We are excited to celebrate Global Cleveland’s 10th Anniversary through unique storytelling initiatives highlighting Global Cleveland’s impact first-hand. Proudly strengthening our city by welcoming our world, for 10 years we have worked to attract, welcome and connect international newcomers to Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. From workforce connections to economic and social opportunities, and working together to create a healthier, connected, more welcoming world for our newcomer communities, Global Cleveland will be sharing immigrant, refugee journeys and personal insights from past leaders and international-born residents – our New Americans and New Clevelanders – who now call “the CLE” and “The Land” home.

Formed in 2011, building on the inclusive legacy and decades-long tradition of opening doors to immigrants and refugees, Global Cleveland was formed to advance the unity, solidarity, and collective community-building among international newcomers. Global Cleveland celebrates and elevates diverse voices and visibility as a force for economic diversity, equity, and inclusion, helping to create opportunities for all newcomers to prosper. Join us as we look back and look forward to Global Cleveland’s next chapter and journey through a storytelling lens.

We would like to thank our amazing community leaders, volunteers, and organizations from all sectors – local to international levels who give us the opportunity to continue the work through collaboration. We are especially grateful to our donors, board of directors, and our remarkable newcomer community who continues to inspire the work that we do and make our work possible in helping strengthen our city but welcoming the world.

Our Founders

Featured Founding Members

Albert Ratner

The birth of Global Cleveland was because the Cleveland Foundation, The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, the Tamar and Milton Maltz Foundation, and the Audrey and Albert Ratner Foundation put money together to start a fledgling organization to look at the opportunities that lie in bringing in and helping immigrants of all races, colors, nationalities to Northeast Ohio. Looking back at the ten years of Global Cleveland, you have far exceeded all of our expectations. And there is only one way of judging this, and that is asking how has it helped Cleveland and its immigrant population grow to make us a much better city. On all measures, on all accounts, you have done a wonderful, wonderful job. Congratulations on the first ten. May you have many, many decades more.”

Read Albert's Full Interview

Baiju Shah

“Immigrants have been and can continue to be a significant contributor to Cleveland’s growth. To explore the idea, Albert Ratner, former Forest City CEO, arranged a breakfast for me with Steve Hoffman, the President of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and also discussions with Ronn Richard, President and CEO from the Cleveland Foundation. They recognized that to be a thriving region once again, we needed to welcome immigrants and their families and appreciate their economic, social, and cultural contributions that greatly enhance our community. With the support of two of our leading foundations, we launched an organization dedicated to that vision.”

Read Baiju's Full Interview
Our leaders

Honoring our past

Joy Roller

“During my time at Global Cleveland, we led and showed sincerity in outreach, personally and programmatically, demonstrating we were there to help.

To help Cleveland grow and build strong ethnic, cultural communities – not just at the top, but with unskilled newcomers and those in real need.”

Read Joy's Full Interview

Richard Konisiewicz

“My philosophy regarding immigration is based in the biblical understanding of welcoming others.

Global Cleveland is refreshing the international scene with its young and new ideas.  It is a revitalizing organization in our region.”

Read Richard's Full Interview

Larry Miller

“I am convinced that the role of Global Cleveland is as important today as it was 10 years ago, or even 100 years ago, maybe more so. So many groups (Asian-Americans, African-Americans, immigrants, LGBTQ+, etc.) have feelings of not being welcome, safe, or supported in America and many of its cities, so a voice and advocate like Global Cleveland that says, “Our hearts, our doors, and our arms are open to welcome you, listen to you, and support you (and oh, by the way, we believe you have a contribution to make to our community as well,)” is so very important TODAY.”

Read Larry's Full Interview
Our leaders

Our Present

Joe Cimperman, President

“Global Cleveland made me, a native Clevelander, see the city and the community with a new lens. We are home to so many people from around the world, our picnic blankets do connect at the corners, we have such strength in our international interconnected intentional intensity.

I have met Elodie from Burkina Faso, Kwame from Ghana, Samuel from Colombia, Wenzhu from China, and people from all over the world through Global Cleveland. These friendships, shared stories, ongoing moments of Global perspective, and education — all through Global Cleveland – have doubled the joy in my life.”

David Fleshler, Board Chair

“Global Cleveland came literally from an idea in people’s minds. I think that seeing the way – the only way – that we can move forward and make real change will be the idea that migrants, immigrants, refugees, and international students need to be on the frontlines for the success of any organization – be it profit, non-profit, corporate, or government. Global Cleveland was founded to bring this impact to our region. For too long, many have not really understood that immigrants lead the way economically. While this hasn’t always been the compelling, underlying goal, it has become quite clear that Global Cleveland has helped to put this high on the list of strategic community priorities for all.

Our goal has been moving the community conversation from not having awareness, to being part of the conversation, and now becoming a centerpiece in the community in many different kinds of communities.

When you start a new organization, it’s not always obvious what the organization will be or if it will be here in the future. The fact that we are here 10 years later is a testament to our mission and enduring vision for Global Cleveland.”

Read David's Full Interview
Our Impact

Celebrating our Community

Melaak Rashid

Having an ally that works hard to ensure intersectional inclusivity in all facets of personal and professional growth and opportunity is the best, welcoming feeling. 

Thankfully, with there being a large community of Arab, and particularly Palestinian individuals in the city, with robust immigrant-owned businesses, finding a home with the mosques in the community coupled with Global Cleveland ensuring the international community remains connected has helped me build a community that is more like family here.”

Read Melaak's Full Interview

Anusha Kandel

Global Cleveland is a great organization. They organize great programs for students and international communities to help them with networking, leadership development, and much more. In a world where nothing is free, to be able to gain personal and professional development experience free of cost, I truly consider Global Cleveland a GEM!

Read Anusha's Full Interview

Crispin Kamucici & Family

“Global Cleveland has been helpful, especially their Global Rising program. Monthly meetings in Global Rising were not only amazing, but they were also enriching. There, we were exposed to different perspectives of economic and social life through the presentations of experienced people, so I learned a lot. For myself and my family, Global Cleveland opened doors and introduced us to other people, mainly connections, connecting us to people or other organizations that can bring more opportunities for us.”

Read Crispin's Full Interview