2019 Corporate College Smart 50 Award Winner: Cecil Lipscomb, CNM
Executive Director, United Black Fund & 1st Vice Chair of Eliza Bryant Village
Congratulations to Cecil Lipscomb, 1st Vice Chair of the Eliza Bryant Village Board of Trustees & Executive Director of United Black Fund, winner of The Corporate College Smart 50 Award! Hosted by Smart Business, this award recognizes the top executives of 50 companies in the region for their ability to effectively build and lead savvy organizations.
Since its inception in 1981, the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland (UBF) has helped local grassroots service agencies in Greater Cleveland become sustainable, growth-oriented resources for their communities through comprehensive support spanning operations, finance, governance, talent and programming. The organization has supported more than 80 agency partners each year with grants in excess of $12 million. One such partnership is UBF’s efforts with Eliza Bryant Village, the oldest operating African-American founded long-term care facility in the United States. UBF Executive Director Cecil Lipscomb serves as the 1st Vice Chair (effective 4/22/19, following his role as 2nd Vice Chair) for the Villages’ Board, overseeing the development of innovative programs such as food demonstrations and chair yoga that help vulnerable African-American seniors overcome barriers to improving quality of life.
United Black Fund (UBF) engages with agency partners to help them become sustainable, growth-oriented resources for their communities and aiding those in need by better preparing nonprofits who serve them. This philosophy increases the rate of success for funded partner agencies and helps create a healthier, happier and smarter community for clients and organizations.
UBF supports smart goals of partner agencies in the areas of operations, finance, governance, talent, and programming. This comprehensive approach creates strong community partnerships with funders, agencies, and clients to maximize resources and achieve the best results, follow a clear mission and operate according to clearly defined values. For the past 26 years, UBF has supported more than 80 organizations each year with more than $12 million in grants.
Cecil Lipscomb, CNM, has served as the Executive Director of the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland for the past eight years. He received his undergraduate degree from Ursuline College, his MBA from Weatherhead School of Management, and certificate of nonprofit management from Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to this, Mr. Lipscomb was Senior Director of Institutes at Cleveland Clinic and worked as Director of Fundraising for Case Western Reserve University’s School of Engineering. Before 2004, he worked in commercial and government sales, management and marketing in the telecommunications sector for 10 years with two Fortune 100 companies who eventually merged to create Verizon.
In addition to his education and professional experience, Mr. Lipscomb is dedicated to serving his community. His immersion in his neighborhood is a smart approach to position UBF and its partner agencies to develop collaborative solutions efficiently.
Mr. Lipscomb recently completed 10 years of service as a board member for The Center for Community Solutions, a local organization that serves as the premier statewide resource for providing objective research, analysis and advocacy to improve the health, social and economic conditions of all Ohioans, with a focus on Northeast Ohio.
On behalf of UBF, Mr. Lipscomb is partnering with a unique exhibition The Soul of Philanthropy that highlights the characteristics, impact, and legacy of African-American charitable giving is an untold narrative in the story of American philanthropy. Black communities have significant giving power. Two-thirds of Black households give $11 billion charitable dollars. Despite Black households just having six percent of the wealth of white households, they give 25 percent more than their white counterparts. Traditional philanthropy does not account for the many informal giving pathways in which African-American communities participate, and tend to overlook people of color in traditional giving spaces.
Expanding his efforts to help underserved minority communities, Mr. Lipscomb serves as the 1st Vice Chair on the Board of Eliza Bryant Village, the oldest continually operating African American long-term care facility in the United States. Eliza Bryant Village provides high quality services for seniors along the continuum of care in a safe, dignified and compassionate environment. Services include skilled nursing with memory-care and rehabilitation, as well as on-site dialysis care, an adult day care and senior outreach program that includes transportation and nutritious meals, and affordable independent senior housing. Home care is available to Village seniors as well as our aging neighbors. Located on 17 acres in Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood, the Village has been an anchor institution in the community for more than 123 years. The Village is a Critical Access Facility which allows for the ability to continue to provide quality health services Cleveland’s most vulnerable seniors.
