Executive Director, Cleveland Bell III
Cleveland Bell III, a Miami resident for over 40 years, serves as Executive Director for Riverside House, a non-profit faith based organization. Once a jailed criminal himself, the story of Cleve’s turnaround is an inspiration to many prisoners and community organizations today. He is an admired figure known for his community activism as a program development assistant and is nationally recognized as a leader and expert on ex-offender community reentry programs.
Cleve’s career with community organization and program development assistance began in 1977 when he was released from jail and began to work with Denver Smoot at Turning Point, a substance abuse program in Miami, Florida. During Cleve’s time as the program director he organized and facilitated the Liberty City Coffee House, led a drug/alcohol recovery group, partnered with Baptist Ministerial Association, and conducted a weekly bibly study at Range Funeral Home.
Cleve received an Associate of Arts degree from Miami Dade Community College in 1975 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts and music from Florida International University in 1977. During college and thereafter, Cleve was determined to make an impact in the church community, which included his involvement in the charismatic movement of the 1970′s at Good Shepard Lutheran Church. He worked with such prominent figures as Bill Meadows, Charles Babcock, and Ray Goode, to guide the committee that organized and coordinated the signature annual Thanksgiving Prayer Breakfast.
As a community program organizer, Cleve has worked with such notable community influencers such as former Miami-Dade County Mayor, Alex Penelas, former Homeless Trust Executive Director, Sergio Gonzalez, and former Homeless Trust Board Member, Alvah Chapman. Additionally, Cleve was one of the nine founding members of Kairos, International Prison Ministry and is a former board member and current member of the International Community Corrections Association (ICCA). He was also elected to former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles’ Homeless Strategic Planning Committee.
A leader in state, federal and county initiatives, Cleve has also been instrumental in the success of Riverside House leading the organization to raise over $20 million over the last 25 years. More over, Cleve has traveled around the world to speak at conventions for such organizations as the ICCA and Kairos Ministry.
In the Miami community Cleve is well known for his role as the former chaplain of the Miami Heat, the Miami Dolphins, the Marlins and the LPGA. In addition, Cleve composed the opening music for the Miami Dolphin games at the Orange Bowl. Cleve has been featured in numerous newspaper and national publications such as the Miami Herald and the ICCA special publication on “Religion and the Soul of Corrections.” He has also apeared on Montage, The 700 Club, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, The Protestant Worship Hour, local Miami Christian radio stations, WEDR 99 Jams, and the television affliates of ABC, CBS, and NBC.