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Greater Cleveland Reentry Leadership Coalition

Leadership Coalition Meeting Schedule
2012 West 25th Street
Cuyahoga Room, 6th Floor
Cleveland, Ohio 44103
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Meetings are held on:
  • Friday, January 18, 2019
  • Friday, April 12, 2019
  • Friday, August 16, 2019
  • Friday, December 20, 2019
The Greater Cleveland Reentry Leadership Coalition was formed in 2007 as a reentry task force consisting of city and county government officials, the heads of local government agencies, corrections, service providers, faith-based organizations, and behavioral health, employment and housing specialists. It was first established, prior to the inception of the Office of Reentry, to provide structured oversight and leadership to the many institutions and organizations that provide services to returning citizens. Overall, its mission is to guarantee successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated people, reduce recidivism, and increase public safety. All Leadership Coalition meetings are open to the public and are held four times per year.

photo of man wearing a black suit and red tieWard 6 Councilman Blaine Griffin, Leadership Coalition Chair
Ward 6 Councilman Blaine A. Griffin represents one of Cleveland's most diverse wards, encompassing the East Side neighborhoods of Fairfax, Larchmere, Little Italy, Woodland Hills, and parts of Buckeye-Shaker, University Circle, North Broadway, Slavic Village and Union-Miles. Councilman Griffin was elected to City Council in November of 2017, after being appointed in May of 2017, to fill a seat vacated by Mamie Mitchell.

Prior to serving on council, Councilman Griffin had been executive director of the city's Community Relation's Board for 11 years. He led a staff and board trustees in efforts to improve cross-culture relations throughout the city and police/community relations and youth initiatives.

Councilman Griffin is a graduate of the Cleveland State University Maxine Goodman Levine College of Urban Affairs Leadership Academy and the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Leadership Cleveland; Class of 2014, as well as a German Marshall Memorial Fellow. He is originally from Youngstown but moved to Cleveland in 1993. He and his wife of 20 years, Jeanette, and their three sons live in the Larchmere neighborhood of Ward 6. He graduated from Malone College in Canton, Ohio, with a bachelor of arts degree in communications.

photo of man with glasses smiling at the camera David Merriman, Vice-Chairman, Cuyahoga County Health & Human Services Assistant Director
David Merriman is the assistant director of Cuyahoga County’s Department of Health and Human Services. He is managing the department’s strategic initiatives and leading efforts to integrate human service and workforce efforts. He previously oversaw the County’s Medicaid, TANF, child care, food assistance, and child support programs as the Administrator of Cuyahoga Job and Family Services. He has also worked as the county’s Deputy Chief of Staff of Health and Human Services where he lead the County development of Pay for Success programing and supported the budget and policy development for human services. David’s professional career began as an Americorp volunteer, and he has worked in child welfare as a case worker as well as in public health on infant mortality prevention programing and HIV/STI prevention and housing services.

photo of man with glasses smiling at the camera Damian Calvert
Damian Calvert currently serves as Project Coordinator/Outreach Manager for the City of Cleveland’s Community Relations Board where he helps facilitate the implementation of the City’s Violent Reduction Model and coordinates the activities of multiple city-supported grassroots organizations focused on violence and gang interruption and redirection, as well as other safety initiatives. Prior to joining the City of Cleveland and working with various other organizations, Damian served 18 and a half years in several Ohio prison institutions.

His drive and self-narrative is drawn from his true-life experiences while being incarcerated. Others may shy away from revealing their criminal history, but Damian highlights it as a lesson learned for those in or on the cusp of facing the same fate. Over the arc of his incarceration, Damian founded and served as the Inaugural President of Grafton’s NAACP Branch Unit 34AB; became a Certified American Red Cross Instructor; served as Management Director of the Junior Chamber of Commerce; facilitated various educational workshops; mentored at-risk adolescents who came into the facility from surrounding counties through the Heart-to-Heart Program; and, most notably, wrote, proposed and received authorization to facilitate the Reentry Premier Program which helped men prepare for successful transition back into their respective communities. Since his release, Damian has taken courses at Cleveland State University and served as a Movement Builder Organizer for the Ohio Organizing Campaign (OOC). With the OOC, he organized concerned community members around social and economic justice issues. He did this by demonstrating how to isolate an issue and make it actionable. Damian also facilitated trainings and leadership development through Story of Self creation/narrative reclamation, all of which laid the foundation for sustainable movement building.