Role Will Focus on Developing Strategic Plan and Advancing Collaborations

Today, JumpStart Inc. announced it has hired Kenneth Clarke as Project Manager for Blockland Cleveland — a community effort to establish a blockchain ecosystem in Northeast Ohio and put the region at the forefront of blockchain thought leadership.

Clarke is an experienced brand-builder, marketer, fundraiser and leader with deep ties to Northeast Ohio. In this new role, he will help develop a strategic plan for Blockland, manage the day-to-day activities and priorities of all partners and collaborators, build relationships with new potential partners and serve as the liaison between Blockland and the Toronto-based Blockchain Research Institute.

“My 5th great grandfather, Simeon Prior, a soldier of the American Revolution, settled in Northeast Ohio in 1802 when Cleveland was but a few log cabins, and my family has lived here ever since.” said Clarke. “It is my great honor to be a part of Blockland so I can help build a better Northeast Ohio, as my ancestors have done over the past 196 years.”

“Blockland is an exciting initiative for Northeast Ohio because it is a true grassroots community effort,” added JumpStart CEO Ray Leach, who also co-chairs one of Blockland’s eleven governing nodes. “As Project Manager, Kenneth will be able to help organize and leverage the tremendous amount of energy and expertise at the table.”

Prior to joining Blockland Cleveland, Clarke spent more than two decades in executive leadership positions at some of the Midwest’s leading nonprofit, educational and cultural organizations. He is the immediate-past President & CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago and served as Associate Vice President for Development and Marketing at Safer Foundation, Executive Director of The Poetry Center at the School of the Art Institute, Director of Development (Midwest Region) for The Ohio State University and Development Officer at the Ohio Historical Society.

Clarke’s hiring comes on the heels of a first-of-its-kind partnership with Toronto-based Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), which saw JumpStart join BRI on behalf of Northeast Ohio. This agreement allows Blockland to provide Greater Cleveland entrepreneurs and existing businesses valued under $1 billion with free access to the institute’s significant library of blockchain research.

Meanwhile, the first Blockland Solutions Conference will take place at the Huntington Convention Center of Clevelandfrom Dec. 1-4, 2018. Destination Cleveland will serve as the primary manager of the Solutions Conference given its team’s expertise in the meeting and conventions industry and its role as the region’s destination marketing and management organization. The convention and visitors bureau staff will provide in-kind support including conference management, marketing and communications, and operations and administration.

“Destination Cleveland is honored to be an integral contributor to the Blockland initiative and Solutions Conference,” said David Gilbert, President and CEO of Destination Cleveland. “Both the Blockland effort and the conference are unprecedented for Cleveland, and there is risk associated with trying something different. We will apply our expertise to making the event the best it can be and learn from the experience so that future endeavors can be even better.”

About Blockland
Cleveland is building a blockchain technology ecosystem called Blockland. This unprecedented, community-wide movement puts Cleveland at the forefront of blockchain thought leadership as developers, business leaders, government representatives, entrepreneurs, philanthropic organizations and universities collaborate to explore and accelerate the adoption and growth of this disruptive technology. Visit www.blocklandcleveland.com for more information.

About JumpStart Inc.
JumpStart unlocks the full potential of diverse and ambitious entrepreneurs to economically transform entire communities. For more information,  follow @JumpStartInc on Twitter.

About Destination Cleveland 
Destination Cleveland is Cleveland’s destination marketing and management organization. This private, non-profit organization’s mission is to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality for Greater Cleveland through leisure and business travel. Cleveland welcomes 18 million visitors annually. For more information, visit www.thisiscleveland.com.