Applications now open for DCA City Advocate Program

Our City Advocate program is a highly successful program for civic education and engagement. We’re currently accepting applications for our 2014-2016 class – get yours in before February 5th!

Entering its sixth year, the City Advocate program provides a framework for motivated Downtown Cleveland residents and professionals to become actively involved in the forward momentum of Downtown. City Advocates immerse themselves in hands-on projects and gain an insider’s perspective into processes of community change.

Each class represents a broad range of professional expertise and personal interests. These rising civic leaders, who are selected through a competitive process, make a two-year commitment to the action-oriented program that encourages each City Advocate to help make a difference. Over the course of the term, City Advocates are unified in their passion for advancing our urban core. They form collaborative working groups around issues they deem most important for Downtown’s continued success and initiate projects that improve the quality of life and visitor experience in Downtown.

Current City Advocates are creating and implementing projects such as the following, which both complement Downtown Cleveland’s explosive development and speak to the Advocates’ personal experiences and passions:

  • Sneak Peek residential previews, giving those looking to move Downtown the opportunity to take first-hand looks and behind-the-scene tours at new residential spaces. Apartment developers provide hard hat tours of housing options that are not yet on the market.
  • A social media initiative called In the Cle (@IntheCLE) a Twitter account which serves as a citizen voice, letting Clevelanders promote what they love most about their city. Each week a new Clevelander takes over the account to share their interests within Cleveland to its more than 2000 followers.
  • A project exploring feasibly of a public art mural in a highly visible building location Downtown. DCA partnered this cohort with LAND Studio to provide guidance in the process of engaging artists and securing funding for public art projects.
  • A one-day holiday market of local artisans and entrepreneurs located at the growing retail hub, 5th Street Arcades. The holiday market took place in November and attracted more than 40 local vendors who served the growing visitor and residential population in Downtown Cleveland.


    Cleveland Gift Box, a City Advocate initiative that took place during Downtown’s Winterfest on November 30

Past projects have included a series of monthly happy hours aimed at creating community among new Downtown residents; a pop-up style birthday party for East 4th Street on the 10-year anniversary of its redevelopment; working with the Near West Recreation League to add a kids bowling league at Corner Alley to their offerings; creating content for Downtown Cleveland’s Wikipedia page; and many others that, while not moving past the research phase, allowed Advocates to understand the processes involved and partnerships necessary to make an idea reality.

Celebration of East 4th Street's 10th anniversary

Celebration of East 4th Street’s 10th anniversary

“DCA is proud to be able to offer this program to the community.  We think it is a unique opportunity to be genuinely involved in all the great progress that is being made Downtown, and the popularity of the program is a tribute to the positive energy that progress is generating,” says Laura Wiegand, director of development and community relations at DCA. “People want in on the action and a way to make an impact.  Last year, we received nearly 80 applications for 15 spots in the program.  The selection process is competitive, but it’s very rewarding to know there are so many talented people with so much passion for Downtown Cleveland. ”

The program also gives participants the opportunity to meet and interface with high profile leaders in Cleveland by bringing in guest speakers.  Past and upcoming guests include Tracy Nichols, City of Cleveland Economic Development Director; Joe Cimperman, Downtown Cleveland Councilman; Eric Wobser, DCA , Ohio City Inc. and Cleveland Metropolitan School District board member; as well as other entrepreneurs with start-ups and growing retail in Downtown.

Additionally, a mentorship match-up program gives Advocates the opportunity to meet one-on-one with DCA’s board leadership, which consists of many highly engaged leaders in the Cleveland community, often with decades of perspective on the City’s growth and evolution.

Applications for the City Advocate program are now available, with an application deadline of February 5 at 5 p.m. DCA encourages candidates to use the month of January to dedicate time and creativity to the application, which is available at More information and application instructions can be found on DCA’s website at Please contact Laura Wiegand at with questions.

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