PHILANTHROPY - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
PHILANTHROPY. Philanthropy in Cleveland sprang from a strong basis in RELIGION. In the 20th century much (though by no means all) philanthropic activity has been devoted to building great nonprofit institutions run by professionals, not only in MEDICINE and social work but also in education and the fine arts; in keeping with the principle that philanthropy should help people help themselves, these institutions draw most of their income from payments (by individuals and by governments) for the services they offer. But 19th century philanthropy was almost always domestic in scale, and, with its strong emphasis on the views and members of particular religious denominations, was often as inward-looking as the work of a mutual-benefit society. Early Cleveland's first relief agency, the WESTERN SEAMEN'S FRIEND SOCIETY, was organized in 1830 by BENJAMIN ROUSE, an agent of the American Sunday-School Union. Rouse's desire to reach all who were in need and to promote moral values as well as to provide emergency food and shelter gave his efforts a broadly philanthropic, and not merely a charitable, purpose. The MARTHA WASHINGTON AND DORCAS SOCIETY (1843) was also organized for the broader purpose of "retarding intemperance" as well as the relief of poverty; its successors, including the Cleveland Women's Temperance Union (1850) and the Ladies Bethel Aid Society (1867), all offered Protestant forms of "Christian philanthropy." REBECCA CROMWELL ROUSE and several of the other Protestant churchwomen who led these organizations raised nearly $1 million through the SOLDIERS' AID SOCIETY OF NORTHERN OHIO (1861-68), not only to meet the medical-care needs of Union soldiers but also to support the strict social and moral discipline advocated by the U.S. Sanitary Commission. The religious basis of philanthropy led to complementary and sometimes competing efforts, both among the Protestant denominations and among CATHOLICS, ROMAN and . To compete with the public schools Bp. LOUIS AMADEUS RAPPE called to Cleveland the URSULINE SISTERS OF CLEVELAND to provide PAROCHIAL EDUCATION (CATHOLIC) in 1850; to complement Protestant poor-relief efforts he called the SISTERS OF CHARITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE, who cared for the poor and the sick in a Catholic spirit, in 1852. As the Jewish population grew, a Hebrew Benevolent Society appeared in 1855. Although the city government provided a larger share of the meager assistance deemed necessary to sustain the very poor after 1855, religious participation in this field continued; as late as 1901, Mayor TOM L. JOHNSON appointed the pastor of the Cedar Ave. Church of Christ, HARRIS R. COOLEY, as the city's director, of charities.
After the Civil War, private philanthropy emphasized the creation of more specialized institutions. Orphan asylums appeared first. Bp. Rappe established ST. VINCENT'S ORPHAN ASYLUM for boys and ST. MARY'S ORPHAN ASYLUM FOR FEMALES for girls as early as 1851; the Protestants who had created the SOCIETY FOR THE RELIEF OF THE POOR founded the Cleveland Orphan Asylum in 1852. The German Methodist Orphan Asylum and the Jewish Orphan Asylum (later BELLEFAIRE), originally intended in part for the children of soldiers killed in the Civil War, followed in 1864 and 1869. When hospitals and homes for "foundlings" (abandoned infants) appeared in the 1870s and 1880s, they, too, were allied with the major religions. The courts, which were the key government agencies of the period, supported this pattern by assigning foundlings and orphans according to their parents' known or supposed religious affiliation. After 1876 the state government also empowered the Cleveland Humane Society to remove children from cruel or neglectful parents and to place them in ORPHANAGES or foster homes, but the society's funds came from private contributions. Like the orphanages, new facilities intended to encourage morality and good health among the young people who flocked to the small but rapidly growing industrial city on the lake were also founded by wealthy merchants who acted through religious associations. Protestants started the YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSN. (YWCA) a year later. Benefactors quickly provided dormitory and recreation halls that were unusually large for a city of Cleveland's size, but not large enough to discourage the WOMAN'S CHRISTIAN TEMPERANCE UNION, NON-PARTISAN, OF CLEVELAND from establishing a network of alcohol-free "friendly inns" in the 1870s and a Training Home for Friendless Girls in 1893.
