The Cleveland Life Institute was founded in 2017 to continue the long tradition of social engagement of First Baptist Church within Cleveland. It provides an educational, experiential program to train and develop community leaders to engage in the area of societal change, social and economic justice to promote our understanding of Christ’s call to becoming agents of transformation. The Cleveland Life Institute (CLI) is a non-profit organization formed out of and under the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland founded by Rev. Dr. Kregg Burris with Dr. Victor L. Bull as our first and current president.
Statement of Purpose
The Cleveland Life Institute is a faith-based residential, executive educational program that assists non-profits with strategic planning thereby contributing to the creation of and management of social enterprises. The course “Management Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” is a program tailored to provide the resources for those who desire become social entrepreneurs.
Our one year (two semester) program is set up at the graduate level and incorporates a classroom setting that is both educational and experiential. Our program utilizes local experts in industry and education as guest professors over the program to engage the students alongside of a primary facilitating professor who works with the students over the course of the year. The students are provided valuable instruction and then work to implement a business model, conduct a feasibility study, evaluate their work by a risk management process, examine legal issues, project for fund raising, explore partnerships, and finalize a strategic plan for the success of their non-profit.
We are in a position to assist corporations and institutions in the implementation of social mandates which many board of directors have adopted for their mid-level managers’ mandate for social responsibility.
Many institutions teach leadership skills and many more teach management skills; CLI combines both. Unlike many other programs moving to online instruction, this is designed to be a classroom experience for students to work in collaboration toward the formation of solutions within a peer to peer community. Through their class project, they receive hands on project experience as they create a deliverable product for the institution they are working as well the means for networking with other guest lecturers, class, and project participants.
Our First Year
Our program began in January 2018 and concluded in December 2018 with seven students who formed the first graduating class. Over our first year we had guest lectures, Jim Rokakis, Vice President of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy;Director of Thriving Communities Institute and former Cuyahoga County Treasurer; Dr. Diana Billimoria, KeyBank Professor and Chair of the Department of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management Case Western University; Dr. Jason Carthen, Jason Carthen Enterprises, Former NFL Professional football player for the world champion New England Patriots, author, international motivational speaker; Randy Samsel, Executive Search, Interim Executive Outsourced Recruiting Services for eSearch, Anthony Peebles, Financial Advisor with Skylight Financial Group, Sherri Bishop, Esq. Chief Development Officer for University Hospital Health Systems, Inc., and Alexandra G. Beach, Esq. Senior Gift Planner Officer University Hospitals Institutional Relations & Development.
We completed the educational process of setting up a non-profit and business plan, feasibility study, grant writing, legal questionnaire, and marketing strategy. Following graduation, we have been busy reviewing our first year and developing improvements in our program.