Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Black Giving Matters: Interview with Terri Bradford Eason of The Cleveland Foundation

Teri Eason volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, OH,
and helped cook breakfast for 55 families.

During Community Foundation Week (November 12-18), is highlighting staff, board members and donors at community foundations that are demonstrating a strong commitment to informing, inspiring, investing in and involving Black philanthropic leadership.

A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Terri Bradford Eason is Director of Gift Planning at The Cleveland Foundation—a 101 year-old institution that holds the distinction of being the world’s first community foundation. Eason joined the Foundation in October 2008 after gaining two decades of experience in the financial services industry. She held several positions with National City (now PNC) and supported several functions including wealth management, relationship management, new business development, and both private and corporate banking. During her tenure, Eason received the company’s NCC Excel Award for extraordinary client and community service. She also was the recipient of the YWCA Women of Professional Excellence Award, TLOD Status of Women Award, and the NCNW Phenomenal Women of Extraordinary Leadership and Service Award.

Eason has served the nonprofit community as a director on several area nonprofit boards, including Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center (Past-Board President), Recovery Resources, Junior Achievement, and the Women’s City Club Foundation. Currently, she is President of the Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and the Chairman of Alpha Omega Foundation, Incorporated. In addition, she serves on the Legacy Village Lyndhurst Community Fund Committee and is a member of the National Black MBA Association, Inc., Beta Gamma Sigma National Honor Society, Cleveland Chapter of Links, Inc., and Jack & Jill of America, Inc.

She earned an MBA from Cleveland State University and a B.A. from Penn State University. Eason resides in South Euclid, OH with her husband Clayton Eason, Sr. and their two sons Clayton II, age 17 and Bradford, age 15.

Black Giving Matters Interview

Eason’s first recollection of giving dates back to when she was six years old. “From October through the end of any given year at my grandmother’s house, we were always preparing and packing hundreds of meals for people in need,” Eason recently shared. “My grandmother raised me to always think first of others, and now in my career and my community work, her work ethic is truly apparent.”

Managing The Cleveland Foundation’s Gift Planning Program, Eason’s primary focus is cultivating relationships that help individuals establish current and deferred philanthropic funds, legacy gifts and charitable giving strategic plans. In her role, Eason works closely with professional advisors and their clients to identify, create and provide charitable planning options tailored to achieve specific philanthropic goals.

Eason’s work and passion for the community are in sync with the Foundation’s mission of enhancing the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland, now and for generations to come, by working with donors to build community endowment, address needs through grantmaking and provide leadership on key community issues.

At the Foundation, Eason has functional responsibility for the African-American Philanthropy Committee (AAPC) created in 1993 to promote awareness and education to African Americans about the benefits of wealth and community preservation through philanthropy. Awareness led to stewardship in 2010, when the Committee established a fund to help support a variety of organizations within the African-American community of Greater Cleveland. The African-American Philanthropy Committee Legacy Fund is bolstered by individuals of all ages, churches, businesses, sororities and fraternities, and multiple member organizations.

AAPC convenes a Philanthropy Summit once every two years to raise the visibility of African-American philanthropy in the region and honor local African-American philanthropists who are making a lasting and significant impact. The Summit, which attracts local, regional and national attention, advances the Committee’s mission and provides tools and insight for individuals who are participating in charitable giving.

“Our next Philanthropy Summit will take place on April 23, 2016 in Cleveland,” Eason noted. “The theme, ‘Impact and Influence: The Evolution of African American Giving,’ will be a celebration of existing philanthropists and a call to action for aspiring philanthropists to develop their own philanthropic legacy. This fourth biennial Summit is designed to engage a broad range of philanthropic topics and interests and also break down some real and perceived barriers to giving,” she added.

About Community Foundation Week 2015
Community Foundation Week (#CFWeek)—running Thursday, November 12 through Wednesday, November 18—helps raise awareness about the more than 750 community foundations across the United States. Learn more here.

Submitted by Valaida Fullwood
Described an “idea whisperer,” Valaida brings unbridled imagination and a gift for harnessing wild ideas to her work as a writer and project strategist. She is a founding member of Charlotte’s New Generation of African American Philanthropists, author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists and innovator for the touring exhibition “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited.” Follow @ValaidaF and

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