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emerging technologies : For Good

6 emerging technologies Articles | Page:

endowment fund to boost midtown group's good works

The two square miles of real estate between downtown Cleveland and University Circle are bursting with development. A local nonprofit has established a fund to ensure that work continues to flourish.

On June 20, economic development corporation MidTown Cleveland, Inc. announced the creation of the MidTown Cleveland, Inc. Endowment Fund at the Cleveland Foundation. The fund, under the foundation's guidance, proposes to build a sustainable revenue source to secure continued activity in the burgeoning district. This will include promotion of the health-tech corridor, a three-mile expanse of hospitals, business incubators, educational institutions and high-tech companies situated within MidTown.

The growing tech corridor isn't the only project the fund will support, notes MidTown chairman John Melchiorre. The group plans to leave other "footprints" on the community as well, be they demolishing old buildings, planting flowers along Euclid Avenue or helping transform distressed properties into job-creating enterprises.

"The Cleveland Foundation has been a leading supporter of the revitalization of Midtown, so this is just the latest way our two organizations have joined forces for the betterment of that neighborhood," said Kaye Ridolfi, senior vice president of advancement at the Cleveland Foundation.

Founded by Cleveland businessman Mort Mandel and others some 30 years ago, MidTown Cleveland has helped develop the area into a business district home to 600 companies and 18,000 employees. Executive director Jim Haviland views MidTown as part of the city's renaissance, and believes the fund will sustain the region for decades to come.

"It helps us to continue the role we play" within the neighborhood, says Haviland.

 
SOURCES: John Melchiorre, Jim Haviland, Kaye Ridolfi
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

'father-daughter hackday' encourages girls to become makers of technology

If it's up to Rachel Wilkins Patel, fathers and daughters will create something cool together this Father's Day.

Patel is founder HER Ideas in Motion, Northeast Ohio’s first technology and media program for girls. On June 15, the nonprofit will host a Father-Daughter HackDay featuring hands-on activities and career role-modeling for girls ages 11-14 interested in STEM-focused studies. Participants will create their own projects under the tutelage of female technology professionals.

The workshop "is about fathers encouraging daughters to try new things and become makers of technology, not just users," says Patel, a developer at Progressive Insurance.

Being the only woman in the room is not uncommon in high-tech professions, something that HER Ideas in Motion aims to change.

"The number of women in programming is flat and even decreasing in some areas," Patel says. "We're trying to address social and industry issues."

Launched in 2011, the program has graduated 130 students. Interacting with successful women from Rosetta, LeanDog Software, NetApp and Keybank during the Father's Day program will only motivate teen girls to pursue their high-tech aspirations, believes the nonprofit founder.

Gender should not be an obstacle for creative types hoping to program their own video game or dissect the inner workings of a computer, Patel notes. Middle school is the perfect time to introduce girls to the ever-growing digital space.

"We want to reach them before they know what they're capable of," she says. "They should be comfortable taking technical classes later in their school careers."

 
SOURCE: Rachel Wilkins Patel
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

clevelander's documentary offers real-life tales of rust belt revitalization

For some, the term "Rust Belt" conjures unpleasant images of empty factories, foreclosed homes and unhappy people wandering cracked streets, wondering when times will get better. But what's really happening in some of the Midwest's major cities, and how different is it from the way these cities are often depicted?

Jack Storey thinks he has an answer. The impassioned city advocate has created a documentary chronicling what he believes is a more accurate representation of resilient cities working on reinventing themselves.

"Red, White & Blueprints" is an examination of the strides being taken by Cleveland, St. Louis, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Youngstown, highlighting the most innovative initiatives, individuals and ideas coming out of these cities.

"It's a positive movie about the Rust Belt, which nobody is really doing," says Storey, 30. "We're showcasing another side of these cities."

Storey, founder of the grassroots community development organization Saving Cities, spent two weeks in the summer of 2011 traveling and taking footage with friend Rick Stockburger. He met steelworkers and autoworkers, entrepreneurs and politicians, all with their own ideas on how to boost their respective homes. Locally, he interviewed figures including Gina Prodan from Unmiserable Cleveland and Katie O'Keefe, better known as "the pink-haired tattoo girl."

Storey, of Collinwood, learned just how tough Midwesterners are. More surprising was how deeply the people he met cared about their city's livelihood. "It was the most educational experience of my life," he says.

