United Way of Greater Cleveland http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org Tue, 25 Oct 2016 21:19:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 94256747 Fringe Boutique brings one-of-a-kind clothing, accessories to 2016 Rock the CATWALK http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/fringe-boutique-brings-one-of-a-kind-clothing-accessories-to-2016-rock-the-catwalk/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/fringe-boutique-brings-one-of-a-kind-clothing-accessories-to-2016-rock-the-catwalk/#respond Fri, 14 Oct 2016 13:05:29 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5911 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Rock the CATWALK, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Women Leadership Council’s annual fundraiser features fashions from several local boutiques. This six-part series serves to highlight each boutique’s unique style and preview some of the looks to hit the runway.

Fringe OwnersMoreland Hill’s Fringe Boutique offers small-run, exclusive products to its loyal customers every day, and this year, their contributions to Rock the CATWALK (RTC) will be no different.

Participating in the CATWALK since the store’s opening in 2012, the boutique will have something especially Cleveland-esque to offer models and attendees alike — Cavalier’s championship handbags. Made from The Plain Dealer pages of the iconic morning-after issue, Fringe is the only store to offer the stylish accessory, and co-owners Dana Demetriou and Sherry Medrick are excited to show them on this year’s CATWALK.

Fringe opened after Demetriou visited a boutique in Florida and saw the opportunity to fill a gap in Cleveland’s small-business scene. Fringe offers limited run or exclusive brands, getting small batches of pieces with limited sizing available. They also offer extensive gift items, including candles and local, handcrafted jewelry.

“A lot of our lines, no one else in Cleveland is selling,” Demetriou said. “Also, we do one of each size. So the women who come in here all the time know we get shipments every day, so they come to see what’s delivered because they know we’re going to get one small, one medium, one large. I think that helps us, because it brings women in because they know their size is going to go quick.”

Committed to transcending age barriers, the boutique offers styles accessible to women and their daughters.

“Sherry and I have been together doing this from day one,” Demetriou explained. “I was actually in a store in Florida like this and walked out with a lot of stuff for a decent price. But the biggest thing was I had my daughter with me, who at the time was 17, and she also found something. So it was nice to shop as mother and daughter…I came home and thought ‘we don’t have anything like this in Cleveland.’”

Fringe products

Shortly thereafter, Demetriou invited Sherry on as store manager with a partial ownership in their Chagrin Boulevard space.

During normal business hours, their store is bustling with people from across the Greater Cleveland area, but after hours, Demetriou and Medrick offer exclusive private shopping experiences guests can book for eight to 10 people.

RTC is not the boutiques only charitable event, Demetriou said. They often donate gift cards to raffles and auctions on behalf of organizations including the local Fire Department and Jewish Community Center (JCC).

“We have people come in daily asking for donations and, to be honest, we’ll at least give a small gift card,” Demetriou said. “There’s a lady who asked for some clothes to sell for the less fortunate over at the JCC. We do Big Shots/Little Stars and Flashes of Hope every year.”

Always striving to be fashion forward, Demetriou and Medrick predict styles for this year’s RTC will include “cold-shoulder” tops — cutout shoulder designs — and fringed detailing. Velvet and faux suede will abound, in leggings, capes and ponchos. Classic fall-to-winter colors include oxblood, navy, army green and whites, Medrick said.

This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation on St. Clair Avenue. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach.

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Cleveland Consignment Shoppe to bring unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to the runway http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/cleveland-consignment-shoppe-to-bring-unique-one-of-a-kind-pieces-to-the-runway/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/cleveland-consignment-shoppe-to-bring-unique-one-of-a-kind-pieces-to-the-runway/#respond Wed, 12 Oct 2016 13:56:03 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5902 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Rock the CATWALK, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Women Leadership Council’s annual fundraising event, features fashions from several local boutiques. This series serves to highlight each boutique’s unique style and preview some of the looks to hit the runway.

Susie Vitale In 2012, entrepreneur Susie Vitale saw a need for high-end fashion at affordable pricing on Cleveland’s east side. Cleveland Consignment Shoppe (CCS) was first a pop-up shop and then only open on weekends, before moving into its permanent space, in Woodmere, space three years ago.

“The pop-up shops went well, so we moved forward,” Vitale, owner of CCS, said. “We do women’s luxury and contemporary fashion. So it’s clothes, shoes, boots, handbags and accessories.”

