About Army of Believers


Honorary Co-Chairs

Former U.S. Congressman Louis Stokes

Dr. Jeanette Grasselli Brown












Leading an ‘Army of Believers’ on the Path to Premier

History of the AOB Scholarship


When school, community and business leaders gather for the third annual Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Army of Believers Scholarship Luncheon on August 5, 2009, they will do more than honor the ‘Five-Star Generals” among their growing list of donors.   Not only will they celebrate the success of the scholarship event, but also the role they play in inspiring a growing number of CMSD students to graduate and transition to college.

In 2006, when CEO Dr. Eugene T.W. Sanders took the helm of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, he envisioned a premier school district--one where students wore uniforms and attended schools based on their needs and their interests rather than on their neighborhoods.  He envisioned boarding schools for both bright and at-risk students. To accomplish this, he reached out to staff and community with a call for them to join him on a journey “from vision to victory.”

What began as widespread applause from educators, civic leaders, corporate heads, business owners, and citizens who welcomed the CEO’s “renaissance” in public education, has evolved into an Army of Believers. A growing list of financial supporters whose faith and confidence in the CEO’s vision has made possible what otherwise might not have been attainable for many Cleveland students.

The Army of Believers Scholarship, formed in 2007, plays a significant role in both increasing and improving educational opportunities and choices for CMSD students.  In two years, more than $422,000 has been raised for scholarships to help seniors make the transition from high school to college and, once there, to help with college expenses.

The annual Army of Believers Scholarship Luncheon not only raises money for students, but also provides an opportunity for CMSD to recognize some of its influential supporters. Recognized at the event are the Five Star Generals who have provided outstanding support, making significant difference in the lives of CMSD students.

Nine distinguished individuals were recognized as Five Star Generals at the 2008 Army of Believers Scholarship Luncheon:  David Abbott, Executive Director of the George Gund Foundation; Leon D. Bibb, veteran journalist and broadcaster for WEWS-TV;  Gregory S. Boyd, Founder and President of Results Engineering;  Daniel Gilbert, Chairman and Founder of Quicken Loans and Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers;  Robert W. Gillespie, Chairman Emeritus and former CEO of KeyCorp;  Kenneth Lanci, President of Consolidated Graphics Group, Inc.;  Daniel R. McCarthy, Founding Senior Principal of McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., L.P.A.; Michael B. Petras, Jr., President & CEO of GE Lighting & Industrial Division; C. J. Prentiss, former State Senator and currently Special Representative to Governor Ted Strickland’s initiative for increasing graduation rates in Ohio;  Robert H. Rawson, Jr., partner in the Jones Day law firm and Chairman of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education; and Ronn B. Richard, President & CEO of the Cleveland Foundation.

Five Star Generals selected for recognition at the first Army of Believers Scholarship Luncheon in 2007 were:  Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson; U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Ann Hemann, Carolyn Brown of the Cavs Better Halves, Braylon Edwards, wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, Hugh McKay,  Senior Partner in the Porter Wright Morris and Arthur law firm, Stephen C. Morris, founder of the Cleveland Schools Book Fund, Andrew Rayburn, founder of The Human Fund and Mark A. Stefanski, Chairman and CEO of Third Federal Savings and Loan.