Accepting Nominations: Charles Eisenman Award

Tags: Leadership

  • Share This Story


The Charles Eisenman Award, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s highest civic honor, was first awarded in 1924 by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland to recognize individuals or organizations for exceptional civic contributions. It was established in 1923 in memory of Charles Eisenman, the first president of the Federation (founded November 13, 1903, as the Federation of Jewish Charities). Mr. Eisenman served as president until his death in March 1923.

Charles Eisenman was born in 1865 in New York and moved to Cleveland as a young man, where he became a successful clothing manufacturer. A product of the Progressive Era, he brought to his business endeavors the belief in the oneness of business and social action, according to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. He retired in 1906 to devote his energies to philanthropy. He was also an organizer and active member of the Cleveland Community Fund Council until his death.


The recipient can be a person or not-for-profit organization that demonstrates outstanding contributions to the community. The following factors may be considered:

  • Impact on the quality of life for residents of Greater Cleveland
  • Scope and strength of service to the community
  • Impact on the community
  • Extent of ingenuity and creativity
  • Depth of commitment
  • Person or program not previously recognized for this service
  • Impact on the work of non-profit social service and educational organizations
  • Effectiveness in creating coalitions and/or inspiring others to action
  • Level of volunteer and/or philanthropic commitment

In its early years, the award was given “… annually to any Cleveland person or persons who, in the judgment of the award committee, shall have, during the previous year, projected or achieved some piece of work of significant value or merit to the city’s civic or philanthropic development; or shall present a noteworthy suggestion or plan of constructive value for the social or civic betterment of Cleveland.” More broadly, though, it has come to recognize an individual’s or group’s overall and ongoing impact and contributions, as opposed to a single contribution.

Generally only one individual or organization receives the award each year, but it can be awarded to couples (4 times since 1923), families (twice) or multiple recipients (8 double-awards plus one triple-recipient year). To mark the Federation’s Centennial Anniversary, the 2003 award was given to the 17 founding or current beneficiary agencies of the Federation.

It has been awarded relatively equally to Jewish and general community recipients.


The recipient is honored at an invitation-only dinner (for Federation officers, life trustees and executive committee) preceding the Federation’s annual meeting. The award presented at the annual meeting includes:

  • A hand-calligraphied, framed plaque with the citation written by the Federation and tailored to each recipient.
  • A $1,000 grant from the Federation to a charitable cause of the recipient’s choosing.
  • Name added to recognition display at the Federation.

To submit a nomination, please complete the application by December 22, 2015. If you have questions, please contact Federation Vice President, Mandel Leadership Excellence Center, Tami Caplan at 216-593-2864 or by e-mail at tcaplan@jcfcleve.org.

For a list of past recipients, click here.

Learn More: Leadership