CCS offers contemporary women’s fashion from big-name brands like Chanel, Michael Kors and Louis Vuitton. Many items are new with tags or only worn a handful of times, but sold on consignment for a fraction of their original price.

Cleveland Consignment

Vitale became involved with Rock the CATWALK (RTC) because her friend, a United Way volunteer, was looking for boutiques to participate in the event, she said. CCS strives to offer trend and classic pieces with a creative flair, providing unique items to its RTC models since 2013.

“One of my friends was on the RTC committee and suggested they take a look at us,” she said. “I think they wanted boutiques in this area and it worked out really well. I think we add a creative edge to it, because that’s what we offer. We do have trend pieces, but we have a really big variety of unique items and we try and always put those in the show.”

This year’s RTC will shift to fall fashions, and Vitale plans to offer outerwear, possibly including furs and holiday outfits. In the years CCS has participated, Vitale has seen the world of business attire change for women, allowing them to incorporate their own personality and style, and plans to play on those changes in some of the looks she offers.

“These are women who dress for powerful positions,” she said. “The big thing that’s changed is they don’t wear suits as much as they used to — you turn on the Today Show and everyone’s wearing a dress. They dress a more creatively and boldly in the professional world. It allows people to express themselves; they don’t have to wear a business suit to be taken seriously. Now, they can wear a professional dress maybe in their favorite color and they feel great about it.”

This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach.

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Rock the CATWALK model profile: Jill Jankowski paddling her way towards this year’s event http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/rock-the-catwalk-model-profile-jill-jankowski-paddling-her-way-towards-this-years-event/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/rock-the-catwalk-model-profile-jill-jankowski-paddling-her-way-towards-this-years-event/#respond Thu, 06 Oct 2016 14:16:35 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5893 Editor’s note: This year we are highlighting some of the Rock the CATWALK community models – showcasing their talents, passion and careers leading up to the annual fashion show.  

By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer


Five years ago, Jill Jankowski opened SUP Cleveland, one of only two stand-up paddleboard companies in the area. Inspired by her then-newfound love of the sport, she worked to bring Clevelanders and visitors out on the water, giving them a different view of the Sixth City.

“I wanted other people to experience what I experienced, which was really awesome,” she said. “It’s a very unique experience — you’re out on the water, it’s quiet, you get a different perspective of the city, you are enjoying this great, big, beautiful body of water we have. I wanted to give people another way to get out on the water and for Clevelanders and visitors to be able to do something different.”

SUP Cleveland offers lessons, yoga paddleboard excursions, group events and equipment rentals out of Edgewater Beach. Jankowski partnered with several Greater Cleveland organizations, including the Cleveland Metroparks3 Sisters Yoga + Fitness and Girls With Sole. Several businesses and organizations have held teambuilding retreats with SUP, including Magnificat High School, Cleveland State University Residence Life and the Union Club of Cleveland.

“People go out on the water, some people might not know each other as well, but when they come back they’ve all experienced this crazy thing — they fell in the water and everyone is razzing each other or new experiences people can share together,” she said. “I knew I wanted it to be more than just lessons, something interesting and different and that’s what it’s become.”

Jankowski is passionate about sharing stand-up paddleboarding with Greater Cleveland, as well as combining it with her interest in giving back to the community. Moving into the off-season, she is looking at ways to set up charity races. Like on-land 5K’s, where participants would be sponsored by friends and family, with the money raised going to selected organizations.


“Not only is it something enjoyable and fun and healthy, we’ve partnered with larger organizations to help raise money by races,” she explained. “That was one of the main goals I wanted to do, was to use this to also give back to someone. I can take people out and teach all day long, but we want to be able to use it to benefit people who might need a little bit of help.”

Jankowski was surprised at the offer to take part in this year’s Rock the CATWALK (RTC), but accepted it wholeheartedly. She was familiar with United Way through her other job at American Greetings — which runs an annual campaign — but this is the first time she’s been involved with the organization directly.

“United Way clearly benefits a lot of people, given its scale and scope,” she said.

Her first involvement with United Way, this year’s event is also Jankowski’s first CATWALK. She describes her personal style as “modern eclectic,” with a wide range of bold, fun pieces.

“I’ve spent a lot of time being practical as a writer, as an editor, so I like to [be] casual, but any excuse I can find to try something crazy, I will,” she said. “[My style is] kind of all over the place, there’s no personal statement, it’s just based on mood and that can change at any time.”

