CH resident Danny Williams takes new nonprofit health care post
In January, Cleveland Heights resident Danny R. Williams became the new president and CEO of Eliza Bryant Village, the oldest African-American long-term care center in the United States. Located at East 72nd Street and Wade Park Avenue in Cleveland, Eliza Bryant Village is a nursing home, adult-daycare and independent-living center.
In taking the new position, Williams stepped down as executive director of the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland (now called Circle Health Services).
“I’ve been at the Free Clinic for 10 years now, and it has gone through a significant transformation,” Williams said. “I did a number of major things at the clinic, and I think the clinic is now at a stage where my departure would not be a challenge.
“I’ve been blessed to spend the bulk of my professional career working for organizations that promote health and inclusion and justice for vulnerable communities.”
The clinic now has a sliding-fee scale that ranges from $5 to $15, and also accepts private insurance.
“Danny has capably led the Free Clinic through momentous transitions and challenges during his tenure here,” said Debra Rex, president of the health center’s Board of Trustees. “We are saddened that he is leaving us, but grateful for all he has done to help the organization evolve from its beginnings as a free-spirited drop-in clinic to a well-integrated Federally Qualified Health Center, Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home and accredited behavioral health resource. He has put this clinic on a forward-looking trajectory that will enable it to grow and improve.”
Williams, 63, was born in Cleveland, near East 79th Street, and graduated from Collinwood High School. He majored in psychology at Princeton University, and then earned his law degree at the University of Michigan. “I [then] came back to Cleveland and got a master’s degree in nonprofit organizations at Case Western Reserve University,” he said.
Williams worked as a private-practice lawyer for 13 years, focusing on civil litigation and nonprofit organization.
In 1990, Michael White became mayor of Cleveland and selected Williams to be the city’s law director. Three years later, Williams became a Cuyahoga County administrator. He stayed in that position until 1995, when he took a job as the executive director of the Cuyahoga County chapter of the American Cancer Society.
“That cemented my interest in health issues and nonprofit organizations,” Williams said. “I knew I was not going back to law.”
Williams originally moved to Cleveland Heights in 1985 and lived there until he became Cleveland’s law director, whereupon he relocated to Cleveland. He returned to the Cleveland Heights in 1993, and now lives on Elandon Drive in the Ambler Heights neighborhood.
“The thing I like the most about the Heights is the eclectic nature of the neighborhoods,” Williams said. “If you don’t appreciate diversity, you shouldn’t come to Cleveland Heights. It would be like moving to New Orleans and not liking music! But Cleveland Heights has been a great place for me and my family.”
Williams and his wife, Lin, have two children, Jennifer Perry, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, and David Williams, a West Coast scout for the Chicago Bears football team.
James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley. He is on the board of FutureHeights, and is co-chair of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee.