More than a century of good works and making a difference
1900 - 1913
In the mid-to-late 1890’s, financial hardships in Cleveland forced large numbers of people to seek employment and relief. Public pressure significantly increased for the consolidation and greater coordination of welfare agencies and services. This led to the formation of the Committee on Benevolent Associations (precursor of today’s United Way of Greater Cleveland) under the aegis of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce in 1900.
In the early 1900’s a Chamber of Commerce survey revealed more than 50 charitable institutions in the city with each conducting a separate campaign for support. By 1906 the Chamber created the formation of the Cleveland Federation for Charity and Philanthropy to organize charitable giving. In 1912, a board of directors was established; and an “open door” policy for agency membership was clearly stated – designated gifts were recognized, agencies were free to solicit donations from persons; benefit bazaars, galas, and other entertainments were eliminated; and member agencies were required to present reports on activities to the board and open their books to it.