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CLEVELAND: NOW!

CLEVELAND: NOW! was a joint public and private funding program for the revitalization of Cleveland which was announced by Mayor Carl B. Stokes 1 May 1968. Local businessmen, shocked by the April assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., agreed to cooperate with the city in a fundraising program to combat the ills of Cleveland's inner city in order to preserve racial peace. The plan was to raise $1.5 billion over 10 years with $177 million projected during the first 2 years to fund youth activities and employment, community centers, health-clinic facilities, housing units, and economic renewal projects. Geo. Steinbrenner III and the Group `66 organization of business leaders were committed to spearhead a public solicitation of $1.25 million from businesses, institutions, and individuals, and it was expected that local money from a .5% city income tax increase plus state and federal funds also would be channeled into Cleveland: Now! enterprises. Funding goals were quickly met for the first few months; however, when the public was made aware that NOW funds had indirectly gone to purchase arms used in the GLENVILLE SHOOT-OUT of 23 July 1968, donations declined. NOW! actively operated until 1970, when Stokes announced that its last major commitment would be the funding of 4 new community centers. The organization was not formally dissolved until Oct. 1980, when the remaining $220,000 was given to the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION to use for youth employment and low-income housing.


Stokes, Carl B. Promises of Power (1973).


Finding aid for the Cleveland: NOW! Records. WRHS.