Greater Cleveland Partnership to host hybrid Inclusion Conference promoting workplace diversity in Northeast Ohio

We are happy to announce that Global Cleveland is being acknowledged as Hall of Fame for Board Diversity (Small/Mid-Size).

This distinguished award reflects our commitment to prioritizing inclusion not only within your organization but also our Northeast Ohio region. We’re excited to recognize Global Cleveland as an exceptional model for other businesses and institutions to follow.

Greater Cleveland Partnership’s All-In plan specifically highlights helping companies of all sizes in developing more diverse and inclusive teams and welcoming environments in the Inclusive Opportunity pillar. Our goal is to guarantee that employees of color and entrepreneurs of color benefit in the success of our region. Fundamentally, GCP’s work is stimulated by the understanding that businesses, and the region, are stronger with greater equity and inclusion. Global Cleveland’s recognition as Hall of Fame for Workforce Diversity further supports regional efforts in advancing economic inclusion.

Volgograd, Russia Mural Commission

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State Budgets’ Fair School Funding Plan Includes Important Provisions for English Learners

Global Cleveland is proud to see the Fair School Funding Plan included in the final draft version of HB110, the state budget for FY 2022-2023. The Fair School Funding Plan includes important provisions that will provide key funding to support English as a learning language Students here in Cleveland and throughout Ohio. These provisions include changes that make additional funding for English Learners proportional to the average cost to educate a student in Ohio. Previously, funding for English Learners was locked to set numbers provided in earlier spending bills. By making funding proportional to the rising cost of education, state lawmakers are ensuring that English Learners are not left behind. However, the most important change from these provisions is that the additional funding provided for English Learners must now be used to support English Learners’ education and cannot be redirected for other uses. This ensures that the funding is used for its intended purposes and the needs of our English Learners are not neglected.

Learning to understand and use English proficiently is key for Ohio’s immigrants and their children to obtain higher education, pursue successful careers, and participate fully in our communities. The above provisions more adequately provide for this important education, helping to ensure greater educational equity. We believe that these provisions will help lead to a better future for all Ohioans as it will help create a better prepared and better educated population. We are thankful that our state legislators see the value of our English Learners and hope to see more legislation beneficial to immigrant and international communities in the future.


CIFF45 Streams: Global Cleveland is a Community Partner for the film Welcome Strangers

Tickets to the 45th Cleveland International Film Festival are now on sale! Global Cleveland is a #CIFF45Streams Community Partner in support of the film, Welcome Strangers. Use our discount code GLOBAL and you will receive $1 off the purchase of a ticket. Most films are available nationwide, so make plans to support independent film and its filmmakers:

Small Business Feature | ButterPear

What is ButterPear? 

ButterPear started in 2017 as a grassroots effort to raise funds in Liberia, West Africa for student education fees K-12. Becky Trout launched ButterPear as a way for her friends and family to support small businesses of Liberian artists to help send their children to school and to develop a customer base that connected her community straight to the artists who make their goods. Throughout the years it has grown to not only a fair-trade social enterprise but also a way for the Refugee and Immigrant community in Cleveland to connect with their culture back in their home countries. 

How does ButterPear impact refugees living in Cleveland? 

ButterPear slowly morphed into a maker-space e-commerce store for not only artists in Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Mali, but also here with refugees in Cleveland. We’ve been able to fundraise for specific needs that our refugee community in Cleveland raises awareness for. Being able to have artists create items that ultimately support their small business all while the profits support their own communities has been ButterPears number one goal. 

In 2020, ButterPear was able to hire 8 refugee women in Cleveland to sew masks. We were able to produce over 5,000 masks hand sewn to be purchased all while donating 3,000 more masks, $1500 in food relief in Liberia and Congo, and rent relief for a few families facing difficulties. Here are a few of our sewing sisters who helped lead the way! 

“We all know we are helping, it’s not that we are just trying to make money,” said Victoire Pilipilian artist that worked to create masks.  

What have you (Becky Trout, founder of ButterPear) learned from the creation of this business, and the amazing women that contribute? 

What I’ve learned from all of the amazing women we work with is that they will get the job done not only to completion but with excellence. I am always amazed at the creativity and drive behind each of the women we come in contact with. All are mothers, caregivers, business owners and they find ways to come together to create the most amazing items. There is a different sense of pride when it comes to showcasing their work. I love that I can not only know directly who these items come from but also know that the woman who made my baskets is paving the way for her daughter to become her own businesswoman as well. It makes that basket so much more valuable. There’s always a knock-off item, but there’s only one that comes straight from the source that’s going to lead the way. There’s an old African proverb I heard a lot in Liberia,  

If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate village 

Hearing that old proverb and seeing it be put into action with the women we work with across the world and here in Cleveland has been why ButterPear exists. 


