Serving the Community: A Timeline of Philanthropy, Charity, and Non-profit Organizations in Cleveland, Ohio




Cleveland’s well-established charitable sector continued to grow in numbers of organizations and by assets in the 1960s and 1970s. Pressing and emerging social and human needs were addressed, and the city’s cultural amenities were enhanced and expanded. The Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Movement, and the emerging Lesbian/Gay rights movement led to the establishment of numerous non-profit organizations and the necessary philanthropic support to sustain them. Additionally, the first healthcare conversion foundation in the United States was established in Cleveland at this time.

1961 Austin Memorial Foundation established by members of the Austin family to support education, the environment, hospitals, human services, and Protestant agencies and churches

1961 Jochum-Moll Foundation established by MTD Products to support education, social services, and hospitals

1961 Margaret Wagner House opened by the Benjamin Rose Institute to care for impoverished elderly patients

1961 Parma Community Hospital opens

1961 Kamm Foundation established by J. O. and J. S. Kamm to support education and Protestant agencies and churches

1962 Slovene Home for the Aged established

1963 Mellon Foundation established by Edward Mellon to support higher education, churches, and medical organizations

1963 Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association established to coordinate and centralize the efforts of neighborhood centers in Cleveland

1965 Fred A. Lennon Foundation established by Fred Lennon to emphasize higher education, The Roman Catholic church, and medical research; terminated in 1995

1966 Maternal Health Association becomes Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland

1966 West Side Ecumenical Ministry established to provide social and cultural services to children, youth, families and the elderly

1967 Case Western Reserve University created through the merger of Western Reserve University and the Case School of Applied Science

1968 AHS Foundation established by Leland and Helen Schubert

1968 East Cleveland Theater established by Eugene and Chris Pace to encourage interracial cooperation

1968 Lucile Dauby and Robert Hays Gries Charity Fund established to support local public television, local history programs, health services, cultural programs, and women’s issues

1968 Hillcrest Hospital opens in Mayfield Heights

1968 Reinberger Foundation established by Clarence Reinberger to support education, the arts, social welfare programs, Protestant churches, and hospitals

1968 Urban Community School established as an independent, interdenominational school for inner city children through the merger of three Catholic grade schools and the support of the P. M. Foundation

1969 Cleveland American Indian Center founded by Sioux Indian Russell Means to help Cleveland Native Americans adapt to urban life

1969 Tax Act of 1969 passed by Congress; legally defines private foundations and imposes rules and regulations regarding self-dealing, excise taxes, minimum payouts, and annual tax returns for foundations.

1969 Key Foundation established by Key Bank/Society Corp. to support the arts, higher education, hospitals, human services, community development, and public administration efforts

1970 Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland founded to provide medical services to young people with drug problems, birth control, pre-natal counseling, services to runaways, pediatric and teen care, AIDS testing, and a needle exchange

1970 Glenville Health Association opens a health center for the poor in the Glenville neighborhood

1970 Our Lady of Fatima Center established by Br. Anselm Deehr to serve the poor

1970 Cleveland NOW established to advocate women’s rights and promote women’s issues

1970 University Circle Development Foundation reorganized as University Circle, Incorporated to ensure the orderly growth of University Circle and create a unified environment in University Circle

1971 Birthright, Inc. founded to provide pregnant women with alternatives to abortion

1971 1525 Foundation established by Kent Hale Smith to support higher education, the environment, and other causes

1971 Cleveland Women’s Counseling (later known as Divorce Equity) founded to promote fairness in divorce through research, advocacy, and education; initially provided abortion referrals, education, counseling, and day care

1971 Fairmount Center for the Creative and Performing Arts founded by Ron and Jan Kumen

1972 Mildred Andrews Fund established by Peter Putnam to support higher education and conservation

1972 Federation of Catholic Community Services (later known as Catholic Charities Services Corporation) established to coordinate Roman Catholic social services in the Diocese of Cleveland