United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland successful efforts, led by Executive Director Cecil Lipscomb, help local grassroots service agencies in Greater Cleveland by providing them with financial assistance for their programs. This is a smart strategy to help agencies fulfill their mission while improving economic growth, education, health, and social outcomes of residents and neighborhoods.
Through a collaborative partnership, United Black Fund and Eliza Bryant Village are improving the health and well-being of vulnerable, underserved African-American seniors by developing innovative programs that eliminate barriers seniors face in their efforts to improve their quality of life. A few smart examples of these programs include food demonstrations, chair yoga and a relazation room for seniors in the Eliza Bryant Village Senior Outreach Program.
Many of the program participants who grew up in Hough now call Eliza Bryant Village home. Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood is ranked as the 11th most impoverished among cities of least 654,000, according to the U.D. Census data (Cleveland.com, 9/26/16), which has been shown to increase mortality rates and adverse health conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Funding from United Black Fund supports 150 seniors in a year-long initiative to provide education about the importance of a healthy lifestyle including smart food choices and enriching activities for the mind and body. Under the direction of the Villages’ Medical Director and Dietitian, the Village will partner with local farmer markets, hospitals and universities to provide food, education, and presentations on smart eating and fitness choices. To better serve seniors with mobility issues, chair yoga improves mobility, reduces stress, improves circulation and helps improve the immune function of participating aged adults. These unique programs help aged adults who struggle with mobility and do not have the financial means to access fresh and healthy food.
The long term effects of living in poverty for the seniors served at Eliza Bryant Village is not limited to physical consequences. Confidential internal surveys revealed the disheartening news that the majority of seniors served at the Village have suffered from abuse, crime, neglect or criminal victimization during the course of their lifetime. Trauma from such treatment can have long-lasting effects. Thanks to a grant from United Black Fund, Eliza Bryant Village’s team in our Adult Day & Senior Outreach Program created a Relaxation Room. This room helps our senior program participants find a safe space to take a minute to themselves before returning to join various activities with their peers.
The programs at Eliza Bryant Village funded by United Black Fund are specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of the seniors at the Village, and therefore, the needs of impoverished African-American elderly in Cleveland. These programs not only directly help to benefit Eliza Bryant Village, the seniors it serves and their caregivers, the successful outcomes help position United Black Fund for new partnerships, new sources of funding and expanded examples of giving back to the community. And, as a Board Member, Mr. Lipscomb is a collaborative partner of a new initiative at Eliza Bryant Village—its Elder Justice Center that expands the Village’s line of service, attracted a new source of funding, and separates the Village from other long term care providers.
As established through years of a strong working relationship, United Black Fund and Eliza Bryant Village support programming to help impoverished seniors whose life in poverty has placed significant barriers to healthy living. Healthy cooking demonstrations, a Relaxation Room and physical activity all help heal the mind and body of seniors who are well enough to function on a daily basis. To help seniors in crisis, Eliza Bryant Village will launch an Elder Justice Center in the Fall 2019 to provide temporary respite care for the growing population of elders who are experiencing some form of trauma, violence, abuse, or criminal victimization, and to help to connect them to the various legal, financial, and social service supports they may need to get them back into a safe situation. The Elder Justice Center is the only provider of these unique and needed services in Ohio. Once accepted into the Center and assessed, seniors may be eligible for admission to the Eliza Bryant Village nursing home and senior outreach program where they can continue to health utilizing the programs funded by United Black Fund.
Eliza Bryant Village is one of 80 partner agencies funded annually by United Black Fund. The programs at the Village directly impact 150 seniors in the Senior Outreach Program, in addition to those who will be served through the Elder Justice Center as well as caregivers, staff and community advocates. When considering the tremendous impact this partnership, funding, and programming has on Eliza Bryant Village and increasing that 79 times over, the potential impact of United Black Fund’s partnership with agencies to develop tailored programming within Greater Cleveland is infinite.