We envision a Cleveland that supports, amplifies, and celebrates women — a community where gender justice is at the heart of our policies & practices.
To build deep, lasting relationships grounded in humility, empathy, and mutual respect. To nurture and share in a space where all are welcome and belong.
To partner genuinely within our organization and with the nonprofits we serve and broader nonprofit community in a way that develops trust and honors all voices and experiences––recognizing trust takes time to build and requires sincerity, reliability, competence, and care.
To go beyond how things have been done historically and imagine what is possible. To approach our work with a spirit of exploration, experimentation, and play.
JUSTICE + LIBERATION
To share and shift power to communities oppressed by existing systems and not stand in the way of these communities’ liberation and healing.
To wholeheartedly participate in personal, organizational, and community learning and growth. To listen to and honor others’ experiences, deeply valuing knowledge gained and expressed in a wide range of ways. To actively engage in healing ourselves from the harm and separation caused by participating in unjust systems.
Our Story begins in Cleveland in 2001…
Collaborate Cleveland is the next chapter of the organization Social Venture Partners (SVP) Cleveland. Founded in 2001 by a small group of Cleveland-area philanthropists, SVP’s model of "engaged philanthropy" offered donors an opportunity to contribute both monetarily and consultatively to local nonprofits while participating in a global learning network. Over our first 20 years, SVP Cleveland supported many local nonprofits with more than $1M in grant funding and 15,000 hours of volunteer support.
Our partners and staff began an equity journey that included learning and reflection opportunities around racial justice, shifting power, and trust-based philanthropy.
Grounded in partners’ deepening understanding of equity and power imbalances, we began a multi-year process of evaluating and changing how we selected and engaged with grantees and community nonprofits.
An ad hoc Equity Committee of 10 partners was formed to work with the DEIA firm Gradient Consulting in developing our organizational North Star and Values. The Equity Committee was then established as a standing board committee to ensure we stay true to our values.
We began exploring our next chapter and focus of advancing gender justice. Our partners overwhelmingly approved this shift, making a 10-year commitment to it. Partners also supported exploring a name change.
We worked closely with our Advisory Committee of issue area experts, nonprofit leaders, and community advocates to shape the strategy for our new focus. Simultaneously, we engaged in an extended exploration and consideration process for our new name. We chose Collaborate Cleveland and announced it publicly in October 2023.
Power Our Work
Our strategy turns
our vision into reality
MEET OUR TEAM
Abby Westbrook (she/her)
Abby Westbrook is the Executive Director of Collaborate Cleveland. She joined the organization in Fall 2020 and led it through an evolution to focus on supporting women and advancing gender justice in Greater Cleveland, including a rename and rebrand. Abby’s leadership is grounded in her past experiences as a legal advocate at the Homeless Advocacy Project, as a Program Executive at the Atlantic Philanthropies, her realities as a working mother raising two young children and her belief in the power of collective giving and action. A Cleveland native, Abby has high hopes for what our great city can become for everyone when we center women and gender justice.
EMILY TROIA (she/her)
Director of Equity and Engagement
Emily loves that relationships are at the core of Collaborate Cleveland’s work and her role is helping to build them. She’s passionate about bringing people together to learn, grow, advocate, and share in the work of cultivating a more just society. Joining the organization in 2017 as a program assistant, she has enjoyed her own growth journey. In a past life, she was a graphic designer and marketer. She also has an MFA in Creative Writing in Poetry from the NEOMFA Program and plays a lot of board games.
LADONNE MONTELIONE (she/her)
Development and Communications Coordinator
Ladonne loves Cleveland. As a NAVY brat who never really had a home growing up, she feels most grounded in Cleveland and thus feels passionately about working to make Cleveland an even better city for all. This love of the city is what made Ladonne want to work for Collaborate Cleveland and will keep her pursuing new opportunities to help develop the city into a more equitable place for everyone for the rest of her life. In her free time, Ladonne loves to indulge in her fascination with space and all things cosmological as well as reading and baking. When her head isn’t in the stars it’s on earth playing with her goldendoodle Poppy.