Dr. Annemarie M. Grassi is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Open Doors Academy (ODA). She is a dynamic and caring individual who works passionately and tirelessly to build this successful organization, which was once earmarked for closure. At 23-years-old, she started the non-profit ODA and grew it from 20 kids in 2002 to over 550.
Today, ODA is thriving and she has an exceptional relationship with inner city students in providing friendship, caring and directing programs, which help them believe in themselves to graduate high school and go on to college. To say that Dr. Grassi has made a difference in hundreds of challenged students’ lives… is an understatement.
Prior to ODA, Dr. Grassi worked as an educational consultant and therapist with children and adolescents living with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Traumatic Brain Injury at Integrations Treatment Center, in Willoughby, Ohio. She has extensive experience in youth development, program development, evaluation and performance management, grant writing, and strategic visioning.
Dr. Grassi holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Psychology from Ohio University, where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society. Upon completion of her degree, Dr. Grassi attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Masters of Science in Education in Child and Adolescent Psychology. While there, she developed and successfully implemented a violence prevention program for inner-city youth through the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which still runs today.
In addition to her master’s degree, Dr. Grassi holds a Certificate in Non Profit Management from Case Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from Cleveland State University. Dr. Grassi currently serves as the Funding and Policy Chair for the Ohio Afterschool Network, serves on the executive committee and steering council of the Slavic Village P-16 Council, is a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2016, is a fellow of the Treumart Foundation and Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organization’s Youth Resiliency Fellowship and is a trained facilitator in the Youth Resiliency Model. In addition, she is an alumna of the Cleveland Bridge Builders Flagship Program; a member of the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organization’s Leader’s Links, National Afterschool Association, Afterschool Alliance, and National Middle School Association.
Dr. Grassi is actively involved in her community, serving on various boards and committees. As an active member of the Junior League of Cleveland, she served two years as Board President, co-chair of Cleveland’s Girl Culture Photography Exhibit, board membership director, training director, and and co-chair of the Girls Make Great Leaders project, mentoring young women through middle school. She currently is serving as the multi-year chair of the JLC signature initiative, Girl League. In addition to her role with the Junior League of Cleveland, she serves as a board vice chair with Hands on Northeast Ohio and Daily Dose of Reading. As a strong advocate for equality in education, Dr. Grassi travels twice a year to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to advocate for those children who have been abandoned and are provided limited access to an education.
Dr. Grassi is the recipient of the 2018 50 Smart Business Award, the 2016 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, 2015 Reminger Women’s Initiative Vanguard Award, the 2015 Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio Women of Distinction recipient, 2014 Crain’s Cleveland 40 under 40, the 2012 Athena Young Professional Leadership Award, a two-time recipient of the Cleveland Young Professionals 20/30 Club Movers and Shakers Award, and was selected as a 2013 “One to Watch” by Crain’s Cleveland. Dr. Grassi speaks locally, regionally, and nationally on the importance of creating a safe culture for our youth, promoting education, and building strong nonprofits. As stated by Deborah Vesy, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Deaconess Foundation, “Annemarie is one of Cleveland’s strongest visionary leaders”.