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Our Story

Our Roots: Hope is Where Home is

Smart Development is a 501c3 nonprofit providing a continuum of services to Northeast Ohio's newcomer, refugee, immigrant, and ethnic-minority community. Formally founded in 2018, Smart Development has earned the trust of the immigrant, refugee, newcomer, and international community at-large due to our ability to provide immediate support through a culturally and linguistically competent lens, meeting clients where they are and helping them lead toward stability and self-sufficiency. We focus on key milestones along the unique pathways of those we serve that build on one another and contribute to long-term success tailored to their needs.

Our services focus on the diverse areas in ones pathway toward stability and security that encompass basic needs, housing counseling, workforce navigation, comprehensive case management, civic engagement, adult education, resource navigation, and more.

We are also committed since inception to supporting activities that promote civic involvement, encourage self-advocacy, and help build collective power within new American communities.  It is through this lens of civic empowerment and participation in Democracy that we seek to promote more welcoming policies across Ohio.


Smart Development was founded by immigrants as well as continues today to be comprised of refugees, immigrants, and diverse members of the Greater Cleveland community from its board, staff, and volunteers. Serving the community to which we come from is a pillar for Smart Development, as it provides direct ability to understand our clients in a way they have been seeking. Through the lived experiences of the staff of Smart Development, we can understand not only those who come to us for direct support, but the broader community in their migration stories and cultural histories as we too have had the same and similar lived experiences. When communities struggle, we focus on not only short-term but long-term recovery for more diverse, equitable communities we call home.


Smart Development not only provides post resettlement support for as long as families need, we support existing community members and all who are in need the opportunity and support to grow roots and become  self-sufficient with access to the same opportunities as their neighbors through our advocacy efforts and direct service to create a community that allows them to thrive. Through community partnerships, volunteers, referrals, shared experience, common language, and cultural affinity that we've built inside our organization, we empower those we serve as they build trust and personal relationships that help along their growth journey.

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