Cuyahoga County to Award $3.3 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Assembly for the Arts

Cuyahoga County to Award $3.3 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Funds to Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Assembly for the Arts

Funds will be distributed to support arts nonprofits, creative workers, and for-profit creative businesses

CLEVELAND (March 28, 2022) – Cuyahoga County has proposed an allocation of $3.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help bolster the creative economy, County Executive Armond Budish and County Council President Pernel Jones, Jr. announced today.

The relief funding was secured through a collaborative effort of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) and Assembly for the Arts. Following approval by County Council, funds will be evenly divided between CAC and Assembly for the Arts. CAC will develop guidelines for distribution to eligible CAC nonprofit grant recipients that have a primary mission of arts and culture. Assembly will similarly develop guidelines for distribution to arts-related small businesses and creative workers.

“The economic vitality of our region depends on the revival of creative workers–individual artists, cultural nonprofits and for-profit cultural businesses. The County’s investment will help bring us back from historic losses.  We thank the County Executive and County Council for channeling resources to strengthen the creative sector. As we have seen with prior investments in arts and culture organizations, each dollar invested increases the size of the overall pie” said Jeremy Johnson, president of Assembly for the Arts.

CAC’s Executive Director Jill M. Paulsen said the funding is critically important to the hard-hit arts and culture sector in the county. A CAC report on the impact of COVID on the nonprofit arts sector in the county shows 65 organizations that receive support from CAC have lost $171 million in revenue and more than 5,000 workers have been laid off, furloughed, or faced reduced hours since March 2020. Prior to the pandemic, the creative economy in the Cleveland MSA generated $9.1 billion annually.

“The creative economy is core to the identity of Cuyahoga County, and it has been slower than other industries to begin to recover from the pandemic. We appreciate County Executive Budish, County Council President Jones and other leadership at the county for recognizing the importance of arts and culture and for understanding the needs of nonprofit organizations of all sizes,” Paulsen said. “Every bit of funding helps nonprofits arts organizations recover so they can serve the community well into the future.”

Huntington Bank & City of Cleveland Announce Entrepreneurship Program to Help Region's Small Businesses Grow

Entrepreneurs in Residence Powered by Huntington will provide services from 11 nonprofits and City Hall

CLEVELANDJan. 26, 2022 -- Huntington National Bank and the City of Cleveland today announced a new initiative to help small businesses grow and positively impact the economy in the greater Cleveland region and neighboring communities. The Entrepreneur in Residence Powered by Huntington program involves a partnership between Huntington and 11 nonprofit organizations in CuyahogaLorain, and Ashtabula counties. The nonprofits – each chosen for their expertise in supporting small business growth – will provide coaching and skills-training to help small businesses start and or grow their businesses while expanding their abilities to succeed.

One of the participating organizations in the Entrepreneurs in Residence Powered by Huntington program will be housed at Cleveland City Hall in partnership with Mayor Justin M. Bibb and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. The City Hall-based Entrepreneur in Residence will focus on minority business development on the southeast side of Cleveland. The Resident will work to bring initiatives such as the neighborhood retail assistance program and the storefront development program to the Lee/HarvardMount Pleasant, and Union Miles neighborhoods of Cleveland.

"Small and minority owned businesses will drive our economic recovery. The Entrepreneur in Residence Powered by Huntington program will provide us with the opportunity to support local businesses on the southeast side and connect them to resources inside and outside of City Hall," said Mayor Justin M. BibbCity of Cleveland. "This program highlights our commitment to putting people and neighborhoods first."

Huntington's 11 nonprofit partners will provide programming ranging from supporting minority real estate development contractors, manufacturers, and immigrant entrepreneurs to students and youth. Programs will include business coaching, financial management, digital technology skills, business planning, business growth, marketing, sales, revenue strategies, and more. Many of the programs focus on minorities and women.

"During listening sessions that we conducted last year, our partners shared the critical need for supporting under-resourced small business owners. We know that access to capital is a key part of helping small businesses grow and thrive," said Sean Richardson, greater Cleveland regional president of Huntington. "Entrepreneur in Residence Powered by Huntington is designed to leverage the expertise of our nonprofit partners to help small businesses expand their skills."

In addition to the 11 nonprofit partners, Huntington works with five more organizations to present webinars, speakers, training, and articles to help small businesses access content and advice beyond the core programs. The City Club of Cleveland will offer programming that features entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout the year. The Greater Cleveland Partnership-COSE will offer content about access to capital for small businesses.

