Welcome, Friends!

Friends of Breakthrough Schools is a non-profit development and advocacy organization. Friends of Breakthrough is responsible for closing the gap in public funding needed to provide quality education to thousands of children in Cleveland each year, as well as working with community, business, and political leaders to build city-wide support for high-quality public school options for all children in Cleveland.


Get to Know Breakthrough

A Choice-Filled Life

Our latest video - was released at this year's Breakthrough BASH! Follow Josh back in time as he explores his time at Breakthrough Public Schools and reflects on the lessons that stuck with him into adulthood.

Join for Updates

Emerging Leaders

Are you a young professional looking to make an impact on Cleveland? 

Click here to learn about the Friends of Breakthrough Schools Emerging Leaders group leading the charge.  Get involved today!


THANK YOU TO OUR 2023-2024

Our students receive a high-quality education and thrive with the ongoing commitment and yearlong support of our community partners!


Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow

Please enjoy this story of Parice as she goes from dreaming about launching rockets to actually doing it!

Belief, Passion, Courage, Commitment

Breakthrough students are up for any challenge! And, our educators provide the guidance and support needed to be successful in life.

Meet Our Alumni

Follow four class of 2017 students, 6th grade through college, in these short vignettes. 

Realizing Dreams

Dreams are being realized. Listen to the journey of Celeste, a Breakthrough alum, college graduate, and active Cleveland citizen!

Alumni Encouragement

Our Alumni are such a big help in motivating and encouraging our scholars!


Semper Virens Legacy Society

The Semper Virens Legacy Society was established to recognize individuals who have made a long-term commitment to Breakthrough Schools and was created in concert with the recent formation of the Friends of Breakthrough Schools Legacy Fund of the Cleveland Foundation.

If you would like to learn more about legacy giving, which helps to ensure long-term financial stability through the preservation and investment of dollars for future benefit, click here or reach out to Susan Ertle.

Friends Board of Directors

Jeff Berlin - Chair | Dave Loomis - Secretary | Ed Bell - Treasurer | John LeMay - Vice Chair

Elle Carolan - Vice Chair | Karen Long Cascio - Vice Chair | Tim Coughlin - Vice Chair | Megan Mayhugh - Vice Chair

Lauren Miller - Vice Chair | Larry Orwin - Vice Chair | Mary Herzak - At Large

Jill Arena | Andrew Bennett | Rudolf Bentlage | Matt Brewer | Molly Brown | James Carulas | Susan Chiancone

David Cook | Jeffrey Cristal | Michael Cristal |  Cosmoronde Danielly |  Mike de Windt | Bill Fisher

Traci Forrester | Free Foutz | Wes Gillespie | Jim Huber | Celeste Kamasa Scott | Jim Kavalec | John King | William Koehler | Jim LeMay

Cecil Lipscomb | Charlie Lougheed | Dan Mascaro | Laura Mimura | Craig Panzica | Jolyn Parker | Mario Pena

Peter Rome | Patti Schaar | Bryan Schauer | Seku Shabazz | Bob Sims | BJ Solaru | Sanjay Vyas


Jeanette Grasselli Brown | David Gunning | Walter Kalberer | Michael Merriman | Bridget Moreno | John Sinnenberg

Contact Us

Friends of Breakthrough Office

Phone: (216) 539-9349

3615 Superior Avenue
Building 44, Suite 4403D
Cleveland OH 44114

Friends of Breakthrough Team

Susan Ertle, President
(216) 373-7803

Timothy Mann, Senior Advancement Officer
(216) 373-2604

Karen Solomon, Senior Director of Annual Fund
(216) 373-2795

Kelly Berg, Senior Director of Engagement
(216) 373-2818

Colleen O'Brien, Director of Grants and Foundation Relations
(216) 373-2688

Melodee McCrodden, Director of Annual Fund Operations and Stewardship
(216) 373-8760

Kelly Clifford, Director of Board and Office Operations
(216) 373-7411

Lisa Whitesell, Grants Administrator

Alumni Success Team

Brittany Hurd, Chief Alumni Success Officer
(216) 403-6029

Jillian Keller, Sr. Director of Postsecondary Success
(216) 618-2224

Nate Bartley, Director of Data & Salesforce Admin

Brianna Stephens, High School Programs Manager
(216) 410-1032

Jasmine Hawkins, High School Programs Manager
(216) 618-2273

Jayda Wimbley, Alumni Success Coordinator
(216) 881-1689 x283