neighborhood Pets currently has nearly 3,000 human clients, a number that continues to grow daily.
Over 60% of the residents of the City of Cleveland, Ohio live in or near poverty. The eastern portion of the City of Cleveland is a pet resource desert. Residents do not have easy access to vet clinics or pet supply stores.
Over 70% of the residents in The Slavic Village are living in or near poverty. There are no vet clinics or pet supply stores in the immediate area; the closest pet store is located at a retail shopping center that is 4.6 miles away from the neighborhood. One in four Slavic Village households does not have a motor vehicle available to them.
The need for the services provided by Neighborhood Pets is evident. In the words of one of their members, “These people actually care… I walked in expecting to get a little sample bag of cat food and a pamphlet of services. I never imagined the extent they go to in order to help the animals in the neighborhood. I tell everyone I know about this outreach center.”
The B. Riley Sober House
Established in 2016, the B. Riley Sober House caters solely to members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies who are looking for a way out of the pain and misery of substance abuse. Its primary purpose is to help members of the LGBTQ+ community achieve long-term sobriety, reduce recidivism in detox centers and treatment centers, and provide continued support to individuals in their recovery walk.
The B. Riley Sober House offers clients a wide range of services, including residential intensive help, outpatient treatment, mental health assessment and treatment, and psychotherapy courses in self- acceptance, coming out, and transgender issues. The Home gives members of this community the opportunity to be treated by professionals who know from experience the struggles of getting sober and staying sober.
One grateful client writes to “express how grateful I am for my experience at the house. It has truly changed me and my life forever. The love and care I received there on a personal level played a huge part in helping me begin to actually recover.”
The writer goes on to explain, “If it wasn’t for the B. Riley House providing me a safe place to live where I could feel free to be me, express my thoughts, feelings and emotions, without fear of judgment and ridicule, I don’t think I would have made it this far.”