Despite the best efforts of the YMCA and the WCTU, Cleveland had its full share of unwed mothers, prostitutes, alcoholics, and enfeebled old people who were unable to earn a living. Pious and wealthy citizens tried to meet the needs of these people through an ever more diverse array of special institutions. Homes for "unfortunate women" who had fallen into PROSTITUTION or become pregnant outside wedlock included the Catholic House of the Good Shepherd (1869) and the Stillman Witt Home attached to the Protestant Orphan Asylum (1873). The private, general-purpose relief organizations of the antebellum years were reorganized to provide employment advice and (largely religious) family counseling. The Catholic LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR (1870), the Protestant YWCA (1868), and the Jewish Home (1877) all provided OLD AGE/NURSING HOMES. Several Protestants, concerned about the living conditions, the educational opportunities, and the political, views of Cleveland's rapidly expanding immigrant communities, established HIRAM HOUSE (1896), Goodrich House (1896) (see GOODRICH-GANNETT NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER), ALTA HOUSE (1898), and other SETTLEMENT HOUSES. The Jewish Council Educational Alliance, forerunner of the JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER, offered comparable facilities after 1897. During the 19th century, local governments played a much smaller role in these fields than in general relief. Individual towns did, on occasion, provide tuition and other support to private schools, ranging from the Methodist mission's Cleveland City Industrial School (see CLEVELAND INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL) to EAST CLEVELAND's Presbyterian-sponsored Shaw Academy, but this practice came to an end as public school systems expanded. In a pattern that was to become much more common in the 20th century, kindergartens pioneered in the 1880s by the private Day Nursery & Free Kindergarten Assn. were adopted by public school districts in the 1890s.
Faced with the expanding population of a rapidly growing, polyglot industrial city and with a larger and ever more varied set of benevolent institutions, Cleveland's philanthropists began to introduce new forms of organization after 1880. They established a CHARITY ORGANIZATION SOCIETY to discourage mendicancy and promote efficiency in 1881, just a year after Buffalo adapted the English Charity Organization Society idea to American conditions. Three years later, the Charity Organization Society merged with Cleveland's leading Protestant counseling group to create the Bethel Associated Charities. But the charity organization movement emphasized efficiency and promoted a comprehensive concern for the region's entire population, which included growing proportions of Catholics and Jews. For these reasons, it did not mix easily with traditional religious benevolence. "Charity cannot be organized like the Steel Trust, or run by paid clerks," an evangelical Protestant wrote indignantly at the end of the century. "Charity means love; it is a personal thing. Can you picture Christ organizing love, card-indexing the good and the bad?"
Religious influence was less marked in the field of cultural philanthropy--a field that was little cultivated in 19th-century Cleveland. The private associations that brought the predecessors of CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY--Western Reserve Univ. of Hudson, OH, and the new Case School of Applied Science--to Cleveland at the beginning of the 1880s emphasized secular rather than religious purposes. They also received important support from the city government when they located on the attractive grounds of WADE PARK, created by JEPTHA H. WADE with private funds but developed and maintained by the city. Yet religious influence did, persist in the field of higher education. Case Institute and WRU were amply supplied with chapels, Protestants gave generously to a wide variety of denominational colleges in Ohio and elsewhere, and in Cleveland Catholics started several institutions of higher learning to complement their parochial elementary and diocesan secondary schools.
A more tightly organized, more professional, and in some ways less religious organization of philanthropy dominated Cleveland after 1900. By 1920 Greater Cleveland had taken advantage of the opportunities opened by its rapid growth into a modern metropolis and was earning a national reputation for the innovative and unusually efficient organization of its philanthropy. Early in the 20th century Cleveland's business leaders created 3 new institutions, the charity federation, the community chest, and the community foundation, that transformed philanthropy not only in Cleveland but also throughout the U.S.
In 1900 a Committee on Benevolent Assns. of the Chamber of Commerce began to look for ways to rationalize the raising and distribution of funds and to evaluate and monitor the work of the many specialized institutions that had been created in the decades after the Civil War. Following the example of the Fed. for Jewish Charities (1903; later the JEWISH COMMUNITY FEDERATION), the suggestions of insurance executive MARTIN MARKS, and the advice of iron ore magnate SAMUEL MATHER, this committee proposed the creation of a Federation for Charity & Philanthropy. In 1913 the federation launched the first sustained campaign in the U.S. designed to raise funds for a large number of separate homes, clinics, and family services, regardless of Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish sponsorship. The campaign was so successful--it increased the number of contributors to these institutions from a few hundred to over 6,000--that it became the model for the Red Cross and Victory Chest drives carried out across the nation to meet the needs created by World War I. Cleveland's Community Chest (which evolved into the UNITED WAY SERVICES), also the first in the U.S., continued to run unified fundraising campaigns after the war. In 1919 more than 148,000 donors responded to its appeal.
