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.


The 2 1/2 Minute Video

Equity in Education

Our latest video - was released at this year's Breakthrough BASH! Check out our scholars and the importance a high quality education has in creating positive change.

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!



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

Dave Loomis

Ed Bell

Jill Arena
Vice Chair

John LeMay
Vice Chair

Karen Long Cascio
Vice Chair

Charlie Lougheed
Vice Chair

Megan Mayhugh
Vice Chair

Lauren Miller
Vice Chair

Larry Orwin
Vice Chair

Mary Herzak
At Large

Jeff Ahola

Suresh Bafna

Andrew Bennett

Rudy Bentlage

Matt Brewer

James Carulas

Susan Chiancone

Jamie Cole

Timothy Coughlin

Jeffrey Cristal

Michael Cristal

Tyler Dalton

Cosmoronde Danielly

Erin de la Mare

Mike de Windt

Chris DiTullio

Bill Fisher

Traci Forrester

Free Foutz

Martin Gates

Wes Gillespie

John Grabner

Jim Huber

Matthew Jones

Celeste Kamasa Scott

Jim Kavalec

John King

William Koehler

Jim LeMay

Cecil Lipscomb

David Lowman

Michael Maroon

Dan Mascaro

Lauren Miller

Brock Milstein

Laura Mimura

Linda Olejko

Craig Panzica

Jolyn Parker

Mario Pena

Michelle Perez

Peter Rome

Patti Schaar

Rita Sehgal

Seku Shabazz

Bob Sims

Diane Singer

BJ Solaru

George von Zedlitz

Sanjay Vyas

William Welsh


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

Contact Us

Friends of Breakthrough Office

Phone: (216) 539-9349
3615 Superior Avenue
Building 44, Suite 4403D
Cleveland OH 44114

Our Staff

John Zitzner, President
(216) 373-7801

Susan Ertle, Executive Director
(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, Advancement Coordinator
(216) 373-7411

Lisa Whitesell, Grants Administrator