First of eight surveys of pressing urban problems commissioned

The surveys, which document problems and recommend solutions, establish a precedent for community foundations to lead as well as support.


The Cleveland Foundation is established on January 2

Cleveland Trust bank directors approve a Resolution and Declaration of Trust appointing the bank as the foundation’s sole trustee.


First designated grant awarded

As per the donor’s wishes, the recipient is the Cleveland Protestant Orphans Asylum (now Beech Brook).


First discretionary grants awarded


In-kind services provided to important civic committees

The loan of its director and offices expands the foundation’s useful roles.


74 community foundations have been established in North America 

The Cleveland Foundation’s endowment ranks as fourth largest, trailing New York, Chicago and Boston.


Four additional local banks become foundation trustees

The institution of a multiple trusteeship ensures a broader pool of potential donors, enhancing the foundation’s ability to weather the Depression.


First logo unveiled

The logo, a medallion engraved with a frontiersman carrying surveyor’s tools, bears the phrase, “Pioneer Community Trust.”


The Combined Fund is created to enable small gifts to the endowment

This innovative vehicle offers individuals of modest means a simple, affordable way to leave a charitable legacy.


Contributions received from a record-breaking 325 individuals


The endowment now comprises 50 named funds

Education, social services and health are the chief beneficiaries.


The foundation receives largest gift of flexible dollars to date 

The bequest of $1.7 million from oil heiress Bertha Backus Hale would be equivalent to $12 million today.


A course-changing philanthropic demonstration project is launched with foundation support

The Greater Cleveland Associated Foundation is created specifically to stimulate fresh approaches to solving Cleveland’s increasingly grave socioeconomic problems.


The Cleveland Foundation ranks as the country’s largest community trust 

During the foundation’s first 50 years, more than 1,600 generous donors have swelled the size of the endowment to $84 million.


First significant bequest for arts and culture received

Mechanical engineer and industrialist George C. Gordon and his wife Marion are the donors.


Board expanded from five to 11 to accommodate GCAF trustees


The Greater Cleveland Associated Foundation merges with the Cleveland Foundation

The union reinvigorates the older foundation’s grantmaking, swelling the philanthropic resources available locally for proactive problem-solving.


The first $1 million grant is awarded 

The grant advances the prospects that the federation of Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University will create a great research university.


Cultural affairs becomes a full-fledged program area


Foundation offices relocated to the Hanna Building on Playhouse Square

The move is a symbolic gesture of support for the ongoing redevelopment of Cleveland’s theater district.


Economic development becomes a full-fledged program area


Donor-advised funds established

The foundation formalizes its commitment to serving living donors.


“Special Initiatives” launched to revitalize schools, neighborhoods and the lakefront

Sustained, multimillion-dollar commitments are now seen as central to the foundation’s ability to make a difference.


Sustained grantmaking begins in the field of the environment


Spending policy revised to increase income available for grantmaking

The new formula for calculating available income is based on the endowment’s performance over time.


Rolling grant reviews replace quarterly decision-making

More timely review procedures speed the disbursement of funds to grantees.


Board expanded from 11 to 15 directors

A larger board gives the foundation the benefit of a greater range of perspectives.


Board responsibilities refocused on identification of programmatic priorities


Responsive grantmaking team formed to review mounting requests


Senior program officers promoted to program directors

The new title reflects new responsibilities for leading strategic initiatives identified by the board.


Assets recover from the impact of the Great Recession

The foundation’s $1.88 billion endowment propels its ranking as one of the top five largest community trusts in America.


First $10 million grant, the largest to date

To commemorate its upcoming centenary, the foundation makes a historic gift in support of Case Western Reserve University’s new medical school.



Total grantmaking since the foundation’s invention in 1914