September 09, 2008

Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Case Western Reserve University to honor Akron Art Museum director and Hattie Larlham organization

Award given for excellence in leadership and innovation

Case Western Reserve University's Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations has named Mitchell Kahan, director and chief executive officer of the Akron Art Museum, and Hattie Larlham, a nonprofit organization and leader in developing and delivering services for 1,400 children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental retardation throughout Ohio, as recipients of the 2008 Leadership in Nonprofit Management Award and Organization Innovation Award.

Both winners will be recognized during the Mandel Center's Nonprofit Awards Luncheon at Windows on the River, 2000 Sycamore Ave., in Cleveland, on Tuesday, September 23, at 11 a.m. The annual event brings together leaders from Northeast Ohio's nonprofit community.

"Mitchell Kahan and the Hattie Larlham organization exemplify excellence in nonprofit leadership and innovation," said Susan L. Eagan, executive director of the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations. "It is a privilege to recognize and highlight their contributions to our region."

Keynote speaker Jennifer Pryce, director of advocacy and site director of the Nonprofit Finance Fund's (NFF) office in Washington, D.C., will discuss innovative strategies to help organizations sustain their missions in today's ever-changing environment. NFF is a national leader in helping nonprofits strengthen their financial health and improve their capacity to serve their communities.

The Leadership in Nonprofit Management Award

This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated visionary leadership within a nonprofit organization or the broader community.

Since Kahan's arrival at the Akron Art Museum in 1986, he has played a vital role in the transformation of Akron. The $44-million expansion of the museum has changed the city's skyline and become a cornerstone of the city's revitalization and cultural growth. The new building has been hailed by Art in America as a "model of museum design."

"He envisioned a new museum early on, skillfully moved people to embrace his vision, raised over $44 million during difficult economic times, managed museum employees during its closure and construction of the new building," said Philip A. Lloyd, a trustee of Akron Art Museum. "He also led the grand reopening of the new structure and brought to Northeast Ohio the works of Norman Rockwell, which had more than 50,000 visitors to a single exhibition."

Kahan is credited with sustaining and increasing membership during the museum's three-year closure for renovations.

Museum supporters hail Kahan for promoting the museum's role as a crucial force in the city's growth, positioning the museum in community-wide collaborations. He has attracted visitors by expanding the museum's education department and offering new opportunities for adult learning through art history classes, lectures and other public events.

Kahan has served as president on several boards—the Intermuseum Conservation Association, a regional arts organization; the Akron Roundtable; and Akron Area Arts Alliance. He is also a co-founder of the Summit Artspace and the Akron Community Foundation's Gay Community Endowment Fund.

The Organization Innovation Award

The Organization Innovation Award is presented to an organization that has shown inventiveness in creating new or reshaping traditional products or services that have demonstrably increased the organization's value and effectiveness to the community.

Hattie Larlham, located in Mantua, Ohio, has been an organizational leader in developing and delivering services for 1,400 Ohio children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental retardation. As the organization has grown since its establishment in 1961 to a $27-million operation in 2006, it has undertaken a number of ventures to raise funds and care for its clients.

One of those successful ventures has been Hattie's Café and Gifts, which first opened in Hudson in 2006. Two new cafés will open this year in Akron. The cafés offer work opportunities for people with disabilities and have expanded to include an art gallery to feature and sell the work from the Hattie Larlham Creative Arts program. For those unable to frequent the local cafés, the organization began selling a line of bakery goods on the Internet.

"Hattie's Cafés are many things to many people," said Avery S. Cohen, current Hattie Larlham Care Group Board President. "To the people with disabilities who work at the cafés, it is a place to learn, grow and contribute to their community. To Hattie Larlham employees, it is a bold, new initiative for the employment and advocacy of people with disabilities. To customers, it is a socially conscious way to support a wonderful organization and a worthwhile cause."

Disabled individuals are also finding employment through Hattie Larlham's Constant Companion programs in Cincinnati and Green, which recently opened two Doggie Day Care facilities. Over the next five years, the organization plans to add four more sites.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities and luncheon reservations, call 216-368-5367 or go online.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, September 9, 2008 02:10 PM | News Topics: Awards, Community Outreach, HeadlinesMain, news

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