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The Morgan Conservatory Board of Directors Appoints New Executive Director

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

Geri Eileen Unger will become the next executive director of The Morgan Conservatory.


Cleveland, OH - August 5, 2019 - Geri Eileen Unger will succeed Leonard Young, interim executive director, as executive director of the country’s largest arts center dedicated to papermaking and book arts.


Geri served as Executive Director of the Society for Conservation Biology prior to moving home to Cleveland. She has worked in the nonprofit sector as a foundation program officer and in programming in education and sustainability for many years. Her passion for mentoring, education, and connecting the arts and science to the development of a vibrant urban environment with outreach nationally and internationally have guided her to this new opportunity at the Morgan Conservatory.


"The Morgan is a vibrant, essential organization for the arts and sustainability that is an anchor institution for the community. I am excited to be home and to lead the Morgan in its next stages of outreach and development,” Unger says.


Geri emerged as an interesting and strong candidate early on in the board of director’s search process. Her background in nonprofit management and leadership impressed the committee, along with her accomplishments in programming with a focus on the environment, community and conservation. “Geri is an experienced executive director with a passion for the arts and a strong desire to lead the Morgan in our next stages of growth,” says board president, Maggie Denk-Leigh.


Geri’s background includes establishing the Bloomfield Science Center in Jerusalem, Israel following earning her Master of Science degree at the Hebrew University. Other highlights of her nonprofit career include Program Officer for Environmental Quality at the George Gund Foundation, consultant to the The New Israel Fund, the Heinz Endowments, and the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Director of Education and Research at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.


At the Garden, Geri raised millions of dollars to start a Vacant to Vibrant program in Cleveland and the Great Lakes Basin, as well as urban farming initiatives. An artist at heart, she has two adult children, and is excited about the growth that the Morgan will provide in the paper arts, written word, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics education), and the broader urban resilience communities.        


“We’re looking forward to the big energy that Geri is bringing to the Morgan and saying goodbye to a colleague who is now a good friend and has done an incredible job leading the organization for the past two years. Leonard has worked diligently to move the organization forward and prepare us for this transition,” says Tom Balbo, founder and artistic director.


Interim Executive Director Leonard Young will retire from his position effective August 9, 2019. He was named executive director in September 2017 and, under his leadership, the Morgan Conservatory made many significant strides forward.


“As the Interim Executive Director of the Morgan Conservatory for the past two years, it has been deeply gratifying to have had the opportunity to work with a dedicated staff and board to lay the groundwork and vision for the future of the Morgan. I believe Geri Unger will help drive that vision for one of Cleveland’s artistic cultural gems and a staple in the MidTown community. The future looks very bright!” Young says.



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