Everyone a Philanthropist

Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist

The Extraordinary Legacies of Caring Clevelanders

Mary Coit SanfordMary Coit SanfordDonor of the Foundation’s First BequestOn January 29, 1914, Mary Coit Sanford signed a last will and testament containing a bequest to establish five funds at the Cleveland Foundation. Her confidence in the new community trust, which was less than a month...Read More in Timeline Picture of Mary Coit SanfordGeorge and Janet VoinovichGeorge and Janet VoinovichMemorializing a Departed ChildThe Cleveland Foundation has long served as a steward of gifts made in memory of a recently departed loved one. During World War II, the foundation even started a memorial fund to provide Clevelanders with a significant...Read More in Timeline Picture of George and Janet VoinovichThe RetreatThe RetreatAsset Transfer That Carried on the Work of a Shuttered Home for Young Unmarried MothersThe Retreat, Cleveland’s oldest home for unmarried mothers, faced a difficult decision in 1936. Because parents whose daughters became pregnant out of wedlock were adopting a more tolerant attitude toward the predicament, the need for a residential...Read More in Timeline Picture of The RetreatKenneth W. Clement, M.D.Kenneth W. Clement, M.D.Rewarding Community Service with a College ScholarshipKenneth W. Clement, a pioneering African-American physician, returned the hand-up that he himself had received by establishing a college scholarship fund at the Cleveland Foundation in 1966, a year before he became the first African American appointed...Read More in Timeline Picture of Kenneth W. Clement, M.D.Katherine BohmKatherine BohmA Laundress’s Generous Endowment GiftKatherine Bohm was only 16 when she and her mother emigrated from Germany to the United States around 1872. Following in the footsteps of thousands of other Germans, mother and daughter settled in Cleveland, but the fact...Read More in Timeline Picture of Katherine BohmHolsey Gates HandysideHolsey Gates HandysideDonor of the First Historic Preservation FundsCleveland native Holsey Gates Handyside spent more than 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, working primarily in the Middle East. The highlight of his career, which began in 1955 and took him to Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq...Read More in Timeline Picture of Holsey Gates HandysideLynn J. and Eva D. HammondLynn J. and Eva D. HammondDonors of the First Funds to Help the AgingThe first funds received by the Cleveland Foundation in the field of aging came from the nearly $1 million estate of Lynn J. and Eva D. Hammond in 1942. Lynn Hammond, who was predeceased by his wife,...Read More in Timeline Picture of Lynn J. and Eva D. HammondAfrican-American Philanthropy CommitteeAfrican-American Philanthropy CommitteeRaising Awareness of a Rich Tradition of GivingBeginning with the period before the Civil War, when their charitable focus was on abolishing slavery and securing aid for ex-slaves, through today, when their giving is likely to be combinations of individual and organization voluntarism and...Read More in Timeline Picture of African-American Philanthropy CommitteeReinhold W. Erickson, D.D.S.Reinhold W. Erickson, D.D.S.Turning Church Spires into Glorious Nighttime LandmarksReinhold W. (Ray) Erickson (see video) had an unusual dream. He wanted to light up the church steeples of Cleveland that can be seen from Interstate 71. Erickson wasn’t particularly religious, according to his attorney. He simply...Read More in Timeline Picture of Reinhold W. Erickson, D.D.S.Donald and Ruth Weber GoodmanDonald and Ruth Weber GoodmanPerpetuating Life-Saving Medical CareIn October 2000, Donald Goodman, a retired dentist, returned to his Pepper Pike home after his morning exercise and abruptly collapsed on the floor. After being rushed to University Hospitals of Cleveland, he was diagnosed with acute...Read More in Timeline Picture of Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman
On January 3, 1914, the day after the board of the Cleveland Trust bank adopted a resolution establishing the Cleveland Foundation, bank president Frederick H. Goff and his wife, Frances, signed a trust agreement that designated the new community foundation as the ultimate beneficiary of their estate. The Goffs made provisions for their three children and their as-yet-unborn grandchildren to receive income from the estate as long as any of these descendants was alive. Following the death of the last surviving heir, the estate’s income was to be placed at the disposal of the Cleveland Foundation.

With a flourish of their pens, Fred and Frances Goff became the first living donors to the world’s first community foundation. This new institution had been conceived by Goff to enable caring individuals to leave a portion or all of their accumulated wealth to an enduring trust, secure in the knowledge that their bequests would be wisely administered for the maximum benefit of the community in which they had lived, worked and prospered.

Emulating the pacesetting example set by the Goffs, generations of Greater Clevelanders have partnered with the Cleveland Foundation to realize their own philanthropic goals. Not surprisingly, the foundation was initially endowed by the wealthiest members of the community; they or their attorneys or trust officers were likely to have been personally influenced by the Goffs, who were leading members of the city’s meritocracy. Katharine Holden Thayer, whose father, Albert Fairchild Holden, lived near the Goffs in Bratenahl, is a good example. Upon her death in 1985 at the age of 86, she left $14.1 million to the foundation (see video).

As knowledge of the foundation’s mission spread more broadly, donations of all sizes, from people from all walks of life, began to pour in. As of the end of 2013, the foundation had received gifts whose combined value totaled $975,650,021.

People have given to the foundation for countless reasons: to memorialize a loved one, to ensure the future success of organizations in which they have been involved, to leave a philanthropic legacy. These are just a few of the many charitable wishes that the Cleveland Foundation has helped to fulfill. Over the years the foundation has offered donors flexibility in their options for giving—most notably, assisting those who wish to be active in philanthropy during their lifetimes, such as Albert M. Higley Jr. and his family (see video).

Illustrating that there are just as many avenues to give as reasons for giving, here are some examples of ordinary citizens who have, through a philanthropic partnership with the Cleveland Foundation, helped to enhance our community in remarkable ways that sometimes even they might not have envisioned.