Exit Interviews: Parting Words from Two Fund Colleagues

by | Jul 27, 2021

This month, our Fund said goodbye to two members of our team who are moving on to exciting new opportunities. Dominic Mathew led the launch and implementation of The Paradox Prize as the Fund’s Urban and Regional Planner for Mobility Innovations, and Cari Morales was serving in a two-year fellowship with the Cuyahoga County Department of Economic Development, a position funded by the Cleveland Foundation and housed at the Fund.

While we are sad Northeast Ohio is losing these talented leaders, we are excited for Dominic and Cari to be taking on new challenges and contributing their expertise to vital equity initiatives that will have broad national and international impacts. Indeed, the Fund has long served as a breeding ground for future leaders. Before they left, Dominic and Cari shared some key lessons and parting words.


What did you learn while you were at the Fund?

That this work is very multi-faceted. There is work that we do that leads to short-term impact, but most of the Fund’s work focuses on impact over a long period of time (5-10 years or more). I was floored by the thought that went into the ideation, creation and execution of initiatives with this time frame in mind.

Where are you going, and what will you be doing in your new role?

I’ll be working for the Commission on the Future of Mobility, a global coalition of business, technology and policy leaders focused on creating opportunities through the sustainable, equitable movement of people and goods around the world. My role will focus on research and advocacy in Asia to accelerate policies and priorities around sustainable and inclusive mobility.

Will you continue your car-free lifestyle when you relocate?

I certainly plan to!

What are your hopes for Northeast Ohio’s future?

I hope to see increased collaboration between workforce development and transportation organizations, and employers moving from asking workers “Can you get to work on time?” to “What transportation benefits can we provide to help you access work?”


What did you learn while you were at the Fund?

The power of collaboration. The Fund does that well. The organization really prides itself in bringing talented people to the table and making sure everyone is involved.

Where are you going and what will you be doing in your new role?

I’m going to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a nonprofit community development financial institution. I used to work for the Indianapolis office before I went back to school for my master’s, did the National Urban Fellows program at the Cleveland Foundation and then came to the Fund. LISC has about 35 offices across the country. It’s where I fell in love with community development. I will be working on the national creative placemaking team to provide technical assistance to local offices, helping them think strategically to incorporate arts and culture into the work that we do. I’m really looking forward to being back home in Indianapolis.

Having spent time in both places, what’s one thing Cleveland could learn from Indianapolis?

How they approach the partnership of the government, nonprofit and private sectors. I believe Indianapolis has a wider network of cross-sector partnerships and knows how to do it very well. In my short time in the department of development, I’ve seen a lot of potential for more partnerships with the abundance of philanthropic organizations here in Cleveland.

Best wishes to both Dominic and Cari!