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Big Fun celebrates 25 years on April 1st

On Friday, April 1, Big Fun, the uber-quirky toy store at 1814 Coventry Rd., will mark its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, every item in the store will be discounted 25 percent and customers will be invited to enjoy a slice of cake.

The store will feature special giveaways, gifts and entertainment throughout the weekend, with a 15 percent discount offered on Saturday’s purchases, and a 10 percent discount offered on Sunday.

Get the whole big and fun story here.

Fund for Our Economic Future approves $3m in awards

The members of the Fund for Our Economic Future (the Fund), a philanthropic collaboration, have approved $3 million in funding to advance business development and job creation in Northeast Ohio, with the end goal of growing the regional economy so that all people benefit.

The recipients include:

Team NEO:  a one-year award of up to $650,000 to support the advancement of a shared, regional economic competitiveness strategy, business development and economic research.

BioEnterprise:  a two-year award of up to $800,000 to support its efforts to grow the bioscience cluster.

MAGNET:  a two-year award of up to $900,000 for its PRISM initiative to help mid-size manufacturers with high-growth potential innovate and prosper.

JumpStart:  a two-year award of up to $500,000 for its Scaleup Initiative to support high-growth potential companies; and a one-year award of up to $150,000 to support its startup network. 

Get all the details on this announcement here.

Mobile Growth Cleveland to host March 22 meetup

Mobile Growth, a community of mobile app developers (iOS and Android), mobile startups, and mobile marketers will host a meetup on Tuesday, March 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Speakeasy, 1948 West 25th St. This event is free and open to the public.
 
The event will feature networking opportunities and a panel including Michael Conley of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Matthew Lehman from Keybank, Brian Stein of Pervasive Path and Lauren Kluth of CLEseats. The panel will be moderated by Adam Lovallo, of Grow.co.
 
Attendees may register and get further details here.

Warren A. Sill Fund annual event to celebrate partnership with CMC and CMSD

On Saturday, April 9, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the Warren A. Sill Fund (WASF) will host "Spring out of Hibernation," at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, 1309 Euclid Ave. Two hundred attendees are expected to celebrate the launch of the Fund’s early education program and its past scholarship recipients.Tickets are $35 and can be purchased here.
 
The WASF board of directors will unveil an innovative partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and the Children’s Museum of Cleveland (CMC) that will provide quality extra-classroom experiences to 20 underprivileged pre-kindergarten students at Euclid Park Elementary, 17914 Euclid Ave.
 
“Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Euclid Park PreK-8 School are excited that we were given the opportunity to join this incredible partnership. Through the generosity of The Warren A. Sill Fund, our PreK students will benefit greatly from hands-on, inquiry-based learning through the Children’s Museum of Cleveland,” Qianna Tidmore of CMSD’s Office of Early Childhood Education said in a release.
 
“The Fund’s greatest quality is its ability to dream – beyond the tragedy of Warren’s passing and now beyond the parameters of traditional education philanthropy,” Tyler Allchin, chair and cofounder of WASF added.

“In partnership with two tremendous institutions, the Fund has the opportunity to deliver an extraordinary return on a strategic investment in Cleveland’s PreK population,” said Allchin in the release.

Registration open for third 4 Miles 4 Water event on May 7 at Edgewater

Drink Local Drink Tap's third 4 Miles 4 Water event will be held on Saturday May 7 from 2 to 10 p.m. at the Cleveland Metroparks' Edgewater Reservation. Activities include a one-mile walk, four-mile run, free "All Things Water" festival with concert, and Guinness World Record Attempt. More than 1,500 participants are expected, including more than 500 registered runners and walkers.

Registration fees vary, but all proceeds will go to Drink Local Drink Tap's mission to preserve our fresh water resources and to have a positive impact on the global water crisis by creating more awareness and reconnecting people with the fresh water resources in their own backyards. Here are links to the participant form and the exhibitor form. There are also sponsorship opportunities.

More information is available here.

Sustainable Cleveland 2019, Great Lakes Brewery, offer up free happy hour apps, networking

Sustainable Cleveland 2019 invites everyone to be a part of "The Year of Sustainable Transportation" and get involved in some of the organization's 2016 projects on Wednesday, March 16, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Great Lakes Brewing Company, 2701 Carroll Avenue. This free public event will feature networking along with free happy hour appetizers and a cash bar.

Attendees are asked to register for the event here.

Las Vegas cocktails, Cleveland art

Last month, local artist Dana Oldfather completed her second commission for the MGM Resorts International's Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The work consists of two large pieces, Reflexive 1 and 2, which measure roughly 10 ½ by 12 feet each. She completed her previous commission for the hospitality giant in 2013 when she was seven months pregnant.
 
"I'm sure glad it went well because it provided the opportunity to make the largest paintings I have every made," says Oldfather of this second commission. She finished both Reflexive pieces on February 13 then prepared them for shipping by dismantling and rolling them. The works will eventually unfurl in the resort's exclusive Sky Suites Lounge.
 
"It's been a long process," says Oldfather, "about two months of planning, building and ordering, and four months of painting. I am so thankful for my family and all the help they provided so that this project would be possible."
 
Get more details on the artist and her process here.

Cleveland is #2 - in mortgage affordability

According to online mortgage resource HSH.com, a homeowner must earn $32,523 in order to own a home in Cleveland. The only city with a lower threshold was Pittsburgh, for which the figure was $31,134. The highest must-earn income for home ownership was $147,996 for San Francisco.

From HSH.com:

"HSH.com took the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2015 fourth-quarter data for median-home prices and HSH.com’s 2015 fourth-quarter average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to determine how much of your salary it would take to afford the base cost of owning a home - the principal, interest, taxes and insurance - in 27 metro areas.