"Red, White & Blueprints" debuted this week at Cleveland International Film Festival. (Screens tonight at 6:30 p.m. on stand-by.) Storey hopes the film gives viewers a truer vision of what it means to live in Cleveland and other less heralded parts of the country.
 
 
SOURCE: Jack Storey
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

clevelander makes waves through water sustainability education

In recent years, Mentor native Erin Huber has flown 7,000 miles just to get the population of a small Ugandan village a drop to drink. That effort is part of a larger endeavor to promote water sustainability both locally and globally.

Huber, founder of Drink Local Drink Tap, a nonprofit organization seeking to connect Clevelanders to local water through art installations and free environmental education, traveled to Africa the last two summers with the mission of getting an impoverished people access to clean water.

The first trip, in 2011, found the activist journeying throughout East Africa to learn about the water situation. Her visit to a rural Ugandan town was particularly eye-opening. Children in the village had to walk over a mile to find a nearby water source, and the water wasn't clean or safe.

Last summer, Huber and her small team returned to Uganda, where they drilled a 70-meter hole into a water table to bring drinkable water to the people of the tiny African community. They filmed their efforts for the documentary Making Waves from Cleveland to Uganda, which Huber hopes to screen at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

"We struck water 'gold,'" she says of the Africa venture, which now supplies fresh drinking water to about 1,500 villagers.

Huber, with a master's degree in environmental studies from Cleveland State University and fond memories of a childhood spent camping next to lakes, streams and rivers, has three more water-related projects set for a future jaunt to Uganda. Meanwhile, she will continue to educate Cleveland's youth and adults about the enormous local fresh water resource known as the Great Lakes.

"We have to realize how fortunate we are," Huber says. "Everything we see needs water to exist."
  
 
SOURCE: Erin Huber
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth

inaugural wind festival to feature exhibits on wind energy

With prominent wind turbines at Lincoln Electric and William Sopko and Sons, the City of Euclid has embraced alternative energy in recent years. This weekend, the lakefront city hosts the inaugural Euclid Wind Festival, which celebrates breezes by offering wind-themed crafts, food, live music, artwork and exhibits on wind energy.

Billed as "downtown Euclid's biggest party of the summer" according to a  press release from the Shore Cultural Centre, the event will feature artists creating wind-themed works on site, live woodwind music and a giant wind chime.

The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), a nonprofit organization that advocates for wind energy development in Northeast Ohio, will educate visitors about wind energy and host an exhibit showcasing winning designs from the 2012 Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair.

The Euclid Wind Festival will take place on Saturday, July 7th from 11 am until 7 pm on the grounds of the Shore Cultural Centre at 291 East 222nd St. The event is sponsored by Shore, the City of Euclid and the Euclid Chamber of Commerce.


Source: Shore Cultural Centre
Writer: Lee Chilcote

foundation center cleveland launches mobile version of grant-seeking site

The Foundation Center launched Grant Space to aggregate its most popular content in one easy-to-navigate location and be responsive to its audience. The website features video chats with grant makers and a calendar of trainings. It also allows visitors to quickly interact with Foundation Center staff.

Now the Center has launched Grant Space Mobile, a new version geared towards mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. Foundation Center Cleveland Director Cynthia Bailie says the website, which she developed and is now being used across the country, is one more way the Foundation Center is innovating to serve its customer base. The site is helping grant seekers to become more savvy about using technology to do good in their communities, she says.

"The world has increasingly gone to mobile devices, and we wanted to give our audience what they need in a user-friendly way," says Bailie.

Despite the at-your-fingertips information that is now available online, visits to the Foundation Center Cleveland, which is located in the Hanna Building at PlayhouseSquare, have not declined. Bailie believes that this is because the Center's online presence and physical location actually complement each other.

"We decided to put everything online and offer high-touch in-person services; we've found it has increased our visibility and people still come in," she says.

Making technology more accessible to grant seekers helps them to access funding more easily, identify new sources, strategize ideas and solicit a national and even international audience of grant makers, Bailie says. Recently, the Foundation Center Cleveland hosted a "Good Gone Mobile" networking and information night. The event highlighted two mobile trends, giving and advocacy, and allowed attendees to network with each other and learn from others in the field.

"There's a greater appetite for experimentation with new technologies. We've created a gateway that allows people to quickly tap in and get what they need."


Source: Cynthia Bailie
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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