International Women's Month Feature | Leen Ajlouni

What country were you born in, and how long have you lived in Cleveland?  

I was born in Amman, Jordan. I came to the US for the first time around 7 years ago to pursue my undergraduate studies at an all-women’s institution called Smith College. I moved to Cleveland the day after I graduated from Smith and have lived here for almost three years now. 

The pioneers and supporters of International Women’s Day believe that “from challenges come change.”: What has been the largest challenge in your journey toward personal success?  

I recently read a quote by a psychiatrist and best-selling author Dr. Scott Peck that resonated with me. He says “Life is difficult. Once we truly know that life is difficult — once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” I bring up this quote because it reminds me that the largest challenge in my journey so far has been not succumbing to the voice that says something is too difficult for me and that I should settle for less. I’ve seen myself shine brightest when I accept that something is difficult but set sail to take this challenge head-on.  

I think for many of us, fighting this internal, criticizing, self-pitying, self-doubting voice is the biggest hurdle to self-actualization. For those of us who feel as though we are paving our own path – whether personally, professionally or both – this voice can either paralyze our abilities to get there or empower and push us forward to the finish line. It’s ultimately our choice to hear the voice that we want to become. 

You have been nominated for this recognition by another amazing person, proving that we are so much stronger when we support one another. What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world?   

I feel very fortunate that at every step of my journey, I have been supported by a woman who believed in me and pushed me to do the uncomfortable. These women did not just celebrate my successes and empathized with me on my setbacks, but they were most influential to me because they gave me honest, critical advice when I needed it, helped me acknowledge my blind spots and shortcomings and pushed me to my true limits. One of my female mentors in Cleveland, for example, recently helped me realize that like many other women in the workspace, I can come off as being “over-apologetic”. Perhaps these scenarios sound familiar to you — saying sorry before speaking up in a meeting, getting permission before asking a question, using a lot of “thank you’s” in your emails to make them sound kinder. My one piece of advice to women is to notice yourself in moments where you are over-apologizing and over-thanking and to stop yourself. You deserve to ask your question; you deserve to speak up in a meeting; you deserve to sit at the table, and you don’t need to apologize or thank anyone for what you deserve.  Remember that you do not owe anyone but yourself the right to take up space and reclaim your power.  

How can the greater Cleveland community encourage, support, and amplify the success of international women? 

There are many international women in the greater Cleveland community who have moved mountains in their personal and professional journeys. There are also international women who absolutely have the potential to move mountains but lack the support, resources, and connections. Global Cleveland has played an important role in connecting these women altogether, but there is a lot more work to do. I can personally say that the most influential mentors to me have been international women who can relate to my story and challenges. The more we can bridge the two generations, the more success we can unlock. I am currently working in the field of Venture Capital, and I have yet to meet another Middle Eastern born-and-raised young female working in the field, not only in Cleveland but the US at large. In fact, perhaps if I did, I would have intentionally gone out to pursue this field knowing that I, too, can get here. Fortunately, a combination of luck, warm connections, and being at the right place at the right time worked in my favor, but the odds to have not entered the field were significantly higher. I want other young Middle Eastern women in this country to know that they, too, can enter the white-male-dominated field of Venture Capital and that we actually need more women like them in this field so that more Middle Eastern women entrepreneurs get Venture Capital funds. In a time and place where humans rely on connections and the power of networks, we need to amplify the work that organizations like Global Cleveland are setting to do by creating a strong network of generations of international women who have, can, and will move mountains with the help, guidance, and support of one another. 


International Women's Month Feature | Radhika Reddy

What country were you born in (if first generation, where is your family from), and how long have you lived in Cleveland?  

Born in Kakinada, India but from Hyderabad India. Lived in Cleveland for 31 years. 

The pioneers and supporters of international women’s day believe that “from challenges come change.”: What has been the largest challenge in your journey toward personal success?  

Being an immigrant from India with an accent created cultural differences and misunderstandings, which has been the biggest challenge for me. However, I turned the cultural differences to advantage by partnering with women from different cultures, combining the best of the eastern and western values, to create a socially-minded, 100% women-owned entrepreneurial business in real estate public-private finance and development, that helps transform low-income neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio and nationally. 

You have been nominated for this recognition by another amazing person, proving that we are so much stronger when we support one another. What is one piece of advice you have for women in your community and all over the world?   

Develop inner confidence to be your true authentic self, and if in business, partner with others who have complementing strengths and shared values, work as a team, as we are stronger together than alone 

How can the greater Cleveland community encourage, support, and amplify the success of international women?  

Similar to the efforts of Global Cleveland in the recognition and showcasing of the successes of international women, to show support and amplify the message that immigrant women who have come to this country, are building businesses, creating jobs, and giving back to the community in their adopted country.