We used standard 28 percent "front-end" debt ratios and a 20 percent down payment subtracted from the NAR’s median-home-price data to arrive at our figures. We've incorporated available information on property taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs to more accurately reflect the income needed in a given market."

Get all the details here.

Cleveland Community Police Commission to hold "Use of Force" town hall

On Wednesday, March 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Halloran Skating Rink, 3350 West 117th St., the Cleveland Community Police Commission (CCPC) will hold a "Use of Force" town hall meeting. This event is free and open to the public.

Per the March 3 press release, "this meeting is focused on the CCPC's mandate to collect the concerns, experiences and values of the community concerning police use of force policies, training and accountability.

Attendees are invited to fill out a questionnaire available here. Contact info@clecpc.org or 216-755-4272 for more information.
 

CCPL offers Food4Fines throughout March

The Cuyahoga County Public Library invites patrons to reduce their library fines throughout the month of March by bringing in up to four of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank's "Super Six" food items, which include peanut butter, cereal and canned soup, vegetables, beef stew, and tuna. Patrons will get a $1 reduction in fines for every food item donated, up to $4 per visit, per account.
 
Cash donations will also be accepted during the entire Harvest for Hunger campaign.
 
Get all the details here.
 

Interest free loans for Mt. Pleasant residents

The Saint Luke’s Foundation recently awarded a grant to the Hebrew Free Loan Association (HFLA) of Northeast Ohio to provide interest free loans of up to $5,000 to the residents in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood who are in need of home repair or funds to purchase side yards.

Qualifications include income that will allow repayment of the loan, a co-signer and quotes from an insured and bonded contractor. Loan checks will be written directly to the service provider. Perfect repayment of this loan will allow applicants to qualify for future interest free loans.

For additional information click here or call 216-378-9042.

Friday launch party: CAN Journal to feature international Creative Fusion cohort

The Spring 2016 issue of CAN Journal marks the beginning of a partnership between Collective Arts Network and the Cleveland Foundation to broaden awareness of the Foundation's Creative Fusion international artist residency program. The new issue will be released at the Bonfoey Gallery, 1710 Euclid Avenue, in tandem with the opening of Ron Barron's Gleanings with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 4. This event is free and open to the public.

Each year since 2008, the Foundation has brought artists from around the world to Cleveland for three-month residencies hosted by local nonprofit organizations. The new issue of CAN introduces audiences to the Spring 2016 cohort, which is hosted by Zygote Press, the Cleveland Print Room, Verb Ballets, Inlet Dance Theater, The Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, and The Sculpture Center. Artists of the Spring cohort hail from Albania, Pakistan, South Africa, and Taiwan.

In addition to Creative Fusion, the new issue of CAN includes feature stories on two African American artists whose work deals with race matters, Darius Steward and Clotilde Jimenez, and on what the Cleveland Institute of Art's new unified campus means to the organization's past and future, a review of Unfixed at Transformer Station, comprehensive event listings, and previews of upcoming shows at three-dozen galleries.

Russo brothers ignite rumors about next "Avengers" effort to film in CLE

Didn't Fresh Water just report on the benefits of the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit? Why, yes, we did. And then this pops into our feed from MoviePilot:

"They didn’t share any 'Captain America: Civil War' spoilers, but directors Joe and Anthony Russo told fans that 'Avengers: Infinity War' could land in Cleveland.

'It’s on the list,' said Anthony.

The reveal took place Saturday during a Wizard World Comic-Con Cleveland panel titled 'Let’s Shut Down Some Streets: Bringing the Avengers, Captain America and the Russo Brothers to Cleveland.'

The Russos, who grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Case Western Reserve University, were joined by Ivan Schwarz, director of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. The trio discussed how the region could grow its production slate and how it could attract more features to Northeast Ohio.

The first step, said Schwarz, was getting the Ohio legislature to raise the motion picture tax incentive from $25 million a year to $75 million. That’s legislation will go before Ohio lawmakers this spring."

Get the whole story here.

A tip of the hat to Tom Tenant, who champions films and filmmaking in the Midwest - primarily Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Detroit (but mostly Cleveland), for this great tip. Readers can follow his musings on Midwest Movie Maker.

JumpStart, CWRU and St. Clair Superior among grant recipients

Earlier this month, Burton D. Morgan Foundation Trustees approved more than $3.2 million in grants to organizations that promote entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio. 
 
Beneficiaries include:

St. Clair Superior Development Corporation - $100,000 to develop youth entrepreneurship opportunities that integrate the unique maker culture of the St. Clair Superior neighborhood into Northeast Ohio’s rich entrepreneurship programming (2 years).

JumpStart - $1,000,000 to support the expansion of the Burton D. Morgan Mentoring Program to serve companies in new sectors (3 years).

Case Western Reserve University - $193,381 to support the publication of a book and the design and execution of data collection protocols associated with the Beyond Silicon Valley massive online open course (2 years).

Hawken School - $100,000 to support the development of a digital platform for the Hawken Educators Workshop, and provide scholarships for public school educators in Northeast Ohio to attend the workshop (2 years).

Notre Dame College - $100,000 to support entrepreneurship programming in 2016 and 2017 ($50,000) and to secure and improve program space on campus in 2016 ($50,000).
 
A complete list of grantees is available here.

19th Annual Slavic Village Neighborhood Summit coming March 12

On Saturday, March 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Slavic Village Development invites the public to the 19th Annual Slavic Village Neighborhood Summit at St. John Nepomucene Church, 4906 Fleet Ave.
 
The event will feature Liz Maugens, executive director of Zygote Press, a social hour and lunch.
 
Get all the details here.
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