Engage! Cleveland began as an idea in 2011 and was incorporated in the State of Ohio as a legal not-for-profit entity on Feb. 14, 2014. For much of that time the Greater Cleveland Partnership served as the group’s fiscal agent and home. In August of 2015, like many young professionals groups have done, “we finally ‘moved out’ and got our ‘own place,’” Engage! Cleveland President Ashley Basile Oeken said. Three months later the organization received its 501c3, tax-exempt, recognition from the IRS. “When you think about the epitome of growth, moving out of GCP and getting that magical piece of paper are by far two of the most important steps any start-up organization can take,” Basile Oeken said. Engage! Cleveland experienced external growth as well, reached more than 25,000 YPs via social media and events. A pivotal part of that reach was made possible by a redesigned website that launched in May. The group reached more than 10,000 Twitter followers, 5,000 Facebook followers, 2,500 Instagram followers, and 5,000 newsletter subscribers. On the networking front, the group hosted and partnered on more than 29 events geared specifically at YPs, not including the 39 events during its second-annual Cleveland Young Professionals Week. Engage! Cleveland partnered with several organizations, including the Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland International Film Festival, Cleveland Magazine, Cleveland Cavaliers, MOCA, and TedxCLE. Cleveland Young Professionals Week included 125 sponsors and partners. Engage! Cleveland serves the 80-plus young professional organizations in Greater Cleveland. Throughout the year it hosted Collaboration Council meetings to bring together the leaders of these organizations to share best practices and network with one another. The meetings provide an important opportunity to learn from one another, find new ways to collaborate, and strengthen the network of YPs and YPOs. “And with our in-depth knowledge of each of these organizations, when a new young professional comes to the community we can assist in matching them with the right YPO,” Basile Oeken said.
Runners-up: New Partners of Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center; Playhouse Square Partners; Providence House PHriends Group; Young Leaders of United Way of Greater Cleveland.
2015 — Engage! Cleveland