For nearly 60 years, the Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award has successfully brought the underserved and the organizations that help them to the forefront. Its founder, Edith Anisfield Wolf, wanted the award to give attention to the voices of people at the margins and build a more just community.
For nearly 60 years, the Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award has successfully brought the underserved and the organizations that help them to the forefront.
Whether recognizing outstanding work that primarily benefited a particular group “at the margins” or efforts that also benefited the larger population, the award has annually paid tribute to a nonprofit organization that impacted the community for good.
1965—PACE Association (Plan [or Program] for Action by Citizens in Education): worked to help improve the quality of education and promote better race relations in Greater Cleveland schools.
1978—Displaced Homemaker Program, Cuyahoga Community College: provided services and referrals to divorced women, women with limited skills, and women who no longer had financial security.
1981—Greater Cleveland Foodbank: focused on providing food to those living in poverty and lacking access to regular nutritious meals.
1996—Eliza Bryant Center: expanded culturally-sensitive care to seniors, including independent living and skilled nursing, adult day care, and community outreach.
2003—AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland: provided a variety of services and supports to those impacted by HIV/AIDS.
2007—Slavic Village Development Corporation: responded quickly after a tragic shooting, including gun buy-back, gang graffiti removal and job training and workforce readiness activities.
2008—Cleveland Tenants Organization: developed a program to address the lack of help available for renters caught in the middle of their landlords’ mortgage crisis.
2011—Esperanza: created a youth service learning program that had a direct impact in the Clark-Metro neighborhood, as well as other parts of the city.
2012—Seeds of Literacy, Inc.: responded immediately to state-mandated changes in the GED program, including extensive changes to curriculum, space, training and communication efforts.
2014—Care Alliance Health Center: created a new clinic, significantly increasing access to quality health care while having broad impact on economic development in the Central Neighborhood.
2015—EDWINS Restaurant & Leadership Initiative: helped currently and formerly incarcerated individuals learn a skilled trade while removing obstacles that may hinder their transition into society.
2016—Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank: created a culture of reading in low-income homes by distributing nearly 650,000 high-quality children’s books to families in need.
2017—May Dugan Center Trauma Recovery Center: provided immediate crisis management and ongoing support for victims of violent crime through its Trauma Recovery Center.
2018—My Brother My Sister: helped young people of color stay in school to graduate and go on to college.
2021 winner: The Refugee Response
The Refugee Response helped resettled families navigate the complexities of immigration, language, education, health care, housing, employment, and other challenges of establishing themselves in a new home.
How does awarding an organization give a voice to the people it serves?
How does awarding an organization give a voice to the people it serves? First, it shines a spotlight on the issues people struggle with day in and day out, alone and without the support they need. Second, it provides unexpected funds to help continue or enhance the service, thereby helping those people improve their lives, find their voices, and go on to help others.
The Anisfield-Wolf Memorial Award is perhaps more relevant today than when it was established two generations ago. It honors the intent of its founder to recognize efforts to create a stronger community that celebrates a rich diversity of cultures.
Nominate an organization for the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Award
Nominations for this year’s award will be accepted until June 16, 2022. Find information here.
*Some information from the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History