Community is everything to us. We built the Van Aken District for all to gather, creating experiences that are inclusive to all and inviting to everyone.
We also strive to be a meaningful partner to those in our community and seek ways to give back. Here are some ways we’re proud to say we’ve partnered.
The Van Aken District has always endeavored to be a collection of local and regionally owned small businesses providing unique products and experiences with an equally intriguing story. Our tagline and driving force is, “For Originals. By Originals.” We are proud of the unique mix of products and service offerings as well as the diversity of vendors and business owners in the Van Aken District. The new Van Aken District Entrepreneurial Initiatives program is designed to enhance this mission by offering early-stage entrepreneurs – especially people of color, women, and all underrepresented entrepreneurs – the opportunity to showcase their ideas, products, and services within the Van Aken District community. Our goal is to lower market barriers and minimize risks associated with starting up or expanding a business. Through a holistic set of support services from other merchants, non-profits, and partners, including the City of Shaker Heights, we hope to grow these burgeoning entrepreneurs into the future restauranteurs and merchants in the Van Aken District and beyond.LEARN MORE
There are numerous African American women in history who have broken ceilings and opened doors for others in their line of work, some of them we know well and some are lesser known. SAMS presents seven women who made a significant impact and deserve to be noticed but may have made their impact without becoming a well known person of history. Many women helped to shape their fields and led the way for so many. The Leading From Behind art project includes seven talented high school students who have designed art pieces fashioned to appear as doors, these doors represent the doors that were opened by African American women in history but also represent how each of them have been kept behind doors and are not well known. Each door has a portrait of a featured woman in history, along with a short statement of what that individual did to drive change. The project will be on display at Van Aken District Market Hall for the month of February to help celebrate and reflect during Black History Month.LEARN MORE
NewONEShaker collaborates with school districts and other organizations to create relationships, systems, and structures to help ensure equitable opportunities for Shaker students and families, while intentionally closing the achievement gap and improving outcomes for children of color. The Van Aken District is proud to support such a bold vision and the work that's being done to bring that vision to life.LEARN MORE
Shaker Schools PTO pivoted during the pandemic to host a virtual celebration for MLK Day. The celebration spanned weeks and ended with a live and widely watched live DJ event hosted within the District's Market Hall.LEARN MORE
This summer, Shaker Height School's Student Group on Race Relations (SGORR) was looking for spaces to gather and have meaningful conversation about race issues in America. Using the park within the District allowed them a safe space during COVID to do just that.LEARN MORE
The District had the opportunity to host a Food Drive and Drop event in support of Christ Episcopal and their Unity in the Community Emergency Food program. The goal was to to help collect non perishable food items and support those in most need in our community. Each food bag they pack includes items like tuna fish, mac and cheese, red pasta sauce, (plastic jars only, please), pasta, canned protein like beef stew, and canned fruit. Have fun and do good!LEARN MORE
Throughout the warmer months, the District has partnered with Shaker African American Moms (SAMS) to sponsor their SAMS walks which are open to all community members. The mission of SAMS is to provide support to African American mothers and to enrich families through strengthening knowledge of resources and providing a sense of community and a feeling of fellowship with others.LEARN MORE