Rev. Al Sharpton Calls For City Hall Transparency on Sherwin Williams Deal


Photo: Jake Underwood

CLEVELAND - On Tuesday, Rev. Al Sharpton and Dr. Charles Steele paid a visit to the city to ask for transparency from the Cleveland City Council and Mayor Justin Bibb on how the City of Cleveland and Sherwin Williams are using taxes in the construction of the new Sherwin Williams Headquarters. Back in May, Rev. Jesse Jackson met with local leaders about having more representation for black contractors in the building of the new Sherwin Williams Headquarters.

You can watch that below.

Sherwin Williams, while at the Urban League of Greater Cleveland on Monday, responded to claims made by some of the protesters.

On Tuesday, the company released a statement of its own during the protest.


For over two years, Sherwin-Williams has worked directly with a broad coalition of Cleveland political and community leaders to drive inclusion and equity for underrepresented groups on its Building Our Future project. This approach has led to a list of overwhelmingly positive results that continue to grow. Among the many steps we have taken, we have been engaged directly with Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and his administration, including City Council, partnered with the Urban League of Greater Cleveland and its President and CEO Marsha Mockabee, and collaborated with members of Cleveland’s clergy to ensure equitable opportunities for underserved communities. Our strong results to date include:

• awarded $122 million in contracts to diverse firms to date, with a commitment that is expected to exceed $180 million

• engaged 57 diverse firms on the project to date, with many more to come

• launched an innovative Construction Accelerator Program with the Urban League to support minority businesses in the construction trade

• advanced our HomeWork professional painter training program in collaboration with the Cleveland clergy

Unfortunately, some are using their personal agendas and animosities to drive a false narrative and cloud the positive impact the Building Our Future project is making on the Cleveland community now and for years to come.

“Sherwin-Williams has been meeting with Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb since he was elected. His support of our Company over that time has been and continues to be steadfast. While we received many attractive offers to relocate our new headquarters from several cities nationally, Mayor Bibb’s strong leadership and clear vision for Cleveland have only solidified our choice to stay and invest here. Working together with Mayor Bibb and his administration, we are focused on the right things, we are excited by what we have already accomplished, and we are confident that our continued partnership will achieve our shared goals of helping Cleveland, the region, and Sherwin-Williams thrive for decades to come,” said John G. Morikis, Sherwin Williams Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

On Monday, October 10, the Urban League of Cleveland hosted Sherwin-Williams to provide a joint update on the Building our Future project and the positive impact the project is having on the local community. Sherwin-Williams was honored to be joined by many local community leaders who continue to stand with us and trust our commitment to drive our shared visions of inclusion, equity and opportunity for all. Attendees included:

• Justin Bibb, Cleveland Mayor

• Blaine Griffin, Cleveland City Council President

• Marsha Mockabee, President and CEO Urban League of Cleveland

• Ron Todd, Minority Affairs Liaison to Office of the Ohio State Governor

• Pernel Jones, Cuyahoga County Council, District 8

• Shakorie Davis, Urban League CAP Program Facilitator

• Rev. Dr. Stephen Rowan, Cleveland Bethany Baptist Church

• Pastor Anthony L. Small, Sr., Cleveland Starlight Missionary Baptist Church

• Pastor Jimmy L. Gates, Sr., Cleveland Zion Hill Baptist Church


• Our decision to invest in building our new global headquarters in Cleveland reflects our commitment to the community and our recognition of the significant economic impact Sherwin-Williams has in the community, which far exceeds the economic development packages we received to stay.

• We are proud that we have already awarded contracts totaling $122 million against a total commitment of $180 million to Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Female Business Enterprises (FBE) and Cleveland Small Businesses (CSB). We remain committed to helping uplift the entire Greater Cleveland community, including delivering on the supplier inclusion and diversity commitments asked of us by the state, county and city in our economic development packages.

• Additionally, our process has resulted in more than 57 minority-owned, female-owned and small business firms being added to our project, and we expect this list to expand. (You can view the most updated list of firms here.)

• Five of these firms serve in the critical minority construction management (MCM) role for the project. These firms are setting direction, overseeing operations, augmenting staff and making decisions that significantly impact the project's budget, schedule and quality. The firms are based in Northeast Ohio and are either minority-owned or female-owned.

• As further proof of our commitment, The Sherwin-Williams Foundation has partnered with The Urban League of Greater Cleveland (ULGC) to develop and launch an innovative new Construction Accelerator Program (CAP) with the goal of driving long-term growth and success for Northeast Ohio minority-owned businesses.

• Sherwin-Williams is also partnering with members of Cleveland's interdenominational clergy to offer the Company’s HomeWork training program at multiple underserved areas throughout the Cleveland area. The HomeWork Program trains individuals with no previous experience to begin careers as professional painters. HomeWork was created with the goal of providing employment opportunities to residents of public housing, former offenders and the homeless. Nearly 70% of HomeWork graduates secure employment as professional painters.

Diverse Supplier Commitments and Progress through September 2022

We are proud that we have already awarded contracts totaling $122 million against a total commitment of $180 million to Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Female Business Enterprises (FBE) and Cleveland Small Businesses (CSB).

This is an on-going story; we will have updates as updates become available.

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