EMBARGOED RELEASE: 12:01 a.m. Jan. 2, 2014


World’s first community foundation to commemorate centennial year with celebratory gifts to the community and special gatherings for Greater Clevelanders

RELEASE DATE: 1.2.2014

CLEVELAND – On its centennial, Jan. 2, 2014, the Cleveland Foundation today officially kicked off its year-long celebration by unveiling the first in a series of monthly “Cleveland Foundation Day” birthday gifts to the community.

Announced on the official “Cleveland Foundation Day” as proclaimed by Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, the first birthday gift is the sponsorship of a free day of riding on the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA). The sponsored day, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 16, will enable all residents of Greater Cleveland to enjoy the rapid, HealthLine, bus, or paratransit at no cost.

“We feel the best way to honor our 100th birthday is to give back to Greater Cleveland, to celebrate the generations of donors who have supported us through the years and partnered with us to give $1.7 billion in grants to our community,” said Ronald B. Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “Through the organizations involved in our monthly surprise gifts, we’ll be highlighting community assets the foundation and our donors have played a role in building or enhancing through the years.”

The Cleveland Foundation gave its first grant to the RTA in 1981. The two organizations have worked together on a variety of projects, most recently collaborating on the new Little Italy-University Circle and Cedar Hill stations currently under construction.

“We applaud the Cleveland Foundation and their centennial gift to the community,” said Joseph Calabrese, general manager, RTA. “Many people rely on RTA to get to their destination. We know our customers will greatly appreciate the fact that the foundation will be paying their fare as a way to celebrate Greater Cleveland’s generosity and the foundation’s role in the past and future of our organizations.”

Upcoming “Cleveland Foundation Day” birthday gifts will be announced on or around the second of each month to invite the broader community to celebrate the foundation’s centennial.

General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) to Deliver Robert D. Gries Lecture at Cleveland Foundation Centennial Meeting Presented by KeyBank

On June 11, 2014, the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Meeting – Presented by KeyBank – will convene the community at PlayhouseSquare to celebrate the work of community philanthropists, both locally and throughout the world, and to articulate the impact of the Cleveland Foundation in its next century. 

General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.), Secretary of State (2001 – 2005), will deliver the annual Robert D. Gries Lecture at the KeyBank-sponsored event. For more than fifty years, General Powell has devoted his life to public services. Having held senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations, Powell’s deep commitment to democratic values and freedom has been felt throughout the world. Powell is the honorary chairman of the Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at his alma mater, the City College of New York. He is the founder and chairman emeritus of America’s Promise Alliance, dedicated to forging a strong and effective partnership alliance committed to seeing that children have the fundamental resources they need to succeed. He is on the Executive Leadership Cabinet of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and is the honorary chairman of the education center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and serves on the board of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“The Cleveland Foundation performs tremendous civic service, affording Greater Cleveland’s citizens the opportunity to stabilize, grow, and prosper,” said KeyCorp Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney. “Philanthropy truly is the lifeblood, vitality and vibrancy of the community, and the Cleveland Foundation is at the heart of all important philanthropic initiatives in this city. Thanks in great part to their strength and leadership throughout the years, Greater Cleveland continues to thrive.”

More details on the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Meeting – Presented by KeyBank – will be announced at a later date.

Third Biennial African-American Philanthropy Summit Presented by Medical Mutual to Feature Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

On April 26, 2014, the African-American Philanthropy Committee of the Cleveland Foundation will host the third biennial African-American Philanthropy Summit and Luncheon from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Corporate College East in Warrensville Heights. The theme of this year’s Summit, “Inspiring 100 Acts of African-American Philanthropy,” will be a celebration of inspired African-American philanthropists and a call to action for members of the community to join in this giving legacy. 

In recognition of the Cleveland Foundation’s centennial year and the national model of community engagement established by the foundation’s African-American Philanthropy Committee, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will serve as the keynote speaker during the Summit luncheon. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and American Research at Harvard University. He is the author of sixteen books and twelve documentaries, including the recent PBS series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. He is the recipient of fifty-one honorary degrees and numerous awards, including the MacArthur “genius grant.” He has been named to Time’s “25 Most Influential Americans” list, the AARP’s “The Influentials: 50 over 50” and to Ebony’s “Power 100” list for 2013. The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader, a collection of Professor Gates’ essays, was published in 2012. Gates is also the jury chair of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards presented by the Cleveland Foundation.

“It is our hope that the knowledge gained at the Philanthropy Summit is used to inspire efforts that enrich the lives of those in the African-American community. Medical Mutual is pleased to play an important role in this effort,” said Debra Green, Medical Mutual’s Director of Community Outreach.

For ticket information, visit www.2014philsummit.eventbright.com or call 216-685-2006.

New Web Site Celebrates Historic Impact of the Cleveland Foundation

The Cleveland Foundation was formed a century ago in 1914 by Frederick H. Goff, who was a Cleveland lawyer, banker, civic leader and humanist. Through his idea of pooling individual donations into a single endowment fund for the betterment of the community, Goff launched the world’s first community foundation in Cleveland. There are presently more than 1,700 community foundations around the world, inspiring the Chronicle of Philanthropy to hail the creation of the Cleveland Foundation as one of 10 seminal events that shaped the nonprofit world in the 20th century.

To mark its centennial, the Cleveland Foundation launched a robust web history and timeline, bringing its current written history up to date and showcasing the impact of Greater Clevelanders’ generosity through their support of the Cleveland Foundation throughout the past 100 years.

“The milestone events and individuals that embody the Cleveland Foundation’s first century of turning passion into purpose now have an enduring life in the digital age,” said Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronald B. Richard. “This site brings the foundation’s historical archives to life and makes the Cleveland Foundation’s model of philanthropy accessible to the world.”

The site, located at ClevelandFoundation.org/100, is a mix of videos, legacy donor biographies, interactive timelines, and searchable content.


Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $1.86 billion and 2012 grants of $91 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – economic transformation, public-school improvement, youth development, neighborhood revitalization, and arts advancement – and responds to the community’s needs.

For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, please visit ClevelandFoundation.org/Purpose and follow us at Facebook.com/ClevelandFoundation or @CleveFoundation on Twitter.