ESOP Celebrates 20th Anniversary Honoring Two Valued Community Partners


Third Federal Savings & Loan and

Center for Community Planning & Development at Cleveland State University to Receive  Awards at Luncheon October 16th.


CLEVELAND, OH – As Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People celebrates twenty years of helping people improve their lives and communities, our focus is on Building Partnerships for Economic Empowerment. We are excited to announce awards for two longtime partners that help us foster the economic empowerment of disenfranchised communities.


      The awards will be presented at ESOP’s 20th Anniversary Luncheon. 


Keynote Speaker: Senator Sherrod Brown

Date: Wednesday. October 16, 2013           

Time: 11:30 a.m.

Location: Ariel International Center, 1163 East 40th Street, Cleveland, OH 44121


     Earlier this year ESOP’s founder Inez Killingsworth passed away after a long battle with cancer.  She was an inspiring leader with a commitment to community and an example that everyday people can make an extraordinary and lasting impact.  In honor of her memory ESOP has established the Inez Tillman Killingsworth Community Leadership Award. 


     The inaugural recipient of the award will be Third Federal Savings & Loan.  Under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Marc Stefanski, Third Federal Savings & Loan has demonstrated a commitment to Ohio homeowners, offering fair products, investing in communities and maintaining its corporate headquarters in the Slavic Village neighborhood where it was founded since 1938. 


     Stefanski and his team have been friends and partners to ESOP throughout the years and had a special relationship with Inez.  In 2011 they established the Inez Killingsworth Scholarship for a deserving student at Cleveland Central Catholic High School.


 “Third Federal was founded 75 years ago on the principle of doing what is right for our customers and communities,” said Marc Stefanski, chairman and CEO of Third Federal Savings & Loan. “Our friend Inez Killingsworth shared that belief, so we are very honored to be the first recipient of this very special award. Inez’ positive impact will live on through ESOP, this award, and the academic scholarship that bears her name.”


     This year’s Above & Beyond award will be given to the Center for Community Planning and Development at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs for its commitment to researching and documenting the work being done to help stem the tide of foreclosures in Cuyahoga County.


     “We are honored to be recognized for our role as researchers in this important program,” said Kathryn W. Hexter, director of the Center for Community Planning and Development at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. “With all of the bad news about people losing their homes to foreclosure, it is easy to lose sight of the good work that is being done to help people stay in their homes. Our job has been to tell the story of how ESOP and the other organizations (Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland, Community Housing Solutions, Cleveland Housing Network, Home Repair Resource Center) involved in the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program have helped more than 4,500 homeowners. The centerpiece of this program is face-to-face foreclosure prevention counseling resulting in a loan modification, which has proven to be effective in keeping people in their homes. Housing stability benefits homeowners, neighborhoods, cities and the entire county.”  


     The Center for Community Planning and Development at CSU’s Levin College is dedicated to strengthening the practice of planning and community development through independent research, technical assistance and civic education and engagement. The Center works in partnership with public, private and nonprofit organizations, local governments and development and planning professionals.


     For 20 years Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (“ESOP”) has worked tirelessly to empower people to improve their lives and communities.  ESOP’s work over the last two decades to end predatory lending and abusive mortgage servicing and to prevent foreclosures has helped thousands of families across Ohio to stay in their homes and to stabilize neighborhoods. Today with the hiring of new Executive Director Roslyn Quarto, ESOP’s leadership is embracing a time of change, identifying emerging issues that continue to threaten the stability of our communities and collaborating with our partners to find solutions. 


     Join us Wednesday, October 16th for our 20th Anniversary Luncheon. The keynote speaker will be Senator Sherrod Brown.  We hope you can join us for this important conversation about how the non-profit, public and private sectors can join forces to help disenfranchised communities move forward from the foreclosure crisis.