Following is a list of the 11 nonprofit partners participating in the Entrepreneurs in Residence Powered by Huntington program:

Nonprofit Partner

Program description

Lorain County Community College

Small business development center 1:1 coaching


Iterator for manufacturing companies with new ideas or scaling up

Cuyahoga Community College

Online executive in residence and workshops, financial literacy

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress- Village Capital Corp

1)    Cleveland City Hall Entrepreneur in Residence to focus on business growth in Cleveland's southeast neighborhoods
2)    Contractors on the Rise program to increase the number of black-owned real estate developers and vendors

Greater Cleveland Partnership-Economic Growth Foundation

Minority business development assistance coach for businesses with $500,000 to $1 million in revenues

Urban League of Greater Cleveland- UBIZ Venture Capital

Youth entrepreneurship program


Digital coach for small business owners through the Women's Business Center

New Entrepreneurs Opportunity Fund

Mentoring, advising, networking for start-ups in Ashtabula County

Assembly for the Arts

Supports arts businesses with monthly financial coaching and capitalization

Global Cleveland

Immigrant microenterprise startups and coaching

President's Council

Financial metrics dashboard for minority-owned entrepreneurial start-ups

Entrepreneur in Residence Powered by Huntington aligns with Huntington's 2021 Strategic Community Plan, a commitment of more than $40 billion to address social, racial, environmental and economic inequities across the bank's footprint. The community plan will foster financial opportunities for consumers, businesses, and communities served by Huntington, with a focus on affordable housing, small business loans and increased capital to historically disadvantaged and low- to moderate-income communities.

Huntington will invest more than $500,000 in the Entrepreneur in Residence Powered by Huntington program.

About Huntington

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is a $174 billion asset regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1866, The Huntington National Bank and its affiliates provide consumers, small and middle-market businesses, corporations, municipalities, and other organizations with a comprehensive suite of banking, payments, wealth management, and risk management products and services. Huntington operates more than 1,100 branches in 12 states, with certain businesses operating in extended geographies. Visit for more information.

Cleveland Mayoral Candidates Seek to Position Arts and Culture as a Priority in their Administrations

Cleveland, OH – In a series of arts-focused questions posed to City of Cleveland Mayoral candidates by Collective Arts Network (CAN) Journal and Assembly for the Arts, all seven candidates provided a resounding Yes to questions asking whether they will establish a cabinet-level position supporting artists and arts activity and allocate a line item in their budgets to support the arts and cultural industries in Cleveland.

This comes as welcome news for both city residents and the arts and culture sector. The industry generates $9.1 billion in economic impact for the region and has a positive influence on residents. “A dedicated supportive structure for arts and culture like a Department of Cultural Affairs or arts liaison, for example, will yield immense benefits for the city’s economy, health, educational progress and international reputation,” says Jeremy Johnson, President & CEO of Assembly for the Arts.

Questions were collectively devised by CAN Journal and Assembly for the Arts and delivered to candidates this past week as a means to more clearly understand current mayoral candidates’ position on and value of arts and culture in Cleveland. “CAN is thrilled to collaborate with Jeremy Johnson and Assembly for the Arts by bringing these questions to the candidates and sharing their perspectives with voters,” says Michael Gill, Executive Director, Editor/Publisher of CAN Journal.

Research consistently reveals that the arts influence positive outcomes in education, healthcare and mental health, community revitalization and our region’s competitiveness in other markets. “Cleveland is home to hundreds of creative people, artists, organizations and businesses who are making incredible, boundary-pushing work that provides so much more to our communities than simply aesthetic value. The arts in Cleveland absolutely deserve space on the public policy stage, and posing these questions in partnership with Assembly for the Arts helps to establish that,” Michael Gill, Executive Director, Editor/Publisher of CAN Journal.

New Arts Alliance Will Give United Voice To Northeast Ohio’s Arts Community


Arts Leader & Cleveland Native Jeremy Johnson
Selected to Lead “Assembly for the Arts"

For Immediate Release May 10, 2021
Media Contact: Malissa Bodmann, 216-536-7517


CLEVELAND – An ambitious plan for a new organization built on a collaborative model to serve all of Cleveland’s arts community is set to launch mid-June. After more than a year of planning, leaders have announced the formation of Assembly for the Arts, a nonprofit arts alliance in Greater Cleveland, to provide a unified voice, set regional goals, and represent shared priorities for the creative economy in Northeast Ohio. Jeremy V. Johnson, a Cleveland native and most recently Executive Director of Newark Arts (NJ), has been chosen to lead Assembly for the Arts after a national search.


Assembly for the Arts will be a nonprofit and advocacy organization [501(c)3 and 501(c)4]. Assembly for the Arts will focus on an ambitious advocacy and cultural policy agenda; racial equity initiatives; informed and focused research; cooperative marketing that elevates the region; a diverse portfolio of membership services; and capacity building for nonprofits, artists and creative businesses. The new organization will be governed by a volunteer board with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. At least 50% of board members will be women or non-binary people and at least 40% will be BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).


