After talking a while with Kathleen Greely, you start to wonder if there’s anyone who knows the Englewood neighborhood better than she does.
Her force of will, enthusiasm and broad network or friends and acquaintances seems like enough to solve any persistent, local issue. Greely is the President and CEO of the Community Reinvestment Coalition Englewood SW, a non-profit which enhances the Englewood neighborhood through programs that address quality of life, workforce development and equity in health care and education.
Englewood, a neighborhood bounded by Dorr St. to the south, the viaduct to the west, and I-75 to the north and east, has, like many Toledo neighborhoods, had a steady decrease in resident and household counts since the 1970s. Today the neighborhood has about 2800 residents, down from 8700 in 1970. Currently, there are about 1200 households in the neighborhood and 84% of those households are African American.
Partnering for progress
In 2022, the City of Toledo and the Community Reinvestment Coalition Englewood SW partnered with Toledo Design Center to solicit feedback and ideas from neighborhood stakeholders, including governmental and non-profit entities, community institutions and residents. The resulting report, the Englewood Community Plan, runs 160 pages and provides plans and ideas for community action and development.
The Plan, which maps the neighborhood assets and challenges in property ownership, housing, transportation, commerce, culture, environment and quality of life markers, also pulls together ten city planning documents from the past 20 years that reference ideas and plans for the neighborhood.
This year’s Juneteenth celebration with activities over three days included presentations on interview prep, resume writing along with panel discussions about entrepreneurship. A Kids Zone offered a local entertainment stage with performers from Toledo School for the Arts and other activities for kids.
The three day event boasted a Job Fair with more than 100 local and remote employers with participation of statewide program Ohio Means Jobs. The workforce development programming was funded by a grant from Toledo Community Foundation with a goal of realigning the local workforce with future anticipated employment needs.
Crowning Black kings
The group held a special event at the Toledo Club: Celebration of Black Kings, which honored men from the community who represented the distinct values that Kwanzaa celebrates. Nominations for the awards were solicited from the public. The 33 Black King honorees included the following.
Representing the Kwanzaa value of Collective were Devilbiss High School athletics star Terry Crosby; Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Romules Durant, EdD; David Bush, Commissioner of Youth Services for the City of Toledo; Toledo Fire Chief Chief Brian Byrd and Councilman John Hobbs III.
The Kwanzaa value of Economics was the principle that was the basis for honoring Calvin Brown of PGN Consulting; Michael Day, Sr., Funeral Director and President of House of Day Funeral Service; Keary Sarabia, CEO and President at RFS Behavioral Health; Robert Smith, Executive Director of the African American Legacy Project; former member of City Council and retired banker Larry Sykes, and John Tooson, also of PGN Consulting.
Selected for their focus on Unity: basketball coach Leroy Bates, Jay Black, CEO of Pathway Inc., Darrell Dorn of Bowsher High School and RFS Behavioral Health, former football coach and principal of Scott High School Johnny Hutton, and former pro basketballer and current head coach of the Lourdes University men’s basketball team Dennis Hopson.
The honorees who embodied Purpose were: Douglas Jones, Keith Miller, Rogers High School basketball coach Lamar Smith, Executive Director of “The Doug,” Reggie Williams, and David Young, Director of Toledo Excel at the University of Toledo.
Demonstrating Determination were: Stand Up Man Up Founder Ernie Banks; Counselor Washington Muhammad; Carnel Smith, EdD, principal of Scott High School; Sammy Spann, PhD, Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Toledo, and Nathaniel Young.
Creativity was embodied by Michael Day, Jr. of Day Funeral Home; science consultant Rahwae Shuman and David Fleetwood, business manager of Laborers Local 500.
Representing Faith were the esteemed Rev. Damon Horton of Corinth Memorial Baptist Church; Rev. John C. Jones, CEO and President of HOPE Toledo and HOPE Promise; Rev. D.L. Perryman, PhD, of the Center of Hope Community Baptist Church and Rev. Jerry Boose of Second Baptist Church.
Greely plans to build on the successes of the Juneteenth programming and has other programs in the works for Englewood SW, including a cohort of health care providers addressing inequities in infant health care, as well as additional partnerships to enhance the Toledo Public School’s Community Hub at Robinson Elementary.