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Urban League Seeks Help From National Organization

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 2:20 PM

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After announcing last week that it would close by the end of this week, the Urban League of Greater Cleveland now says it may be able to survive… and is getting help from the national organization. ideastream®'s Rick Jackson reports.

Last week Jonathan Holifield, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Urban League, was unequivocal in announcing the demise of the 92-year-old non-profit, which faces a two-point-seven million dollar debt and shrinking contributions. 

But now, Holifield says there have been ongoing attempts to raise new operating capital, and that the National Urban League is involved.

Holifield confirmed that Marc Morial, the National President, has offered to help, and that an inspection team from his office was here to review the affiliate’s finances.

JONATHAN HOLIFIELD: “We’re looking forward to continued engagement with the National Urban League and continue to work right here on the ground in Cleveland as well.”

The national organization has contributed money to the Cleveland Chapter before, particularly to its’ business and youth programs. 

It reportedly will NOT be able to help with debt incurred when the local chapter purchased and renovated its downtown building. 

Holifield says it’s still not certain that the local chapter can be saved, but he’s encouraged by the support.

HOLIFIELD: “There are no magic bullets - but our national office, and Marc Morial himself - have been committed to Cleveland for a very long time, and we’re exploring all financial, legal, and strategic alternatives.”

Other non profits around Cleveland and Akron are still exploring how to take over operation of some programs currently offerred by the Cleveland Urban League.

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