By Ian Andrews, LakewoodAlive Executive Director
From the LakewoodAlive office, in the INA Building basement at the corner of St. Charles and Detroit Avenues, comes the first in a series of articles about LakewoodAlive. Since 2011, I have had the honor to be part of this incredible organization and I’ve also been faced with many reasonable questions. What is LakewoodAlive? Who works where? What does the organization do? Isn’t LakewoodAlive “The City”? It’s time to answer these questions and start a conversation. We hope you enjoy this series which will run through the end of 2017.
LakewoodAlive is a non-profit 501c3 community development organization. What does that mean? We work to support small businesses and business districts. We work to ensure residents are living in healthy and safe housing. We work to bring the community together to discuss the issues of the day. By supporting businesses, homes, people, public spaces and promoting conversation, we believe we are fulfilling our mission to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods.
The series will spend more time delving into each of the programs from Main Street to Housing Outreach to Community Forums. For this first piece, the aim is to give a broad overview.
LakewoodAlive is a volunteer-driven organization and is governed by a board of directors of folks who either live or work in Lakewood. There are 25 voting and 3 non-voting members. The board president is Eric Lowrey, a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Lucien Realty. Our vice president is Brittany O’Connor of Citizens Bank. The treasurer is Will Costello of Laskey Costello. Our secretary is Kerri Rodgers of Sherwin-Williams. Visit our website at lakewoodalive.org to see our board roster.
There are board-designated committees, most of which are open to anyone who wishes to volunteer and lend their talents. They include housing, design, community forums, finance, governance, marketing, development (fundraising) and the Downtown Lakewood Business Alliance.
While we are volunteer-driven, a dedicated and talented staff is essential to coordinating all of our programming from day-to-day activities to long-range planning year after year. The staff is comprised of 5 full-time employees and is made up of Executive Director Ian Andrews, Housing Outreach Director Allison Urbanek, Staff Program Assistant Lisa LaRochelle, Community Engager Mark McNamara, Marketing & Development Manager Matt Bixenstine, and Event & Volunteer Coordinator Marissa Bozak.
Our office is in the basement of the INA Building below Panera Bread. What we lack in sunlight, we gain in a reasonable rent for a small budget.
Where do we go from here? Stay tuned for the next series of articles which will explain each of our programs, how they connect to our mission, and hopefully dispel a few myths while starting a conversation with new questions. Stop by the office, pick up the phone or send an email. We are here to support this community. Help us do that by volunteering, providing a donation, or simply letting us know about something that’s been on your mind that we might help with. Have a question? Call me at 216-521-0655 or send an email to [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you.