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InnerCitySaints Award

InnerCitySaints Award


Notre Dame College established the InnerCitySaints Award in 2016 to recognize and shine a light on an individual who through his or her humble service, dedication and presence has made a meaningful difference in Cleveland’s inner city urban communities. All proceeds benefit the Notre Dame College Caring Hearts Fund which provides emergency financial support to students who are experiencing unexpected crises in their lives.

2018 InnerCitySaints Awards Luncheon

The 2018 InnerCitySaints Awards Luncheon will celebrate Edward Plaspohl, a relatively unheralded hero making a difference in the inner-urban areas of Northeast Ohio at noon on Thursday, November 15, at the Tudor Arms DoubleTree Hotel in University Circle.

Mr. Plaspohl has served more than 800 straight Sundays since 2003 with the St. Ignatius High School Labre Ministry, which every week dispatches volunteers to Cleveland’s inner city to search for the homeless, provide meals and offer other assistance. He helped launch the St. Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, 12 years ago and serves the poor and marginalized every week in Akron. That group has ministered nearly 600 straight Mondays.

A retired global account executive with SAP America, Mr. Plaspohl, 62, of Strongsville, Ohio, serves as a volunteer with the Arrupe Neighborhood Partnership at St. Ignatius and as a board member of the Ignatian Identity Committee at Walsh Jesuit. He is on the Board of Directors of Boys Hope Girls Hope Northeast Ohio.

Sr. Melannie Svoboda, SND, will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon. Sr. Melannie graduated from Notre Dame College in 1967 and has served as a faculty member in English at the College. Sr. Melannie is a previous provincial superior in Chardon, past novice director in Detroit and a former high school and college educator, including at Notre Dame.

She is the author of 13 books and her articles have appeared in numerous publications including America, Catholic Digest, National Catholic Reporter and Country Woman. She recently served as a keynote speaker at the Sisters of Notre Dame National Education Summit at the College.

Contact Ann Coakley, executive director of College advancement, at 216.373.6532 or for more information, tickets and sponsorship opportunities.

Previous Honorees

2017 InnerCitySaints Award

The 2017 award was presented to Father Jim O’Donnell on November 16, 2017. O’Donnell helped establishe the community of the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Eucharist, which for more than 35 years has provided a ministry of presence in the Central neighborhood of Cleveland.

2016 InnerCitySaints Award

The inaugural award was presented in November 2016 to Sr. Rita Mary Harwood, SND, Secretary for Parish Life and Development with the Diocese of Cleveland, who established and has led the Diocesan Ministry to the Incarcerated since 1996.