Best Of The Best: Not Just An Annual Report

May 24, 2019 – Every 730 days the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Cleveland hosts a biennial competition which discovers and celebrates the best of the best in design. This year, Little Jacket’s work with Paul Sobota Photography and Open Doors Academy was recognized.

Little Jacket received two 2-D Design awards for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 ODA annual reports Leaders make Leaders and The Future. Congratulations to Little Jacket and Paul Sobota Photography for working with our scholars to create annual reports that are a piece of art!

Open Doors Academy on Live on Lakeside

April 3, 2019 – Open Doors Academy’s CEO and Board Chair were invited to sit down with Hollie & Alexa on WKYC’s Live on Lakeside. They disussed the ways we provide out-of-school academic and enrichment programming to disadvantaged youth in Greater Cleveland and how it helps breaks the cycle of multi-generational poverty. Click here to watch the interview.

ODA Testifies to Congress

July 25, 2018 – ODA was given the opportunity of a lifetime: Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who represents Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, invited ODA to testify in front of the US House of Representative’s Committee on Education & the Workforce.

This invitation came as part of the US House of Representative’s Inaugural Education Innovation Summit & Showcase. We were the only organization from Ohio invited to speak. We did our best to represent the power of out-of-school time programming in the lives of children.

Check out the video below. ODA delivers testimony at 1:11:00, and we answer questions from Congresswoman Fudge at approximately 1:25:00.

ODA Selected to be Statewide Trainer for Ohio's 21st Century Community Learning Center Program

March 5, 2018 – The Ohio Department of Education has selected Open Doors Academy to be the lead trainer for the state’s 21st Century Community Learning Center Program (21st CCLC). ODA will provide professional development, coaching, and program evaluation services to over 220 agencies across Ohio that receive support from the 21st CCLC program to serve students from kindergarten through high school.

The department has administered the 21st CCLC program since 2002, and ODA has been a recipient of 24 of these competitive grants since 2009. The state’s program focuses on funding expanded learning time (ELT) and out-of-school time (OST) education, both of which align academic services to the needs of students and state academic standards. The program is designed to support children who come from economically disadvantaged families and attend low-performing schools.

ODA has been a leader in OST education, and it tracks scholar data and outcomes to measure the impact of its programming. “We have a proven track record of success: 100% of scholars who complete three years of ODA’s middle school programming graduate from high school,” ODA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Annemarie M. Grassi, explained while announcing the contract. “By assisting other grantees increase the quality of their programming, we will help thousands of other kids across Ohio.”

The purpose of the 21st CCLC program is threefold. All funded programs must accomplish the following goals:

  1. Provide opportunities for academic enrichment to assist students in meeting the state academic standards;
  2. Offer students access to a broad array of additional services, such as those that focus on youth development, social emotional learning, civic engagement, and nutritional and physical health; and
  3. Offer adult family members of program participants opportunities for educational development and engagement in their children’s education.

“These grants are competitive, so we look forward to working with grantees in a collaborative way to meet the needs of their scholars,” Dr. Grassi noted. “Over the years, the Ohio Department of Education has improved this grant program in many ways, and we have always been a strong supporter of those improvements. This contract is another opportunity to partner with the department to advance the quality of programming that Ohio’s children receive.”

ODA began in 1992 as an outreach ministry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights for the middle school students at Roxboro Elementary School. Twenty-five years later, ODA operates ten middle school programs and four high school programs across Greater Cleveland, and it is a statewide leader in high-quality, out-of-school education. Its seven-year continuum of programming provides year-round, quality enrichment programming that addresses the unique developmental and academic needs of students.

To learn more, please contact Edward Stockhausen, ODA’s Chief Advancement Officer, by email at or by calling 216-952-2293.

5 OUT OF 5: Ohio Department of Education Awards Five 21st Century Grants to Open Doors Academy

August 15, 2017 – Cleveland, Ohio – The Chief Executive Officer of Open Doors Academy (ODA), Dr. Annemarie M. Grassi, released the following statement after the Ohio Department of Education announced its list of grantees for the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program late on Friday afternoon:
We learned at the end of last week that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) approved all of ODA’s new grant applications to the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program. The entire ODA community – from our board and staff to our scholars, families, and school partners – is thrilled by this news.
Overall, ODE awarded 107 grants across Ohio. Fifteen were secured by agencies in Cuyahoga County, and ODA earned five of them.
With these grants, ODA will continue serving adolescent youth at four local middle schools: Miles Park Elementary School, Monticello Middle School, Mound STEM School, and E Prep Woodland Hills. Our school and community partners at these schools include the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District, University Settlement, and Breakthrough Schools.
The fifth grant will support a new high school program on Cleveland’s West Side. Two years ago we opened our first middle school campus on the West Side at Urban Community School. This grant gives us the opportunity to provide the full seven-year continuum of programming there.
These schools represent five of ODA’s 13 middle school and high school campuses across Greater Cleveland.
While this is all welcome news at the start of a new school year, it’s important to remember that these grants are competitive. In fact, there were over 300 applications for 21st Century grants this year, which means that many children and families who need high-quality programming will not receive it.
ODA will continue to advocate for high standards and for sustainable resources to support programs that provide high-quality educational services outside of the school day.

