Photo showing several wrapped gifts

Case Western Reserve, Cleveland Clinic work with Famicos Foundation to “adopt” needy families for the holidays

Contributions from Health Education Campus contractors and construction crews will help 26 families in Hough and Glenville

Representatives from Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve meet regularly with construction contractors regarding progress on the Health Education Campus (HEC), scheduled to open in the summer of 2019.

Those discussions recently turned to what might be done to brighten the holidays for families in the area who may be struggling.

“People felt a strong desire to do something positive for the Hough and Glenville neighborhoods,” said Julian Rogers, the university’s executive director for local government and community relations. “As part of community discussions involving the dental clinic that is part of the HEC, representatives of both institutions had spent time with residents.”

So he and Julie Rehm, vice president for Government and Foundation Relations, approached the Famicos Foundation, a nonprofit affordable housing developer and social-services provider on Ansel Road, to help identify families in nearby neighborhoods who could use a little help.

John Anoliefo, executive director of the Famicos Foundation, asked if the participants could raise funds that could pay for holiday gifts for families in Hough and Glenville, two Cleveland neighborhoods near the HEC’s Samson Pavilion and Dental Clinic that are among the city’s poorest areas.

Russ Saghy, the HEC’s owner’s representative for Cleveland Clinic, offered to solicit and collect donations from the project’s contractors and construction crews.

“The project does something every year for the local community for the holidays,” Saghy said. “It’s a part of our community commitment.”

Saghy sent a request for contributions to the construction project’s contractors and subcontractors, explaining who they were trying to help and how.

“We were asking to give what you can,” Saghy said. “No pressure, just give what you can.”

They also passed a hard hat around at morning trade-contractors meetings, and many of the men and women tossed in cash.

“We’ve got a heck of a team of good people,” Saghy said, “that when you ask them to do something, they rally around it.”

Rally indeed. Combined, the contractors and construction crews contributed about $20,000, Rogers said.

“We want to make Christmas as nice as we can for the families, not just the kids but the whole unit,” said Dominic Ozanne, president and chief executive officer of Ozanne Construction Co.—one of about 50 contributors. “You always want to feel as if you’re doing more than just building a building.”

The money will be used to buy and deliver Christmas gifts and turkeys to 26 families—14 in Hough and 12 in Glenville, representing nearly 90 children and 30 adults, Famicos’ Anoliefo said.

“This gives the participants in the construction process a way to give back to the community,” Rogers said. “We are grateful for Famicos’ assistance in identifying the families.”