Want to turn your passion into hope for the A-T community? Just ask Dennis Sutcliffe! This retired executive turned local historian and master storyteller has been rekindling forgotten Cleveland memories to raise funds for the A-T Children’s Project (A-TCP) in honor of his two grandchildren with A-T since 2013.
To date, Dennis’ Lost Cleveland Memories® program has raised over $35,000 for the A-TCP from more than 300 presentations at public libraries, senior centers, community centers and historical societies in Ohio. Dennis offers 12 different programs with topics ranging from the mob, to sports, to rock & roll – all topics native Clevelanders enjoy.
Dennis got his start in 2010 as a volunteer with the Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society where he gave over 120 presentations to local seniors about Cleveland history. By 2013, Dennis had already built up a local following. So, when the historical society moved away from community outreach, Lost Cleveland Memories® was born with all proceeds going to the A-TCP!
Dennis spent the first few years of the program developing the content and building a brand. He advertised through annual mass mailings to senior center and libraries, but also relies on word-of-mouth referrals. He started off doing four presentations in 2013, which quickly grew to 14 in 2014 and 39 in 2015. Since then, Lost Cleveland Memories® has grown more and more each year. In 2019, Dennis did a record 73 presentations! Just think of all the audience members who now know about A-T because of Dennis’ efforts – what an incredible way to spread awareness.
By early March of 2020, he already had 55 programs on the books and was well on his way to exceeding his 2019 total. Like so many of us, Dennis has since pivoted to Zoom for his presentations, but is hoping to return to live programs before the year ends when it is safe again.
Booking Dennis is simple – get in touch with him and make a donation of at least $100 to the A-T Children’s Project. Importantly, thanks to Zoom, he is no longer restricted to the Cleveland area and would be happy to do a program for anyone from anywhere!
Inspired by Dennis’ story? He has some advice for you – “If you have a hobby or an interest that can be monetized – go for it! And don’t be discouraged if things start slowly. It takes time for initiatives to grow legs.”
We are hopeful that someday soon Dennis will be telling the story of how we found a cure for A-T!
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you use your passion to raise funds for the A-T Children’s Project!