SOURCE: The Cleveland Foundation

July 14, 2005 10:51 ET

Civic Innovation Lab Provides Over $30,000 to Launch Car-Share and Program to Improve Access to Technology

CLEVELAND, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 14, 2005 -- An initiative to launch Cleveland's first car-sharing program and one to help nonprofit organizations become more technologically savvy have received a combined $31,000 from the Civic Innovation Lab of The Cleveland Foundation. In addition to the grants, the Lab has also matched each project with a community leader who will provide mentorship for one year.

"We are excited to support these endeavors not only because they are great ideas that will positively impact our economy, but because they have the capacity to improve the way both Clevelanders and others view our community," says Jennifer Thomas, director of the Civic Innovation Lab.

Ryan McKenzie, transportation program manager at EcoCity Cleveland, was granted $30,000 to launch CityWheels, a program that will allow members to rent fuel efficient, environmentally friendly automobiles at an hourly rate. McKenzie has been studying car-sharing for over a decade and has been an advocate for decreasing auto-dependency throughout his professional life. He believes that the time is right in Cleveland to develop a service that has flourished in other cities.

"Car-sharing gives people another reason to choose living and working in the city of Cleveland and its older suburbs, and another reason to stay once they're here. It will add a unique quality of life improvement and cost savings for residents and employees in downtown Cleveland and more walkable neighborhoods throughout the region," says McKenzie. He also sees the cost savings and convenience to members as added incentives. "CityWheels will offer the freedom of owning a car, without any of the hassles, and provide social and environmental benefits to the entire community," McKenzie adds.

In other cities, car-sharing programs have been quite successful. As of December 2004, twenty-six North American car-sharing programs were serving over 73,000 members, and sharing more than 1,460 cars.

McKenzie will be mentored by Chris Carmody of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission.

CityWheels Contacts
Champion: Ryan McKenzie
Transportation Program Manager
EcoCity Cleveland
Tel: 216.961.5020 x 209

Mentor:  Chris Carmody, President, The Cleveland Film Commission.
Phone: 216-272-6393
Dan Hanson, a programmer with Magnum Computers, was granted $1,000 to write a business strategy for Computers Assisting People (CAP), an all-volunteer organization that he formed and has given his service for the past 10 years. CAP offers technology services to nonprofit organizations throughout greater Cleveland and trains employees to use different types of software. "CAP can dramatically change the quality of life for individuals and entire groups and communities by bringing them the empowering benefits of technology. Everyday life is requiring more and more technical competence and people without these skills and access will fall further behind and drag their family and community down with them," says Hanson.

Hanson is responding to the needs of a community in which those who want to help themselves are often without the resources to do so. "Witness CAP participants such as the Glenville student who earned a full college scholarship or the single Hispanic mother who got her first job or the released prisoner who started a business or the soldier who returned from Iraq and improved on his factory job. They all raise themselves, their family and their community up with them," adds Hanson.

Charlene Hyle, a consultant to TeamNeo, will mentor Hanson.

The Civic Innovation Lab has received over 175 proposals since its inception in October 2003 and has funded thirteen initiatives, providing over $380,000 to help turn great ideas that grow Cleveland into a reality. To learn more about the Lab, visit

The Cleveland Foundation is a public charity dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Greater Cleveland. It is the oldest and second-largest community foundation in the nation. Its establishment in 1914 is cited as one of 10 events that most heavily influenced the development of the nonprofit sector in the 20th Century and it continues to be a leader in its field. The Foundation has assets of approximately $1.63 billion and in 2004 awarded more than $86 million in grants and low-cost loans to Cleveland area nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, it has provided more than $1 billion to nonprofit organizations and causes.

The Cleveland Foundation is made up of more than 800 funds created by individuals, families, organizations and corporations. It offers donors of all means the opportunity to have a lasting impact on their community while maximizing income, gift and estate tax benefits.

For more information about the organization, visit

Contact Information

  • Civic Innovation Lab Contact:
    Jennifer Thomas