Spending a lot of time being practical for work, she’s excited to see what fun outfits her boutique offers for the runway.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, probably,” she said. “So anything you want to throw at me, I’m in. It can be bold and crazy, as long as it’s modern, [and] fun. I’m excited to see [the boutique] and work with the designer.”

Fringe Boutique in Moreland Hills is Jankowski’s boutique for RTC. Fringe owners and designers Dana Demetriou and Sherry Medrick are proud to showcase their Cavalier’s championship handbags on the runway this year, and hinted to fall styles including fringed and “cold-shoulder” tops, as well as a multitude of pieces in navy, ox blood, army green and white.

This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach.

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Amy’s Shoes steps up the style game at this year’s Rock the CATWALK http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/amys-shoes-steps-up-the-style-game-at-this-years-rock-the-catwalk/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/amys-shoes-steps-up-the-style-game-at-this-years-rock-the-catwalk/#respond Tue, 04 Oct 2016 16:00:14 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5848 Editor’s note: Rock the CATWALK, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Women Leadership Council’s annual fundraiser features fashions from several local boutiques. This six-part series serves to highlight each boutique’s unique style and preview some of the looks to hit the runway.

Amy Participating since the start of Rock the CATWALK (RTC), Amy’s Shoes has provided fashionable footwear to women since the event’s inception in 2009. Owner Amy Bradford was invited to participate in the original fashion show by Sally Stewart, one of the founding members of the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC).

Amy’s Shoes expanded to include accessories and clothing at her original Rocky River location, as well as a second footwear-only store in Woodmere. Covering Cleveland’s busy professionals “from head to toe,” this year Bradford and her staff will provide outfits and shoes for the event.

“This year is different for us because we’ve been mostly a shoe store until about a year ago,” she said. “And then we expanded into clothing. This year we’re excited because we’re not only showing our footwear, but clothing looks as well.”

In her years participating, Bradford has seen the seasons and fashions of RTC change. Early shows showcased spring, business and rocker chic styles, this year she will be showcasing her boutiques holiday fashions.

Clothing at Amy Shoes“You’ll see leather and suede, both in clothing and footwear – a lot of moto jackets and suede dresses,” she said. “Some of our looks will have a little bit of a rocker-chic vibe to them…Our store might incorporate more funky and casual into the weekend look.”

Bradford enjoys RTC in part because of the models she gets to work with. Having provided styles for professional and community models, her and her staff members consider each woman’s sensibilities and comfort when choosing shoes for their night on the runway.

“One thing we love about this event is getting to know the models,” she said. “When we meet them we hear about where they work and perhaps show them our store, which they might not have seen before. They all seem to be successful, busy people so they might not have a lot of time to shop, so it’s great to wardrobe them and they get to see all the looks together on the runway. It’s always a pleasure to work with them.”

This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation on St. Clair Avenue. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach.

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CMSD Pancake Flip a success, feeds 7000 students breakfast http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/cmsd-pancake-flip-a-success-feeds-7000-students-breakfast/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/cmsd-pancake-flip-a-success-feeds-7000-students-breakfast/#respond Tue, 04 Oct 2016 13:39:16 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5881 Pancake FlipUnited Way of Greater Cleveland celebrated the close of Attendance Awareness Month by flipping and serving our infamous pancakes breakfasts to students in 20 Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) schools on Friday, September 30.

Chosen schools are Pre-K through eighth-grade schools participating in the organization’s wraparound strategy — which places a site coordinator in some of the district’s lowest-performing schools to help students combat outside factors that may influence academic success such as attendance.

Patrick Henry school, with more than 300 students, was the main pancake flip location with volunteers from United Way and other community partners working the griddles to serve and greet students breakfast before their morning classes. Pancake flippers included United Way’s Campaign Co-Chair Heidi Gartland, vice president of government and community relations at University Hospitals, Augie Napoli, United Way’s president and CEO and Eric Gordon, CMSD CEO.

Volunteers at the other schools sat with students, helping the younger children cut their pancakes and open juice containers, while talking to older students about classes and future plans.

Jason Cole, a Nationwide Insurance employee, volunteered at Kenneth Clement Boys’ Leadership Academy and expressed his enjoyment in participating in this year’s event.

