ThirdSpace Action Lab was created to disrupt the vicious cycle of disinvestment and displacement that negatively impacts the vitality of low-income communities of color. We are a grassroots research, strategy & design cooperative, dedicated to prototyping creative place-based solutions to complex socioeconomic problems. We are institutional and community organizers, turning multidisciplinary research into evidence-based strategies; and activating “third places” to co-creating more liberated spaces for people of color.
We believe that the future of Cleveland’s neighborhoods depends on our collective efforts to transcend the limitations of the popular imagination and consider what will be possible if we insist on the beauty of forgotten places, the value of the people who live there, and seize the opportunity to realize our shared vision for an equitable and inclusive society. We are committed to making this vision a reality.
We believe that racial equity and inclusion are central, non-negotiable components of a viable growth strategy. We believe that human-centered design framework applied in communities of color should be inspired by all residents—especially, those who called this place home before its revitalization. Above all, we believe in the sanctity of humanity—that all humans have intrinsic value, deserve beauty, and need more than their basic needs satisfied.
Evelyn Burnett is a co-founder and partner of the ThirdSpace Action Lab and Third Space Café. Prior to this exciting venture, Evelyn served as Vice President, Economic Opportunity at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress an intermediary whose mission is to foster communities of choice and opportunity throughout Cleveland. Prior to joining CNP, Evelyn served as Associate Director for Program Strategies with Admiral Center at Living Cities, project director in the city of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability, and as a 2007-2008 Cleveland Executive (Coro) Fellow. Evelyn is a 2018 German Marshall Fellow and sits on the board of several organizations throughout Northeast Ohio and nationally including ioby (In Our Back Yards), Credit Builders Alliance, Teach for America, Birthing Beautiful Communities, Dance Cleveland, Walsh University School of Business and CTMDreams. Evelyn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Organizational Communications & Public Relations with a double minor in Sales & Marketing and Dance from The University of Akron during which time she studied abroad in Ghana, Africa; and a master’s degree in Public Administration from The University of Akron.
Mordecai Cargill is a co-founder and partner of the ThirdSpace Action Lab and Third Space Café. Prior to starting this exciting venture, Mordecai served as the Director of Strategy, Research & Impact at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP), a community development funding intermediary committed to fostering inclusive neighborhoods of choice and opportunity throughout the city of Cleveland. Mordecai provides oversight and analysis for the implementation of the Cleveland Neighborhood Progress 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, focused primarily on 3 key areas of activity: Program Design and Evaluation; Research and Thought Leadership; and Partnership and Resource Development. Since joining Team CNP in 2014 as Manager of Fund Development, Mordecai’s responsibilities have included project management for strategic initiatives such as an Organizational Assessment (2014), and the planning process for the 2017-2021 Cleveland Neighborhood Progress Strategic Plan (2016). He also contributes to CNP’s emerging Policy, Advocacy & Research body of work, and co-leads the organization’s efforts to elevate racial equity and inclusion as a citywide community development priority. Mordecai earned his BA in African American Studies from Yale University, with a concentration on Black Culture in the 20th Century. He was awarded the William Pickens Prize for his Senior Thesis entitled, “The Black Arts Iconography of John Coltrane.”