Seven Outstanding Volunteers to be Honored at Fundraiser on February 22; Score Your Tickets Now
Championship-caliber community vibrancy doesn’t happen by accident. Rather, it’s achieved thanks to strong leaders who routinely demonstrate qualities like passion, perseverance and commitment.
LakewoodAlive proudly announces Michael Bentley as the 2020 Founders Award recipient and fellow community leaders Robert Brill, Heather Rudge, Ryan Sheldon & Brittany Graham, Eric Stephens and Michael Summers as award honorees to be recognized during Loving Lakewood: All-Stars taking place Saturday, February 22, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at the Lakewood Masonic Temple. Each will be honored as part of the evening’s festivities in recognition of their exemplary service to LakewoodAlive and the Lakewood community.
Tickets are on sale now for Loving Lakewood: All-Stars, LakewoodAlive’s winter fundraiser sponsored by Cleveland Property Management Group. Guests are invited to don their favorite jersey and bring their ‘A’ game as they take to the gridiron for a sports-inspired celebration of the heart, hustle and teamwork that’s built Lakewood into a community of champions. This limited-capacity event is expected to sell out, so act faster than a sprint to the goal line to secure your tickets by visiting LakewoodAlive.org/AllStars.
Each member of this honoree group has made an indelible impact on LakewoodAlive and our community:
Michael Bentley – The Founders Award celebrates individuals who exemplify the vision of LakewoodAlive’s founding members through making exceptional contributions to our efforts to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods. During the last four years, Michael’s role with LakewoodAlive has been nothing short of remarkable. Michael joined the LakewoodAlive board of directors in 2017 and serves as chair of the Development Committee. Through his financial services firm, Bentley Wealth Management of Raymond James, Michael has served as title sponsor of our Front Porch Concert Series the last four summers. Michael regularly recruits coworkers and friends to complete volunteer housing projects on behalf of our Housing Outreach Program, and he sits on our Impact Team, a group focused on creating a social enterprise plan for LakewoodAlive. Ohio CDC Association recently honored Michael as its 2019 Community Leader of the Year based on his extensive contributions to LakewoodAlive.
Robert Brill – Robert, as Market Vice President of Cox Communications, has overseen the development of a phenomenal partnership between Cox and LakewoodAlive. Thanks to Robert’s leadership, Cox has been a longtime supporter of LakewoodAlive’s community events, including Light Up Lakewood and the Front Porch Concert Series. Robert and his staff have repeatedly partnered with LakewoodAlive to tackle housing and community beautification projects. Cox has also proven instrumental in assisting with LakewoodAlive’s technical needs, both at our office and at special events like the annual Loving Lakewood fundraiser.
Heather Rudge – Heather has been a devoted friend to LakewoodAlive over the years. As founder and owner of HP Group, a historic preservation consulting firm specializing in the successful delivery of federal and state historic tax credits, she lends her knowledge and expertise to our Design Committee. Heather is playing an integral role in this committee’s effort to establish a historic district along a portion of Detroit Avenue, and she is also involved with LakewoodAlive’s Impact Team. Heather is a past recipient of the Laskey Service Award, which celebrates volunteers who demonstrate uniquely exceptional commitment to LakewoodAlive.
Ryan Sheldon & Brittany Graham – Ryan and Brittany are not only co-owners of Beat Cycles, but are also a wonderful example of what can happen when a small family business truly believes in its community. Since opening their bicycle shop in 2014, Ryan and Brittany have been enthusiastic advocates for LakewoodAlive, donating eight bikes over the years to benefit our organization. Their generous support has enabled the Meltdown Bike Raffle to evolve into a key component of our Lakewood Summer Meltdown, and they graciously let LakewoodAlive host a fundraising event at their shop in 2019. Ryan and Brittany also play a key role in our city’s bicycle advocacy efforts through participation with Bike Lakewood and through spearheading the “Kidical Mass” bike ride.
Eric Stephens – Eric has been one of the most valuable volunteer contributors to our Housing Outreach Program over the years. Having served as Director of Community Outreach for Lakewood New Life Church, he has helped coordinate numerous LNLC volunteer housing projects with LakewoodAlive, many of which require advanced skill sets in order to refurbish a front porch or replace porch steps. No housing project is ever too big or challenging for Eric and his team, and he routinely comes to our rescue when we need to locate a volunteer group in short order. When he’s not assisting LakewoodAlive, Eric serves as Senior Philanthropy Advisor for Baldwin Wallace University.
Michael Summers – Michael, as Mayor of the City of Lakewood from 2011 to 2019, has long been a champion of LakewoodAlive, specifically the Housing Outreach Program whose mission is to ensure all residents live in healthy and safe housing. During Michael’s mayoral tenure, the administration and city council supported our Housing Outreach Program, helping it to evolve into one of the most important components of our work in the community. This support provided for expansion of the Paint Program, support of the Lakewood Pride Fund, assistance to residents with bed bugs and strengthening of a multi-department, public-nonprofit approach to addressing some of the most challenging housing issues our residents face.
“We are thrilled to be able to recognize Michael, Robert, Heather, Ryan & Brittany, Eric and Michael for their outstanding contributions, not only to LakewoodAlive, but to the entire Lakewood community,” said Ian Andrews, LakewoodAlive Executive Director. “These community leaders have served vital roles at LakewoodAlive and we are eternally grateful for the incredible impact each has made within our organization.”
Loving Lakewood: All-Stars features sports-themed food, drinks, décor and entertainment that will have you saying, “I don’t care if I never get back.” Proceeds will support LakewoodAlive’s programming as we strive to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods in Lakewood. Much like a team of destiny with a Cinderella story on a championship quest, we at LakewoodAlive possess the dogged determination and tireless work ethic necessary to assist the wonderful residents of Lakewood along the journey to achieving an even more vibrant community.
More details regarding Loving Lakewood: All-Stars will be unveiled in the coming weeks. For ongoing updates, please visit LakewoodAlive.org/AllStars.
Community vibrancy is the ultimate team game. At LakewoodAlive our athletic ability is limited, yet we serve a vital role in the lives of Lakewood residents in need through our Housing Outreach Program. We’re in a league of our own when it comes to having the heart, hustle and teamwork to foster vibrant neighborhoods in our city. The 5.5 square miles comprising Lakewood is our ballpark, and we take our championship aspirations very seriously. As legendary football coach George Halas once said, “Nobody who ever gave their best regretted it.”
Loving Lakewood: All-Stars is generously supported by the following sponsors:
G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) Sponsor
Cleveland Property Management Group