A Night to Remember: Finance Fund Projects Shine at Annual Gala

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Lower Lights CEO Dr. Dana Vallangeon accepts the Community Champion Award.

Lower Lights CEO Dr. Dana Vallangeon accepts the Community Champion Award from Finance Fund President Diana Turoff  (left) and CEO James Klein.

Economic Development Champions from throughout Ohio gathered at the beautiful Ohio Statehouse for Finance Fund’s Annual Gala on May 7. We were thrilled to welcome investors, funders and banking partners, our colleagues in community development, and our clients who are bringing about economic revitalization in their communities.

A major highlight of this memorable evening was our recognition of  Broken Connections  and Lower Lights Christian Health Center  as our Community Champion Award winners. These organizations demonstrate selfless commitment to advocacy, fellowship and stewardship to advance the health, education and well-being of community residents in meaningful and significant ways.

Broken Connections provides emergency housing, job training, counseling and social services to runaway, homeless and at-risk youth in East Cleveland. Lower Lights serves patients who are often uninsured or under-insured and unable to receive reliable primary health care.

Broken Connections Executive Director Nicole Howell accepts the Community Champion Award from Finance Fund President Diana Turoff (left) and CEO James Klein.

Broken Connections Executive Director Nicole Howell accepts the Community Champion Award.

Finance Fund presents the Visionary Partner Award to The Food Trust Associate Director Caroline Harries.

Finance Fund presents the Visionary Partner Award to The Food Trust Associate Director Caroline Harries.

It was also our great honor to recognize The Food Trust as our Visionary Partner Award winner. This national food access advocacy organization has worked with Finance Fund and the Healthy Food Financing Task Force to develop statewide policy recommendations aimed at increasing access to healthy, affordable food in areas of greatest need.

Guests were treated to a walk down Main Street, Ohio, with the premiere of our new corporate video “Street Stories”. The journey included three remarkable projects and organizations we’ve funded throughout Ohio.

  • “The 9” mixed-use redevelopment that brought a Heinen’s grocery store to urban Cleveland
  • Broken Connections
  • CaJohn’s Fiery Foods in Westerville, a specialty food manufacturer that is setting the world
    on fire with award-winning hot sauces, salsas and seasonings

We are grateful to our sponsors, whose generous support made the evening possible:

  • PNC Bank, event
  • US Bank, corporate video
  • Barnes & Thornburg, reception
  • Rea & Associates, annual report
  • Huntington National Bank, dessert
  • Merrill Lynch (Len Barbe and Kevin Cox), Celebrate Ohio Raffle

Thank you for your ongoing support of our work to improve the quality of life for people.

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