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InnerCitySaints Award

InnerCitySaints Award

2020 InnerCitySaints Awards Luncheon

In November 2020, Notre Dame College would have celebrated its 5th InnerCitySaints honoree at a luncheon gathering, but somehow the College just does not seem to think it appropriate to honor a “saint” virtually during a pandemic year. Although Notre Dame will miss all those who have participated in the program in the past, new friends who would have joined this year and sharing the joy of being together, the College is highlighting the impact of past contributions and asking those who have donated in the past and those who would like to become part of the tradition to consider a donation this fall to the Caring Hearts Fund.

Since 2016, and with the help and support of the annual InnerCitySaints Award luncheon, Notre Dame has been able to quickly respond to the critical needs of more than 100 students with unforeseen emergencies that would otherwise derail their college career. These Caring Hearts Fund stipends are used by students for things such as food, winter clothing, car repairs, child care, computers, books and crisis travel expenses, emergency circumstances that often force students in need to drop out or withdraw from College.

Learn more about our Caring Hearts Fund, or make a contribution online today. You also can contact Ann Coakley at acoakley@ndc.edu for more information. Your contribution will go directly to the Caring Hearts Fund to assist a student, We look forward to gathering in person next year to honor a new InnerCity Saint!


About the InnerCitySaint 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. Net proceeds benefit the Notre Dame College Caring Hearts Fund, which provides emergency financial support to students who are experiencing unexpected crises.

Contact Ann Coakley, executive director of College advancement, at 216.373.6532 or acoakley@ndc.edu for more information.


Previous Honorees

2019 InnerCitySaints Award

Renee Jones, for more than two decades, has ministered to the needs of victims of human trafficking and dedicated her life to educating the community on the dangers of this global epidemic. Her Renee Jones Empowerment Center in Cleveland provides free life skills coaching, benefit identification and services from support groups and group therapy to journal writing and art therapy to women of all ages in need and at risk. The Center also assists individuals with contacting social service providers and works to connect and coordinate allies like the FBI Task Force on Human Trafficking, the Rape Crisis Center, the Cleveland Council on World Affairs and others to eradicate human trafficking throughout Northeast Ohio.


2018 InnerCitySaints Award

Edward Plaspohl was recognized in November 2018 with the award for his volunteer work 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 also serves at St. Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, which he helped to establish.


2017 InnerCitySaints Award

The second InnerCitySaints Award was presented to Father Jim O’Donnell in November 2017. O’Donnell helped establish 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.