A Letter from our President

David T. Dombrowiak, CEO of Community West Foundation

We are excited to present our 2016 Annual Report ‘The Ache for Home Lives in All of Us’ containing our stories of success and impact over the past year.


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

“The ache for home lives in all of us,” said poet Maya Angelou. The word “home” gathers a wide range of feelings and emotions: the image of a house where you are safe, a country where you were born, a city that you love. The quote captures the universal importance of having a place to call home. Our city’s homeless men, women, children, and veterans have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Some are homeless because of inner anguish, while others are homeless because they have been driven from their home or country. The majority are homeless because of circumstances beyond their control.

In our work we experience the plight of homeless men, women, and children, who have no sense of belonging, or a place to feel safe, cared for, protected and loved. Our work reflects the compassion we have for the most vulnerable, and we feel His Divine presence within our homeless, hungry, disabled and refugee neighbors.

My fondest memories of the past year are of so many people using their helping hands and hearts to assist our homeless neighbors through our SocksPLUS program. It’s a privilege to partner with such wonderful friends that collaborated, contributed and collected to help those without a home in emergency circumstances. I am particularly proud of their great efforts to treat those in need with the respect and the dignity they deserve.

We celebrated record attendance at our annual meeting and were joined by many of our partner agencies, donors and friends. Our three guest speakers, Darren Hamm, former Executive Director at Refugee Response, Tom Mrosko, Director, Catholic Charities Office of Migration and Refugee Services, and Brian Upton, Executive Director of Building Hope in the City, are all very committed to making Cleveland a place of welcome for our refugees. Our community is blessed by the work of these wonderful partners who help to lift the spirits and the lay the foundation for a new life for our refugees who have been uprooted by conflict and conquest, traveling far from their homes and familiar things.

Let us never forget that home is life. Serving the ‘least of these’ gives me hope and encouragement as I see transformation in the lives of those we serve and support. Our work allows us to gain a new perspective on the struggle of others, and at the same time our efforts have brought new hope to people in need. It is hope that propels us into our community to make a difference and to open our eyes and our hearts to those too often forgotten. Poet Maya Angelou’s words speak to our common humanity as we work with our refugee and homeless neighbors to provide the shelter of safe havens and rest.

In sincere appreciation,

David T. Dombrowiak