‘The City With Spirit’ makes a difference
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Feb 21, 2014 | 1113 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print

“The City With Spirit” has been named a USA Weekend Make a Difference Day city award honoree.

Cleveland is one of three selected to receive $10,000 for local charities, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland confirmed. The city’s longtime administrative chief received notification of the award Thursday.

“It says a lot to our entire community to know that we have people who excel in helping others [and] that we finally got national attention for it,” Rowland said. “We’ve always known at home ... but now we have been recognized by people in other parts of the country.”

While the city has been honored with a certificate of participation several times and featured in the USA Weekend Make a Difference Day edition once, this is the first time Cleveland has been chosen for the city award.

Cleveland, along with the other city award winners, 10 national winners and the All-Star honoree, will be featured in the April edition of USA Weekend magazine. According to the USA Weekend Make a Difference Day website, this edition is a part of its support of National Volunteer Week.

Rowland said he became involved with Make A Difference Day because he wanted to see increased participation.

“I think that when we started having people list their projects and send us the projects ... it got more people involved and more groups involved. It seems like at first we were thinking of one big event each year, but I think the most successful part of Make a Difference Day was getting a lot of people involved in a lot of events that aided more people,” Rowland said.

The city award will be officially presented to Cleveland during a reception on April 11 in Washington, D.C.

How the money can be divided is yet to be determined. Rowland said he was unsure if the entire $10,000 had to go to one organization or if it could be divided among some that had participated. He said he will be getting more information in the near future.

While many projects happened in connection with the 2013 Make a Difference Day in Cleveland, a few stood out.

Rowland said People for Care and Learning’s Bike 2 Build fundraiser for the Build a City project in Cambodia, Lee University students packing bags of food for underprivileged children and a 40&8 5-kilometer road race raising funds for nursing scholarships stood out to USA Weekend.

Cleveland has participated in Make a Difference Day since Rowland entered office as mayor in 1991.

“From Day 1, I said if you are looking for a project, look out your front door or your back door, and you’ll find a neighbor in need,” Rowland said.

To qualify for the award, the mayor’s office submitted information on the many local events held in connection with the day of service.

More information was requested from the contest office last month, making the mayor hopeful Cleveland was in the running for the grant money.

The Make a Difference Day contest is sponsored primarily by USA Weekend and Points of Light. Newman's Own food company, which donates all of its profits to charity, makes the cash awards possible.