“It was definitely a good time and a meaningful experience,” he said. “It was a pleasure to meet [United Way employees] and the school’s staff and faculty, but also the children! I was really impressed with this facility.”

Take a look at photos from the event →

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Staff Profile: United Way of Medina County director of Community Impact strives for solutions http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/staff-profile-united-way-of-medina-county-director-of-community-impact-strives-for-solutions/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/staff-profile-united-way-of-medina-county-director-of-community-impact-strives-for-solutions/#respond Mon, 03 Oct 2016 16:39:01 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5878 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: While we focus on our work in the community and rarely shine a spotlight on ourselves, this series is designed to put faces and names to the great and challenging work United Way does every day.

Still in her first year at United Way of Medina County, Angela Niemiec is working to strengthen the organization’s impact and partnership with the rural community.

She’s the director of community impact and wears many hats since the agency has a small staff. Angela is constantly looking for ways to engage her community, diversify and support funded programs and write grants to gain funding for strategy partnerships.

Many hats

Niemiec and the United Way staff are working to reach community goals pertaining to income stability, early childhood education and youth engagement through funded programs.

Angela oversees these funded programs and ensures agencies are meeting goals, addressing community needs and helping “move the needle” by working towards solutions for social issues in Medina. She also promotes volunteerism in the community by partnering with volunteer committees and agencies.

Another “hat” Angela wears at United Way is grant writer, where she secures funds for program partners.

“My position encompasses three main things — working with our program partners and focusing on community solutions, promoting and enhancing volunteer opportunities and researching grants and other opportunities for additional funding to address our community issues.”

Striving for solutions

“My background is varied; I’ve worked at nonprofits in the past, in health care as well as government” she said. “But one common thread with all my professional roles, one that motivates and excites me is working with people and solving problems.”

Her career path has taken her from Ohio to Texas and back again —working for the city of Austin before heading back north. She previously worked for MetroHealth and Menorah Park, before her move south, which made her return to Ohio an easy transition. Ready to be back in a smaller community, she jumped at the United Way opening in Medina.

“I actually started by master’s certificate in community development and social entrepreneurship,” she said. “This position was all the things I’ve loved about previous positions. It seemed like a really challenging job, something I was very interested in, so it was a perfect fit.”

No matter which hat she’s wearing, Niemiec is drawn to strengthening her community, and creating solutions to the socioeconomic problems around her.

“I like to work in community development and community engagement because I’m constantly seeking ways to create opportunities to make life better for people,” she said. “When I found this program, I felt it was the next logical step in my career.”

Her position at United Way also allows her to work with diverse programming, impacting everyone from youth to seniors in the organization’s priority areas.

Outside of work, she loves playing and watching sports and is a fan of all Cleveland teams. She volunteers at the local humane society and has three pets herself — a cat named Baker and two dogs, Keller and Waila.

No matter her position, Niemiec’s goal has remained the same: impacting the lives of those around her. While she’s only been at United Way a short time, she has continued to broaden the organization’s impact and strengthen its partnerships throughout the area.

“For me it’s rewarding because everyone has to work, but I’d rather do something that’s meaningful and can actually impact people’s lives and make their lives better — rather than just making money. I feel like I’m making an impact on people’s lives and that’s important to me.”

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Community Conversations bring outside voices in http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/community-conversations-bring-outside-voices-in/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/community-conversations-bring-outside-voices-in/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 20:04:44 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5863 Community Conversation LogoUnited Way of Greater Cleveland is conducting a community needs assessment to determine needs and gaps in service throughout Greater Cleveland. Supplementing this needs assessment will be information gathered through Community Conversations, which are being facilitated through United Way’s Engagement Center.

Community Conversations bring outside voices in – perspectives from people living and working in our neighborhoods — to identify the most common basic needs in communities such as Mt. Pleasant, Glenville and Hough. Resulting themes from the various Community Conversations will aid in the development of the Community Needs Assessment final report.

Community Conversations unveil many gems in Greater Cleveland. For instance, Mr. Green, owner of All the Kings Men barbershop, and other local business owners provide needed services outside of their trade. Mr. Green not only provides haircuts and a sense of camaraderie to his patrons in the Glenville community, but also guidance and resources for neighborhood youth. He also organizes block parties, back-to-school drives and assists homeless adults with their most basic needs.

Community Conversations also unveil areas where United Way can work with our corporate partners and funded agencies to gather resources to help fill additional community needs. Recently, United Way worked with Mr. Green, Kennametal and The General Insurance Group to provide school supplies to 100 students in need in the Glenville area.

