CLEVELAND: NOW! - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
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 SHOOTOUT 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.
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