Engaged Citizens. Innovative Ideas.

FutureHeights History

With a small staff, a dedicated board, and a groundswell of citizen volunteer and student intern activity, FutureHeights is a small but mighty organization providing exceptional value to the community.


Concerned citizens host a public forum to discuss Giant Eagle’s plans to build a 50,000 square foot grocery store in the Cedar-Fairmount neighborhood. The meeting, attended by over 350 people, became a catalyst for FutureHeights. Volunteers published a quarterly citizen planning newsletter, hosted neighborhood design charettes, and promoted the importance of engaging citizens in planning their neighborhoods to strengthen community.


Seeking to broaden its ability to work in all neighborhoods and to create something with lasting impact, the FutureHeights volunteers vote to incorporate as a nonprofit community-based organization. Seed funding from the Raymond John Wean Foundation and the Cleveland Foundation allowed the hiring of founding director Julie Langan, who spearheaded the creation of core programs of citizen support of the local economy and our historic commercial districts, promotion of historic preservation and sustainability principles, and citizen engagement in building a better community.

2007 – 2008

Strategic plan 2007-2010 is completed and FutureHeights embarks on a mission to promote civic engagement and innovative ideas. Deanna Bremer Fisher becomes executive director and begins the Heights Observer hyper-local community newspaper, a citizen volunteer media project, providing access to information for the citizens of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, Ohio.

2009 – 2012

FutureHeights continues to expand the Heights Observer, developing partnerships with community groups and providing training for new volunteer writers and editors. FutureHeights also renews its focus on building community through hosting speakers, community forums, neighborhood tours and special events to help build community capacity and boost grassroots efforts to improve the quality of life in the Heights.

Today FutureHeights remains committed to creating opportunities for citizen participation and dialogue, educating people about the value of meaningful community involvement in planning for their community’s future, fostering strong partnerships among residents and civic groups, and promoting Cleveland Heights and University Heights as charming, interesting, and neighborly places to live.

Awards and Recognition

  • Cedar-Fairmount Merchant’s Association Certificate of Appreciation
  • City of Cleveland Heights Community Improvement Award
  • Heritage Ohio and Downtown, Ohio Inc “Best Website” Award of Merit
  • Heights Community Congress Community Vision Award