Yes, but don’t get excited. At the Philanthropia event today at Landerhaven, almost 900 attendees heard Cleveland Foundation president and CEO Ronn Richard talk about Cleveland, philanthropy and the economy.
When asked how to get Cleveland back on track he offered 3 ways:
1) Convince TRW, BP and others to come back – but he, of course, doesn’t think that will happen.
2) Fund startups. He pointed to the work of Bioenterprise, Jumpstart and Nortech in particular
3) Do what made Cleveland a great city in the first place. That is, by becoming the leader in a new industry. Make Cleveland the home town of not just some new companies but of new industries – stem cell, wind power, etc. Just like the semiconductor industry transformed Silicon Valley, one industry could transform our region.
He added that Cleveland was in some way a victim of its own success. By being so good and important in manufacturing all those years, it may have stayed too long at that party. While manufacturing is still strong here, he suggested it was time for new innovation.
I was schmoozing with tablemates during much of this but my ears perked up when I heard him use Neosa as an example. He said the Cleveland Foundation had just given a grant to an organization called Neosa. I was surprised but thrilled to hear it.
Then he went on to talk about how this regional group lets cities buy salt together in a better way. So the “s” in his example Neosa was for salt, not software. Sigh.