Remembering Steve Minter: A Leader and a Friend


It is with great sadness that we learned about the passing of Steve Minter.

It is with great sadness that we learned about the passing of Steve Minter yesterday. A member of our Board of Directors since 2006, and Chairman of the Board from 2016 to 2018, Steve’s imprint on KnowledgeWorks will continue to have impact for a long time to come.

Reading through the remembrances of Steve being shared online, a common thread is his passion for improving the world for others. That is evident in his work as undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Education during President Jimmy Carter’s administration and as commissioner of public welfare for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. His legacy lives on through his work with the Cleveland Foundation working to effect positive change in public education, jobs, housing and healthcare, with Cleveland State University engaging in community work and with KnowledgeWorks helping us further our mission to imagine, build and sustain vibrant learning communities that allow each student to thrive.

Steve’s reach was incredible, but what we will most remember is the energy he brought to everything he did. If you were in a conversation with Steve, he gave you all his attention. He was excited and enthusiastic to learn new things, talk about his passions and learn what you were passionate about.

While we continue to process and mourn the loss of a leader and friend, below are remembrances from some in the KnowledgeWorks family.

Steve’s passing is a great loss to all of us. He was a kind and thoughtful man who was a mentor to me at KnowledgeWorks. He was very wise and lead us through some very challenging times at KnowledgeWorks. He always ensured that everyone’s voice was heard and subtly guided us to the best decisions. He talked with pride about his wonderful family and soldiered on after the death of his dear wife, Dolly. He continued to have his love of travel and adventure and exhibited incredible energy in all that he did. I will miss him greatly.
Lucie Lapovsky, PhD

Steve Minter was the spirit behind much of what KnowledgeWorks is today. He approached all he did with energy and enthusiasm, of which KnowledgeWorks was a beneficiary. Steve was my first point of contact with KnowledgeWorks. He was a kind of window into KnowledgeWorks. Through his calm, magnetic sense, he drew you in and you knew it was going to be a good place. During the time we worked together, I came to count on his friendship and encouragement. If you think about the governance and leadership that represents the heart of an organization, for KnowledgeWorks, that was Steve Minter.

Psalm 16 says, “The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage.”  That is certainly true for Steve.
Chuck Ambrose

Steve Minter provided thoughtful leadership and guidance to KnowledgeWorks as a Board member for more than 13 years. Not only did he believe in our work, but he truly cared for our staff. He always had time to talk, listen and offer his support. Steve will be greatly missed.
Holly Brinkman

As a vice president at Cleveland State University (CSU), I would watch Steve, who was one of the president’s Executives in Residence, walk in a room with leaders and when they emerged something great had been created. Whether it was the unlikely infusion of CSU’s arts campus at Cleveland’s historic Playhouse Square or the explosion of the university’s Radiance Scholarship program into a $1 million annual fundraiser, Steve was in the middle of the achievement. What I learned as I got to know him was that he was not so much a wheeler-dealer as he was a relationship-builder. His gentle spirit and passion for helping people, combined with his civic prominence, allowed him to connect people to see their common ground and imagine possibilities beyond what they could ever hope to produce on their own. I am fortunate to have learned from him this amazing gift though I can never hope to exercise it as effectively.
Byron White

Read more about Steve Minter’s professional and philanthropic legacy.