If your community could benefit from hosting a Community Conversation, please contact An’Tuan Williams, Community Conversation Coordinator, at awilliams@unitedwaycleveland.org.

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Rock the CATWALK model profile: Eddie Harrell brings radio skills to rock the runway http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/rock-the-catwalk-model-profile-eddie-harrell-brings-radio-skills-to-rock-the-runway/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/rock-the-catwalk-model-profile-eddie-harrell-brings-radio-skills-to-rock-the-runway/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 14:00:24 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5843 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Editor’s note: This year we are highlighting some of the Rock the CATWALK community models – showcasing their talents, passion and careers leading up to the annual fashion show.  

Eddie photoWith years of broadcast experience, but none in modeling, Eddie Harrell Jr. will be taking the runway for the first time at this year’s Rock the CATWALK.

Regional manager with a local impact

Regional vice president and general manager for Radio One, Harrell handles the media company’s Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland markets. A media powerhouse in its 36th year, Radio One and its subsidiaries TV One, Reach Media, Interactive One, and One Solution dominate 16 markets, reaching 82 percent of African Americans in the United States.

Harrell’s career with the urban media conglomerate began in 2011 as vice president/general manager of the Columbus stations — four FM bands including a mainstream, two classics stations and a faith-based broadcast. Now, he manages 11 stations across three major cities.

“I have direct responsibility for the operations for our Cleveland market, and our Columbus and Cincinnati markets report to me as well,” he said. “I’m responsible for the business operations and top-line revenue growth and expense control — ultimately the profitability of these markets in Ohio.”

Though this is his first major involvement with United Way of Greater Cleveland, he was a board member for United Way of Central Ohio, which covers Columbus and the surrounding area, before moving to Northeast Ohio.

“I’ve seen the results and the impact of United Way across many communities,” he said. “Whether its addressing educational issues, taking a direct stab at eradicating poverty, to community organizing — I’ve just always been very respectful and attached to the work of United Way because of the great work it does and the organizations it supports that are doing such good work, particularly where I was from in Central Ohio.”

Former CEO of the Columbus Urban League (CUL), his organization was a direct beneficiary of United Way funding. An affiliate of the National Urban League, CUL works to “empower African American and disenfranchised groups through economic, education and social progress.”

Since moving to Cleveland, Harrell joined the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission Board of Directors. He also served as co-chair of the Marketing and Community Relations Subcommittee for the 2016 Republican National Convention Host Committee. Currently, he serves as vice chair of the board for Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.

“I’ve always been a big believer in supporting initiatives tied to education,” he said. “Whether supporting programs designed to strengthen reading skills with young people, to being an advocate at the university level, my passion has always been around providing young people the tools and skills to be successful in our global marketplace.”

A first time for everything

While fashion is not in his job description, Harrell is excited to take part in this year’s event.

“I’ve been a big believer in United Way and what it stands for and ultimately it was a no-brainer to say yes to doing the Catwalk because it’s supporting United Way,” he said. “This is my first time doing something like this, so I’m pretty excited.”

While the only major expectation he has for the event is not to fall, he joked, he plans to have fun, limited runway experience aside.

“The expectation is to have fun, it’s for a good cause, and I think it’s just part of my desire to always do good business, do good for the community in which we serve and it’s the least I could to do be helpful — to wear nice clothes and benefit a great organization such as United Way.”

J3 Clothing in Moreland Hills will be providing Harrell’s attire for the night. While no one can prematurely pinpoint what Harrell will be styling that night, boutique co-owner JB Dunn did preview some fall fashions this year, which will include layers, cashmeres and warm autumn colors.

This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach at mshadrach@unitedwaycleveland.org.

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J3 Menswear rocks fall-forward patterns, fashions on this year’s CATWALK http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/j3-menswear-rocks-fall-forward-patterns-fashions-on-this-years-catwalk/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/j3-menswear-rocks-fall-forward-patterns-fashions-on-this-years-catwalk/#respond Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:04:25 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5826 Editor’s note: Rock the CATWALK, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Women Leadership Council’s annual fundraiser features fashions from several local boutiques. This six-part series serves to highlight each boutique’s unique style and preview some of the looks to hit the runway.

