2013: Tom O'Brien (Nominator - Dr. Mark Chupp – Case Western Reserve University)
He has become a nationally recognized leader in engaging grassroots activists through his work in the city of Cleveland. Early in his career at Slavic Village, he redefined community organizing from strength based approach based on appreciative inquiry, which resulted in a new the publication of a new manual to help other communities adapt the model. At the Neighborhood Connection, a small grant program of The Cleveland Foundation, he expanded the program for community empowerment by creating a network of grantees to share ideas, support each other, and work on related policy issues. Tom was able to secure additional funding to establish an organizing program and office in the Greater University Circle Initiative, which has engaged thousands of residents and institutional leaders in the past few years to break down barriers, build trust, and begin a wealth building initiative.
2006: Barbara Peppey
2005: Christopher Valley
2003: Paul Castelloe
2002: Sister Mary Alice Murphy