Four factors account for the success of Cleveland's united fundraising campaigns. From the beginning they represented a truly united effort because the wealthy individuals who had traditionally supported particular institutions were willing to allow them to become part of a communitywide federation, evaluated and funded by a highly professional central agency. Also from the very beginning, the united campaigns were mounted by some of the most highly skilled fundraisers to be found in the U.S. These fundraisers worked in an unusually supportive environment. Cleveland, like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and other manufacturing cities that grew rapidly between 1890 and 1930 (and unlike New York, Boston, or, Philadelphia), had a small number of large integrated manufacturing corporations that employed a large portion of its labor force (see ECONOMY); these corporations strongly supported the Community Chest through their rapidly developing personnel departments. Finally, although the new organization of philanthropy reduced the influence of organized religion, religious leaders of all faiths wholeheartedly supported the unified drives.
Within the new philanthropic system, the Fed. for Charity & Philanthropy continued to evaluate individual institutions, study the city's needs, and distribute the funds raised by the Community Chest. In studying the city's needs, it was quickly joined by the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION. Organized by FREDERICK GOFF, president of the Cleveland Trust Co. (later AMERITRUST, now part of Society Bank), the Cleveland Foundation was the nation's first community foundation. Between 1914-24, it made remarkably effective use of the survey idea originated in charity organization societies in England and New York and applied with great fanfare in the Pittsburgh Survey of 1909. The Cleveland Foundation hired prominent experts--Chicago welfare director Sherman C. Kingsley, LEONARD P. AYRES of New York City's Russell Sage Foundation (which had pioneered the social survey), WRU's RAYMOND A. MOLEY, Roscoe Pound and Felix Frankfurter of the Harvard Univ. Law School--to evaluate Cleveland's provisions for welfare, education, criminal justice, and recreation. The resulting studies attracted widespread attention, and Cleveland's community foundation, like its Community Chest, was copied in many other large cities.
The highly professional studies sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation effectively set priorities for the city's private institutions. They played a role, for example, in WRU's 1916 decision to raise funds to support a School of Applied Social Sciences to train the professional social workers who were rapidly replacing the pious, temperance-minded ladies who had carried out "friendly visits" to the homes of the Protestant and Jewish poor since the 1840s. They encouraged the creation of the Metropolitan Park System (see CLEVELAND METROPARKS) and, less effectively, called attention to the needs of the city's rapidly expanding population of blacks (see AFRICAN AMERICANS). The foundation's reports also influenced public policies in such fields as EDUCATION and criminal justice (see LAW). By increasing the influence of corporate leaders and of the distinguished professionals they admired, Cleveland's new philanthropic institutions reduced the influence of religious congregations (and perhaps of women) on poor relief, family counseling, and youth-service activities. Protestants and Jews responded by creating new, more, centralized organizations to formulate and express their common views on social questions. Catholics joined Protestants and Jews in creating new centrally managed campaigns to raise funds for specifically religious educational, chaplaincy, and outreach activities.
