On September 7, 2023, almost 250 people gathered at the Mimi Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square, as AJC Cleveland presented its 2023 Richard H. Adler Community Leadership Award to Paul Dolan, Chairman & CEO of the Cleveland Guardians.

2023 Richard H. Adler Community Leadership Award Reception
Photo / Mariana Edelman Photography

This award, given annually since 1996, honors Mr. Adler’s legacy by recognizing a visionary leader for their professional accomplishments, service to the community, and commitment to building bridges of understanding.

Guardian of Our Community award by Judy Rawson. Photo / Mariana Edelman Photography
Guardian of Our Community award by Judy Rawson. Photo / Mariana Edelman Photography

“With quiet yet rock-solid determination, you show us what leadership looks like as you relentlessly work to ensure a strong Cleveland – now and for future generations,” said AJC Cleveland President Jill Zimon in her welcoming remarks about Paul Dolan.

AJC Adler, Nic Barlage, Paul Dolan, Mayor Justin Bibb, Jill Zimon, Jimmy Haslam
Nic Barlage, Paul Dolan, Mayor Justin Bibb, Jill Zimon, Jimmy Haslam. Photo / Mariana Edelman Photography

In accepting the award, Dolan spoke of the importance and legacy of his team’s name change, noting how it aligned with the work of AJC saying, “Hate is not merely parochial or partisan. It’s like a pandemic, it has to be stopped everywhere. AJC recognized that fact over a hundred years ago and has been battling hate wherever it arises. We at the Guardians are pleased to join that fight.”

The program featured the award’s first recipient, the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr, who offered an inspiring invocation; Cleveland Mayor Justin M. Bibb who spoke passionately about the city’s efforts to combat antisemitism and all forms of hatred; Tom Adler who talked about his father’s life and legacy; and August Napoli who eloquently presented the award to Dolan, who was described as the “Guardian of our Community.”

2023 Richard H. Adler Community Leadership Award Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. gives speech
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. Photo / Mariana Edelman Photography

Throughout the evening, AJC Cleveland focused on its efforts to combat rising antisemitism. Zimon introduced Kevin Clayton, Senior VP, Head of Social Impact and Equity for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Joanna Radov, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Impact for the Cleveland Charge, who spoke about their organization’s commitment to combating hatred and their partnership with AJC Cleveland. They spoke about AJC’s “Unpacking Antisemitism” training for their employees and how it further transcended well beyond the confines of their building. Zimon proudly shared that this initiative earned Cleveland AJC’s highest regional achievement award. She also announced that the Cleveland Guardians will soon participate in AJC’s training.

Paul Dolan listens to speeches honoring him.
Paul Dolan reacts during a speech in his honor. Photo / Mariana Edelman Photography
Paul Dolan and Tom Adler on the stage at event.
Paul Dolan and Tom Adler. Photo / Mariana Edelman Photography

For more photos from the event, please click here.

Cleveland Jewish News coverage of this event: Dolan receives AJC Cleveland Richard H. Adler Leadership Award

Please click here to read more about the U.S. National Plan to Counter Antisemitism and AJC’s effort to implement this initiative.

Please click here for AJC's Translate Hate glossary to identify, expose, and report antisemitism.


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