JB-DunnA more recent addition to the Rock the CATWALK lineup, J3 provides all the men’s clothing for the event. In business since 2010, they have given the guys of the CATWALK fashion-forward looks for the past three years.

J3 got involved with Rock the CATWALK at the request of some of their client’s wives. Already known for their philanthropy with sponsoring Flashes of Hope — a nonprofit that raises funds for childhood cancer research — and participating in Susan G. Komen’s Pink Tie Guys event, becoming involved with United Way’s Rock the CATWALK was the next step for the three J’s.

Started by JB Dunn, Joe Paster and Jack Madda, J3 looks to fill a gap in sustainable men’s fashion in Greater Cleveland.

“All of us have been in this business for many years,” said JB Dunn, co-owner of J3. “We decided to do our own [boutique] because we wanted to do something more representative of how we felt about things. Everything’s either local, green, reclaimed or all of the above. All of us are Clevelanders and it’s something we wanted to do for our home community.”

While men’s fashions change less quickly than women’s, J3 still strives to offer contemporary looks in a fun, social setting.

J3 Interior

“We bring in lines differentiated from what you can buy in a department store,” he said. “So we’re definitely a boutique, but more than that, we’re a kind of men’s club — not in any derogatory tone. We have guys who come in here on a Saturday afternoon and hang out. They’re here to be social. It’s just a very welcoming environment.”

This year, attendees can expect to see the guys of the runway in layers, cashmeres and autumn colors, Dunn said. J3 is hoping to offer their models new takes on casual and business attire.

“One thing we really love is getting to know the gentlemen who will be doing the modeling,” he said. “And they’re not professional models, usually they’re well-known business people and we like to push them a little out of their envelope. Maybe dress them up as a rock star. What’s really great about this benefit is they typically have their own constituents in the audience who love to urge them on and sometimes chide them.”

This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation on St. Clair Avenue. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach.

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Local programs determined to decrease infant mortality rates http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/local-programs-determined-to-decrease-infant-mortality-rates/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/local-programs-determined-to-decrease-infant-mortality-rates/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:04:28 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5810 By Ben Miladin, Director of Health, Community Impact, United Way of Greater Cleveland

Ben MiladinInfant mortality, defined as the death of a baby before reaching his or her first birthday, occurs at shockingly high rates in our country and in Cuyahoga County – especially in neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty and racial segregation. For example, while infant mortality rates fell across the state of Ohio in 2014, rates increased for African-Americans, according to findings from the Ohio Department of Health. Also, rates are generally higher in Cuyahoga County than in counties with less concentrated poverty. Rates in the city of Cleveland are higher still at around 13 deaths per 1000 live births. These early deaths could happen for any one of a number of reasons, including accidents, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), premature birth, or other factors.

September is Infant Mortality Awareness month. And while the local statistics are alarming, many community organizations are taking major strides to increase the number of babies living to celebrate their first birthday and beyond. There is hope!

According to the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families framework, many of the best ways to help children lead healthy and happy lives involve helping the parent to be more effective at parenting. Nowhere is this more important than in reducing infant mortality. While people living in poverty are often dismissed in today’s society, we at United Way of Greater Cleveland believe just the opposite; because we see programs in the community actively making a huge difference in reducing infant mortality and improving people’s lives.

Infant Mortality Blog

Families in the City of Cleveland’s Moms First program experience half the infant mortality rate of the city at large, demonstrating that with help and advice from professionals who visit the home (to encourage breastfeeding, father involvement, birth spacing and smoking cessation) infant mortality can be reduced.

Beech Brook’s Family Drop-In Center, a United Way-funded program, provides new mothers with supplies (like Pack ‘n Plays) and education about safe sleeping practices to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other forms of tragic accidental death.

More hope comes from the new First Year Cleveland initiative, spearheaded by Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland, which recently received $3 million in state funding to combat infant mortality and partner with community groups that provide education and support for women who are pregnant and considered high risk for poor birth outcomes.

The national best practice Nurse-Family Partnership, with start-up funding from the Mt. Sinai Foundation, provides intensive in-home visits from a nurse to first-time mothers to build essential parenting skills.

Help Me Grow in Cuyahoga County helps pregnant women with their prenatal and early child-rearing concerns by identifying the right program (including many of the above) for them through one easy phone number: (216) 698-7500.

By making infant mortality a priority, governments, foundations and medical providers can make a difference and ensure more children live to see their first birthday.

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