A preliminary effort to create a Christian Fed. of Cleveland in 1900 had accompanied the decision of the Bethel Associated Charities to lay aside its traditional Protestant identity and change its name to Cleveland Associated Charities. By 1911 Cleveland's Protestants had worked out a more permanent form of association, the Federated Churches of Cleveland (now known as the INTERCHURCH COUNCIL OF GREATER CLEVELAND). Its purpose was to "improve the social and religious life of the growing city," in part by promoting "comity in religious work among the foreign populations of the city" and encouraging "united and aggressive action upon religious and social questions." In the 1920s the Protestants added a concern for Christian education to its agenda, and in 1911 returned to the roots laid down by Benjamin and Rebecca Rouse in the 1830s when the Federated Churches merged with the Cuyahoga County Sunday School Assn. and undertook to train and equip Sunday school teachers in many Protestant churches. The JEWISH COMMUNITY FEDERATION, begun in 1903
After 1920 Cleveland philanthropy also reorganized old charitable institutions to make use of the new expertise. As social workers, psychologists, and other child-development specialists gained prominence, for example, the old orphanages were reorganized to care for handicapped, retarded, and disturbed children. Most Catholic orphanages were consolidated into the expanding facilities of PARMADALE CHILDREN'S VILLAGE OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL after 1925; the Protestant Orphan Asylum (BEECH BROOK, INC.) moved to Orange Twp. in 1926; and the Jewish Orphan Asylum moved into the new buildings of BELLEFAIRE in UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS in 1929. By the 1940s, most of these institutions were distinguished more for the particular character of their professional services, as evaluated by the FEDERATION FOR COMMUNITY PLANNING, than for their religious affiliations, and many of them accepted children regardless of religious background. Funds for CHILD CARE and counseling that had once gone to the (Protestant) Humane Society and the, Bethel Associated Charities, by 1940 went
The Depression and the New Deal reinforced the continuing tendency toward the specialization and professionalization of charitable organizations. When the Depression threw over one-third of Cleveland's labor force out of work, it was clearly impossible for private charity even to address the need for general relief. Municipal and state institutions had long supplemented the work of private orphanages and institutions for the mentally handicapped; these were considerably expanded after 1900, and again in the 1930s. Even more decisively, the New Deal established the policy of using government agencies, supplied with federal and state funds, to provide direct relief through Social Security, Aid to Dependent Children, and other programs. In 1935 over 1,000 of the social workers employed by the Family Service Society were moved in a body to the Cuyahoga County Welfare Dept., which now became responsible for administering Social Security, ADC, and other federally funded social-welfare programs. Private philanthropy's long-dominant role in the management of poor relief was sharply curtailed. Many traditional charitable organizations were thus forced to define new, more specialized and professional roles for themselves. And the Fed. for Community Planning found itself working with union and political leaders as well as with major donors and professional social workers to coordinate the work of public as well as private social agencies.
"Since 1900," one religious leader would observe in 1956, "the specialists have taken over, and the clergyman finds himself unable to communicate with the criminologist who runs the jail, the administrator who manages the hospital, the social worker who counsels. . . ." Cleveland philanthropy, thoroughly persuaded of the value of professional expertise, supported the triumph of the specialists in the professions and the arts as well as in what came to be known as the social services. It provided significant additional facilities and endowments for the private universities, both in Cleveland and elsewhere, whose graduate and professional faculties sought knowledge for the new professions and trained the new specialists. And it created, in UNIVERSITY CIRCLE, an extraordinary set of educational, medical, and cultural institutions that appealed particularly to the city's managerial and professional workers. Because these institutions were increasingly supported by tuition, hospital charges, and ticket fees paid by their users, and by government funds, they relied increasingly on professional managers.
In Cleveland itself, philanthropy played an important role in the creation of unusually distinguished professional communities in the fields of medicine,, engineering, law, social work, and the fine arts. The VISITING NURSE ASSN. OF CLEVELAND played a pioneering role from its origins in 1901. Following the recommendations of the nationally influential Cleveland Hospital & Health Survey conducted under private auspices by Dr. Haven Emerson in 1920, the city's major donors moved several private hospitals to Univ. Circle, built up the extraordinary facilities of UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS CASE MEDICAL CENTER, MT. SINAI MEDICAL CENTER, SAINT LUKE'S MEDICAL CENTER, and SAINT VINCENT CHARITY HOSPITAL AND HEALTH CENTER, and established a large endowment for WRU's Medical School (begun in 1843; Univ. Circle buildings from 1924) and Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (1923). These facilities in turn made for the rich medical environment that allowed the private, independent CLEVELAND CLINIC FOUNDATION to achieve great success by the 1960s. Private philanthropy also provided the funds needed to create the Case Institute of Technology and WRU's schools of Law and of Applied Social Sciences, and later CWRU's Weatherhead School of Management and Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations, created in 1985 to educate managers for nonprofits. Private philanthropy also established FENN COLLEGE, which later became CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY, and helped establish CSU's Cleveland-Marshall Law School, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, and other professional schools,
Between 1880 and the 1960s, private philanthropy also sponsored nearly all HIGHER EDUCATION available in Greater Cleveland. Oberlin College enjoyed support from Congregationalists and others; Methodists maintained BALDWIN-WALLACE COLLEGE in suburban BEREA, and Catholics supported the educational work that began in ST. JOHN COLLEGE and flowered into John Carroll Univ. and NOTRE DAME COLLEGE OF OHIO and URSULINE COLLEGE colleges. WRU sponsored a downtown branch, Cleveland College, and the YMCA set up Fenn College to provide night-school and business courses. With the transformation of Fenn, College into Cleveland State Univ. in the mid-1960s, and the creation of CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, private philanthropy saw the management of many universities become the responsibility of government. Apart from supporting a nationally distinguished School of Library Science at WRU from 1903 until its closure in 1986, private philanthropy similarly left libraries to public agencies, notably the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY, whose notable research collections were largely provided by private philanthropy.
