This month, Beth Sebian was recognized as an OpenGov Champion by the Washington, DC hub of all things transparency, the Sunlight Foundation for organizing the TAP Summit and promoting Open Gov through her work in Cleveland.

See Sunlight Foundation’s Open Gov Champions.

Thanks to the Civic Commons and Jill Miller Zimon for supporting the TAP Summit and recognizing Beth Sebian and the Cleveland Coalition’s Work.


Facilitators: Bill Callahan, Wanda Davis

Three major takeaways

  1. Up to 20% of the County’s adult residents and up to 50% of adult Cleveland residents don’t have broadband Internet access in their homes. Government transparency initiatives that rely on online tools will exclude these citizens, unless accompanied by strategic efforts to help them become effective Internet users.
  2. There are now big, well-funded “Digital Inclusion” campaigns under way led by OneCommunity’s Connect Your Community Project (in Cleveland and East Cleveland) and the County Library and Connect Ohio (in many suburban communities). These campaigns, funded by Federal broadband stimulus grants, are helping thousands of disconnected residents to become broadband users, but they are funded only until Summer/Fall 2012. This is a unique opportunity that the County and transparency advocates need to a) seize while it lasts, and/or b) help to extend beyond 2012 with local resources and partnerships.
  3. There are experienced, committed nonprofits and libraries already leading the way in this area, and constantly on the lookout for partners.

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Who is the Cleveland Coalition?

We’ve gotten several requests for more information about the Cleveland Coalition and in the spirit of transparency, I figure we should publish the information right here on our site.

Here’s the 411: The collection of individuals that calls itself the Cleveland Coalition is a group of ten Clevelanders who organized ourselves in January of 2010. Our goal was to sponsor events and activities that would stimulate civic dialogue in a productive fashion about issues that affect our quality of life in the Greater Cleveland area.

This core group has been playing the role of an Advisory Board over the past year: planning and executing our events and determining advocacy strategy relative to our two projects (Cleveland’s casino and the TAP Summit). This group consists of: Ahmed Abonamah, Jason Bristol, Fran DiDonato, David Jurca, Kevin Leeson, Nick Martin, Beth Sebian, Gauri Torgalkar, Graham Veysey, and Eric Wobser.

Given our recent success in acquiring funding through the Gund Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation for the TAP Summit, we are considering more carefully the question of how we can sustain and grow our efforts and how we can expand our organization to incorporate more voices and ones that bring an intimate knowledge of our community’s needs and have some moxie for making stuff happen. Our internal review will culminate in a board retreat scheduled for October of this year.

Our organization admittedly needs to incorporate more diverse leadership and membership (we are all keenly aware of this!) and we hope that following a thoughtful planning process, we can grow the capacity to build our group in a way that’s respectful of the responsibilities we bear to our community here in Cleveland.

Read a little more about us here: “Encouraged by a new generation of believers: Brent Larkin,” The Plain Dealer (June 6, 2010)


Thank you to Chris Ronayne for this guest submission.

Ed Hauser (Photo credit: Chris Stephens, The Plain Dealer)

If you ever watch a sunset from the shores of Cleveland’s Whiskey Island, remember a man named Ed Hauser. If you’re ever looking over Cleveland’s Historic Coast Guard Station shining at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, tip your hat to Hauser. These places exist and are publicly accessible today because one man demanded public access to the decisions of his local government. Ed “Citizen” Hauser invoked transparency and accountability from the public sector through his masterful use of every tool of public process available to him by right – the right to public records, the right to open meetings, the right to record a meeting, the right to make public statements at public meetings. Many public officials may remember Hauser as the man behind the video camera at public meetings which may be the reason a few remember him like a blister on the heel. But any Cleveland public official who is honest will remember Hauser as one of the most effective community advocates the City of Cleveland has ever known. In my public service as Planning Director and Chief of Staff for the City of Cleveland, I remember Ed Hauser as the man at the microphone at the public meeting.

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The Five Conditions of Collective Success (Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2011)

As we set about to organize the TAP Summit, we’ve drawn from best practices established by other collaborative endeavors.

Research by FSG Social Impact consultants John Kania and Mark Kramer shows that successful collective impact initiatives typically have five conditions that together produce true alignment and lead to powerful results:

1) a common agenda
2) shared measurement systems
3) mutually reinforcing activities
4) continuous communication
5) backbone support organizations

Read the full journal article here. h/t Lucas Cioffi

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