Many of Cleveland’s nonprofit organizations are “in freefall right now” because of COVID-19 and its subsequent devastating economic results, according to Ron Goldfarb, president, Goldfarb Weber Creative Media.
“I don’t know how many of them are going to survive,” says Goldfarb. “Some will have to combine with others. We have done a good job of ingratiating ourselves with the nonprofit community. We care about their projects. These are our friends, people we work with, socialize with. They represent the most vulnerable in our community, so we owe it them, others and ourselves to help.”
The Cleveland market is in a difficult position, says Goldfarb, adding that he believes the region must first rebound and rebuild economically before the nonprofits’ recovery can follow.
Goldfarb Weber Creative Media describes itself in several ways, including a video/film production company, digital content factory, art studio and communications strategist. It also could add faithful Cleveland promoter and a defender of the less fortunate. The company’s CEO, Tony Weber, has this quote by Pope Francis posted in his office: “The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty.”
“You really have to believe that, and it’s what I’d like our company to live by,” says Weber.
About half of the company’s clients are nonprofit organizations, including the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, NewBridge, Shoes & Clothes for Kids, Achievement Centers for Children and others. Those groups have a solid reputation for extending a helping hand. Goldfarb and Weber say they see firsthand the positive differences these organizations have made in the Cleveland community. But they are also concerned the nonprofits may not receive as many donations as normal during the current financial crisis.
“Only time will tell what will happen now with the economy and the pandemic. But, historically, Cleveland has been a very generous city, and the business community has always supported nonprofits, with the Cleveland Foundation leading the way,” says Goldfarb.
The two leaders of Goldfarb Weber Creative Media don’t just cheer from the sidelines — they get in the game. For example, the men support Destination Cleveland’s CLEAN COMMITTED initiative, an effort by businesses to provide a consistent approach to safety and cleanliness.
“CLEAN COMMITTED will help bring our restaurants, attractions and hotels back. We can be the cleanest and safest city in the country. Why not make that a focus to get people to come back and visit Cleveland? We will help Destination Cleveland get that message out,” says Weber, who recently became a Downtown Cleveland resident and notes that his company’s office has always been located there, with its historical roots going back to 1972.
Weber also is a board director of the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, an organization committed to “creating communities where all people are connected, respected and valued,” and whose national history dating back to 1927. Goldfarb is a board member of NewBridge, a community-based, art-infused, after-school and workforce training program.
In addition to reopening the city’s businesses in the cleanest and safest ways possible for locals and tourists, Weber says other priorities include continuing to reform the city’s police department and combat systemic racism in all forms. As part of a team of Cleveland leaders, Goldfarb Weber will help draft strategic plans and produce visual messaging.
“Things are changing rapidly in our business — every business for that matter — and our team of creative, passionate problem-solvers have come together in an amazing way to offer our clients real solutions for their visual communication challenges,” says Goldfarb.
“We had to rethink the way we put our productions together since the pandemic because the camera crew is not happening the way it was. There is no real safe way to follow what we had been doing or what companies and organizations had been doing. Virtual meetings are the way to go,” says Goldfarb.
The company has been creating “welcome back” videos for nonprofits and for-profits that help explain guidelines clients expect from their employees about social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing. But these are not just general rules. The videos can show specific requirements and on-site locations that make the message more personal and memorable.
Goldfarb Weber Creative Media also is creating inspirational video messaging to help its nonprofit clients “raise the funds that these nonprofits need to sustain themselves in the future,” according to Weber. As we all know, many traditional events, including kick-off celebrations and fundraising opportunities, were suspended this year because of COVID-19.
For example, the 26th annual Cleveland Heart & Stroke Ball was held June 11. But this year, the event, which focuses on the efforts of the American Heart Association to change health outcomes relating to heart disease and stroke, went virtual. Goldfarb Weber Creative Media helped make it possible.
“We worked with Goldfarb Weber for a number of months to create the story of a little girl who was born with a congenital heart defect,” says Peter Vertes, communications director for the American Heart Association. “I felt the end result was inspiring and was really the emotional centerpiece to the event. I also think people appreciated that they didn’t have to get dressed up and travel and that it was held in a virtual ballroom.”
It’s all about Goldfarb Weber Creative Media uplifting the nonprofit community.
And also following the leadership of former Cleveland Mayor Carl B. Stokes, the country’s first African American mayor of a large city, claims Weber. Stokes’ 1967 campaign slogan was, “I believe in Cleveland.”
“Stokes ended his inaugural address by saying, ‘Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.’ We have to realize that is what we all — nonprofits, the business community and others — must do now,” says Weber. “It won’t be easy. But let’s set the agenda and work hard.”