FreshWater finds Common Ground with neighborhood changemakers

More than 100 gatherings took place yesterday as part of Cleveland Foundation’s second annual Common Ground event—a series of meaningful community conversations across Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties. Topics ranged from “Plastic Surgery: Cutting Plastic Out of Your Life” (hosted by the Greater Cleveland Aquarium) to “Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Diversity in Children’s Picture Books” (hosted by Case Western Reserve University).

FreshWater Cleveland had the opportunity to host its own installment: “Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?” Held at the Baseball Heritage Museum, the conversation was geared at connecting with neighborhood changemakers and helping bring their stories to the forefront.

13 Clevelanders were in attendance, including FreshWater publisher Tammy Wise, managing editor Jen Jones Donatelli, and managing photographer Bob Perkoski. Attendees hailed from neighborhoods including Collinwood, Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Lyndhurst, Hough, Midtown, Buckeye-Shaker, and Bratenahl. Organizations represented included the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, Neighborhood Leadership Development Program, CollectivExpress, and more. Two Ursuline nuns (also neighborhood activists) were also in attendance.

Topics ranged from gentrification and the effects of gerrymandering to neighborhood gems and exciting projects in development around town. Attendees shared stories of city pride, progress, and potential, remarking how Common Ground brings people together who might not otherwise have the chance to interact.

After a baseball-themed meal of gourmet hot dogs, potato salad, and Cracker Jacks, the newly formed “team” stepped onto the turf at League Park to take a group photo and seal the deal with a huddle.

FreshWater is honored to have been part of Common Ground, and we look forward to highlighting the stories of those in attendance and helping to sustain positive momentum created by this citywide effort.


Jen Jones Donatelli
Jen Jones Donatelli

About the Author: Jen Jones Donatelli

As an enthusiastic CLE-vangelist, Jen Jones Donatelli enjoys diving headfirst into her work with FreshWater Cleveland. Upon moving back to Cleveland after 16 years in Los Angeles, Jen served as FreshWater's managing editor for two years (2017-2019) and continues her work with the publication as a contributing editor and host of the FreshFaces podcast.

When not typing the day away at her laptop, she teaches writing and creativity classes through her small business Creative Groove, as well as Literary Cleveland, Cleveland State University, and more. Jen is a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.