1972 Heights Community Congress founded to monitor and support integration efforts in Cleveland Heights

1972 Hope House established by Sister Nancy Jean Tomcyak to provide rehabilitation services to alcoholic women

1972 Women’s Law Fund established as a pilot project of the Cleveland Foundation and the Ford Foundation to address sex discrimination cases

1972 Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) established to enhance the lives of men and women, age 55 and older, through meaningful volunteer opportunities

1972 Cleveland Ballet established by Dennis Nahat and Ian Horvath

1973 The concept of the community foundation supporting organization is pioneered in Cleveland through the transfer of the assets of the Sherwick Fund to the Cleveland Foundation

1973 St. Ann Foundation established by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine through the sale of St. Ann ‘s Hospital to fund health care initiatives and programs; first healthcare conversion foundation in the United States and the first foundation undertaken by an American congregation of women religious

1974 Cleveland Rape Crisis Center founded by Lynn Hammond and Carol Zander

1974 Lyric Opera Cleveland founded by Anthony Addison as the Cleveland Opera Theatre Ensemble

1974 Eleanor Armstrong Smith Charitable Fund established by Kelvin Smith to support horticulture, health care, education, and the arts

1974 LEARN, Cleveland’s nationally renowned adult literacy center is founded by Nancy Oakley to teach adult non-readers basic literacy skills.

1975 Cleveland Women Working established through the efforts of Helen Williams

1975 Cleveland Signstage Theatre founded out of programs of the Fairmount Center for Creative and Performing Arts

1975 Universal Negro Improvement Association international headquarters returns to Cleveland; closed in 1982

1975 Womankind Maternal and Prenatal Center established as Birthcare, Inc. through the leadership of Michele Rogers to provide medical and social services to women with unplanned or stressful pregnancies

GEAR Community Center
GEAR Community Center

1975 Lesbian/Gay Community Service Center of Greater Cleveland established by Arthur MacDonald, Michael Madigan, and Ethan Ericksen as the GEAR Foundation

Womenspace founded by Penny Steenblock, Del Jones, Roberta Steinbacher, and Rev. Joan Campbell to address issues affecting women and their families through the coordination of area women’s groups; closed in 1995

1976 Cleveland Opera founded by David and Carola Bamberger and John Heavenrich as the New Cleveland Opera Company

1977 Cleveland Women Working merges with 9to5, National Association of Working Women

1977 St. Herman of Alaska House of Hospitality established by Fr. Gregory Reynolds and Mother Mary Blossom of the Greek Orthodox Church to serve the unemployed and homeless

1977 United Way Services conducts first campaign using the name of United Way

1978 Foundation Center-Cleveland established to inform the public about non-profit organizations and philanthropy

Hospice of the Western Reserve founded to provide home care and support for terminally ill patients and their families

1978 Templum House founded by Srs. Loretta Rafter and Madeline Shemo of the Humility of Mary Sisters to provide shelter and services to women and their children who have been victims of domestic violence

1979 Harambee: Services to Black Families founded by the National Association of Black Social Workers to serve as an adoption agency for African American children

Center for the Prevention of Domestic Violence emergency shelter and counseling service for battered women founded as Women Together by the Free Medical Clinic, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Womenspace, and other non-profit groups

1979 Hard Hatted Women established to promote equal opportunity in non-traditional fields, especially skilled trades

F. J. O’Neill Charitable Corporation established though funds donated by Francis Joseph O’Neill to support Roman Catholic education, higher and secondary education, and medical research

1979 Hijos de Borinquen Spanish American Center founded to provide social services to the Hispanic community on Cleveland’s east side

1980 Treu-Mart Fund established by Elizabeth and William Treuhaft to aid programs for children and youth

1980 Independent Sector created out of merger of National Council on Philanthropy and the Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations; represents all tax exempt oganizations in United States

1956-1960 1981-1999