Ohio’s 21st Century Community Learning Center Program “provides opportunities for children who come from economically disadvantaged families and attend low-performing schools to receive academic supports.” To learn more about this program, visit ODE’s website here.

AIGA Cleveland Honorable Mention for ODA's 2015-2016 Annual Report

ODA would like to extend a special thank you and congratulations to our partners at Little Jacket for their work on our 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Annual Reports, which were recently recognized by the AIGA Cleveland.

The judges even recognized the 2014-2015 ODA Annual Report with an honorable mention.

Little Jacket has been a partner with ODA for years, helping develop their branding, messaging, and summer camps for ODA scholars.

AIGA Cleveland is “a thriving member-focused nonprofit organization for design professionals in the greater Cleveland area.”

The Sound of Ideas on WCPN 90.3 Ideastream, January 26, 2017

January 26, 2017 – ODA’s CEO joins the Sound of Ideas on 90.3 WCPN Ideastream to discuss how more than 100 before and after-school programs around Ohio could potentially lose funding.  The programs are funded by 21st Century Learning Center Grants that are administered through the Ohio Department of Education.  The state says no one is losing funding. Those whose grants have run out were never guaranteed renewal. Multi-year grants will still be funded. But those losing funding can’t even apply for new money because the state says it needs time to revamp its program under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The Columbus Dispatch, January 19,2017

“After-, before-school programs in Ohio may lose funding this summer” The Columbus Dispatch, by Shannon Gilchrist and Jim Siegel.–before-school-programs-in-ohio-may-lose-funding-this-summer


“State budget cuts threaten after-school programs” WKYC Channel 3

January 18, 2017 – State budget cuts may mean more than 100-after-school programs could be eliminated.

WKYC’s Jasmine Monroe talked with upset parents who say it’s not just their kids this hurts, but the entire community.

SVP Partnership Video, November 11, 2016

Up This Hill | Cedar Lee Theatre


CLEVELAND, OH—Thursday, January 5, 2017, the film, Up this Hill, will be shown at the Cedar Lee Theatre at 7 pm. There is no charge for attending this screening. Please register to attend.

As part of ODA’s service learning programming, high school students travel to Harlan, Kentucky, where they spend a week helping families in need.

During the day, ODA scholars repair homes, and in the afternoons they swim, hike, cook meals together, and reflect on the day.

During the summer of 2015, the film crew including Executive Producer Roger Frank, Assistant Producer Christian Woltman, and Director Paul Sobota, travelled with our students and spent the week documenting their extraordinary experiences as they worked together to make a difference.

In Harlan, ODA partners with COAP, an ecumenical organization that completes repairs, additions and water and septic upgrades for hundreds of families. Their mission is to provide safe, warm, and dry housing for very low-income families. The average family involved with COAP earns about $7,500 per year.

Register Now!

Some Day Is Now: Jonathan Kozol, Keynote Speaker

kozol_jonathan4(300)CLEVELAND, OH—On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, Open Doors Academy (ODA) hosted the “2nd Annual Some Day is Now” luncheon, featuring Jonathan Kozol as keynote speaker. It was held at the Cleveland Convention Center’s Global Center for Health Innovation from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Over 500 community leaders attended.

Education icon Jonathan Kozol, whose most recent book,”Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America,” has been an unwavering advocate of high-quality education for America’s poor, marginalized, and disenfranchised. Countless educators have reflected that reading Kozol inspired them to go into the field in the first place, and millions have been influenced by his writing, public and media appearances, and teaching.

Moderator for the question and answer session was Dan Moulthrop, CEO of the City Club of Cleveland and the event co-chairs were Richard and Joanne Clark and Leah Gary.

Many thanks to the sponsors of the event: The Business of Good Foundation, RPM, Huntington Banks, KeyBank, Media Sponsor WKYC/Gannett, Sherwin Williams, Little Jacket, Calfee Halter, Annette & Mark Sutherland, Louis & Del Salza, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Laurel, College Now, Esperanza, and The Moskowitz Firm.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Article on Jonathon Kozol’s visit to ODA