In the cultural field, the highly organized character of Cleveland philanthropy is reflected in the extraordinary set of institutions gathered in Univ. Circle and in the successful efforts to develop PLAYHOUSE SQUARE and the North Coast Harbor. Cleveland philanthropy long gave priority to "high" culture, especially in music and art; the result is 2 of the best institutions in the U.S., the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA and the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART. The orchestra has been supported by endowments, by SEVERANCE HALL (on land made available by WRU), and by the Blossom Music Ctr. for summer concerts.
When new tax laws encouraged the possessors of large fortunes to make large gifts after 1949, most of them chose to add to the endowment of existing institutions or to create new general-purpose foundations. Cleveland saw the creation of an unusually large number of new foundations, of which the largest was the GEO. GUND FOUNDATION and one of the most adventurous was the WOMEN'S COMMUNITY FOUNDATION, joined with the Cleveland Foundation in a continuing effort to direct philanthropic funds to the areas of greatest current need. By 1995 the combined endowments of these foundations amounted to nearly $2 billion and provided the Cleveland area with one of the largest and most flexible sources of support for philanthropic activities available in any city in the U.S. Cleveland foundations also employed an unusually large community of professional grantmakers who worked together not only through the Cleveland Regional Assn. of Grantmakers but also played leading roles in creating such national networks as that of Women in Philanthropy.
The demand for funds from foundations and annual fund drives alike rose abruptly after the mid-1960s. In 1930 Cuyahoga County's nonprofits spent, on wages, salaries, rent, utilities and supplies, an amount that equaled about 3% of all wages and salaries paid in the county: this number grew very little before 1960, but then grew rapidly (thanks mostly to federal medicare, medicaid funds) to more than 12% by 1990. The role for philanthropy grew with the growth of the nonprofit
Many Cleveland institutions developed creative responses to these new challenges. The Protestant Fed. of Churches reorganized itself as the Greater Cleveland Interchurch Council and gave increasing emphasis to its efforts to promote interracial cooperation and to feed the hungry. The Fed. for Community Planning sought new ways to bring together the disparate agencies that were dealing with related problems, and to establish a common welfare agenda for the region. At its strong suggestion, several long-established agencies merged into the CENTER FOR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN in 1969. Several individual religious congregations and private social agencies undertook to carry out new programs established and funded by the federal government. The United Way, which had developed a large and highly professional staff of its own, took over many of the allocation and evaluation activities formerly carried out by the Fed. for Community Planning. The Catholic church made extraordinary--and remarkably successful--efforts to find resources for inner-city Catholic schools, even as Catholics moved in large numbers to the suburbs. Several of Cleveland's major business corporations undertook new philanthropic initiatives in the late 1970s and 1980s, focusing their efforts on the development of Playhouse Square, on sustaining the major arts organizations, on housing (Neighborhood Progress, Inc.) and on an economic development agenda greatly expanded from the older job-training efforts mounted by GOODWILL INDUSTRIES and VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE SERVICES (ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT, INC., , Work in Northeast Ohio Council). Through the GREATER CLEVELAND ROUNDTABLE many of Cleveland's largest business corporations also sought to bring their philanthropic resources to bear on the reform of Cleveland's Public Schools; with $28 million in its first 3 rounds, the Cleveland Initiative for Education became one of the largest private efforts in the U.S.
In the 1980s new government policies posed still more urgent questions. Government funds had met more and more of the cost of social services, medical care, and education between 1964-75, freeing private funds for investment in, research, specialized care, higher education, and the arts. Government and private insurance funds came to cover most of the cost of providing medical and nursing home care: institutions in those fields refocused their activities in more entrepreneurial ways to take advantage of new these new funding streams, with the result that they seemed, to donors and regulators alike, less and less like charities. When federal expenditures for domestic social purposes were capped after 1976 and cut after 1980, private philanthropy was pressed to replace them. The private institutional pattern established between 1900-20, like the pattern of government support begun in the 1930s and greatly expanded in the 1960s, met with criticism. Once again philanthropic institutions, in Cleveland as throughout the U.S., were forced to reconsider priorities and their methods of operation.
Last Modified: 13 May 1998 11:00:48 AM
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