For more than a year, community partners Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Arts Cleveland, and the Arts and Culture Action Committee, with support from the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation, have led the planning for a new organization that would serve the entire creative sector: artists, nonprofits and creative businesses.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture will remain a separate entity focused on funding nonprofits – an independent political subdivision of the State of Ohio with grantmaking authority – and will have representation on the Assembly for the Arts board.


After nearly 20 years in service of Cuyahoga County’s creative economy, Arts Cleveland will cease operations concurrent with the launch of the new alliance, as will the Arts and Culture Action Committee. The current Arts Cleveland staff will support Assembly for the Arts’ operations.


Johnson, a native Clevelander who grew up in Hough and Glenville and attended University School, is known to be a powerful convener, effective collaborator and an extremely gifted fundraiser. Most recently, he has served as the Executive Director of Newark Arts. Over the course of his nearly five years there, he has tripled both the fundraising and staff size of the organization, transforming it into a vibrant force for change in the Newark community. Johnson raised the national profile of Newark, now ranked among America’s top ten arts vibrant communities by the National Center for Arts Research.


“After nearly 20 years in New Jersey, I’m excited to return home to Cleveland to lead this new organization,” Johnson said. “Assembly for the Arts will be one voice, representative of the diversity of our region, that lifts up the arts in Northeast Ohio. Though this effort builds on decades of work, there has never been a greater need to support artists, nonprofits and creative businesses in Northeast Ohio as we begin recovery from the pandemic and seek a stronger future for the entire sector. My vision for Assembly for the Arts is that it will advocate for artists and arts organizations, shape transformational policies, and prioritize racial equity in the movement to lift our community through the power of arts and culture.”


Chinenye Nkemere, a member of the Assembly for the Arts Planning Committee and Board, said Johnson’s experience as a convener and collaborator will be important for Assembly for the Arts’ work. “Assembly has an ambitious agenda to be equitable, inclusive and represent all voices in our community. It will require listening and seeking out and bringing together divergent points of view,” Nkemere said. “We look forward to having Jeremy lead this work to create a more racially equitable and active arts community.”


Jill Paulsen, Executive Director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, said the new organization comes at a critical time for the sector. “The pandemic has been devastating on the creative economy in Cuyahoga County, and it has exposed how much our community counts on arts and culture for quality of life and as an economic engine. By working together, we can do so much more – just as we demonstrated when we united to secure $4.5-million in CARES Act relief for the arts and culture sector. As we look for new sources of funding, Assembly will provide the structure for a new level of collaboration and shared commitment to a vision for our arts sector. I’m excited to have a new partner in this vital work,” she said.


Kelly Falcone-Hall, a member of the Arts Cleveland board and President and CEO of the Western Reserve Historical Society, noted that the formation of Assembly for the Arts builds on Cleveland’s legacy of innovative support for arts and culture. Arts Cleveland led the efforts to secure public support for arts and culture more than 15 years ago. “The creative economy, inclusive of nonprofits, artists, and for-profit arts enterprises, is a significant economic driver in greater Cleveland, having an annual economic impact of $9.1 billion, which includes 62,500 jobs and $3.3 billion in labor income. We need to support everyone from the smallest to the largest organizations if this sector is to thrive. Building on the work of Arts Cleveland, Assembly is well positioned to support individuals and organizations of all sizes, no matter if they are starting out or are well established,” she said.


Fred Bidwell, chair of the Arts and Culture Action Committee, which will fold into Assembly for the Arts along with Arts Cleveland, said having the sector unified in its advocacy efforts will allow the region to maintain the strong and diverse arts and culture offerings that are a hallmark of the region. “We can accomplish so much more by working together to move our sector forward,” Bidwell said. “We are grateful to the support of the Cleveland Foundation and Gund Foundation to support the planning work that helped us deliver on our vision of a truly new way of transforming Greater Cleveland’s arts community.”


About Assembly for the Arts

Assembly for the Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and 501(c)4 advocacy organization with a focus on advocacy and cultural policy, racial equity initiatives, research, marketing that elevates the region, and services for nonprofits, artists, and creative businesses. It is governed by a volunteer board with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. More than 50% of Assembly for the Arts board members are women or non-binary people and more than 40% are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). For more than a year, community partners Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Arts Cleveland, and the Arts and Culture Action Committee, with support from the Cleveland Foundation and the George Gund Foundation, have led the planning for a new organization to serve the entire creative sector. Learn more at

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