The foundation’s story begins in 1851, when the first Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine arrived in Cleveland, Ohio from France to serve as the city’s first public health nurses. As the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine congregation grew, the Sisters developed innovative and compassionate responses to address emerging community needs. They established hospitals, schools, and dozens of health and social service programs in Ohio and South Carolina.
The Sisters founded the first private hospital in Cleveland, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, in 1865 in Central Neighborhood, where it still stands today, serving the community. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland was endowed in 1996 from the proceeds of a partnership involving St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
Previously, the Sisters used the proceeds of the sale of Saint Ann Hospital in 1973 to endow the Saint Ann Foundation, the first health care conversion foundation in the United States. The Saint Ann Hospital served women and children of Cleveland for a century.
In 2006, the Saint Ann Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland merged and blended their missions and funding priorities. Today, this journey continues. The foundation’s mission is to extend the values of Jesus Christ by improving the lives of people most in need, with special attention to families, women, and children living in poverty. It works to end homelessness in Cuyahoga County, Ohio and to reduce health disparities and improve educational opportunities in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood. As a Catholic organization, the foundation extends the values of Jesus Christ through the mission of its founders—the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine—and also works to sustain the ministries of women religious.
Program Information: The Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) strategy seeks to address root causes of poor health in the Cleveland Central Neighborhood, including challenges to accessing healthy food, engaging in physical activity, and accessing economic opportunities. The foundation is also invested in strategies that address systemic challenges through the use of policy and advocacy with a goal to improve health outcomes for the most vulnerable.
Total Assets: $90,782,759 FY16
Amount Dedicated to Health-Related Grants: $627,370 FY16
- Special Initiatives and/or Representative Health and Human Services Grants
Fresh, Local and Equitable: Garden Valley Community Revitalization Project—To create equitable opportunities in the food system using arts and economic development strategies among young adults, Environmental Health Watch, in partnership with Garden Valley Neighborhood House, has launched the EATS Café Social Enterprise and implemented the History, Health, and Healing program for young adults to develop art and music projects for learning about food, culture, and wellness. The foundation’s funding was leveraged with support from The Kresge Foundation and Food Access Raises Everyone, a funding and technical assistance collaborative between Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Food Trust. ($50,000)
Children’s Health Initiative—Better Health Partnership is building a sustainable model to strengthen primary care and community resource linkages to improve children’s health, initially targeting obesity and asthma. The foundation supported the building of a network of pediatricians and community health organizations, primarily focused in the Cleveland Central Neighborhood. Partners inform data sharing system design, which will utilize EMR and non-medical community data sources as a way to link clinical health and the social determinants of health. ($100,000)
Health Value Dashboard—Health Policy Institute of Ohio was founded in 2003 through pooled funding of several foundations across Ohio, including the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. It has continued to invest in HPIO to support their efforts in providing independent and nonpartisan analyses needed to create evidence-informed state health policy. The Health Value Dashboard is a tool they developed to track Ohio’s progress towards health value — a composite measure of Ohio’s performance on population health outcomes and health care spending. The Dashboard examines Ohio’s performance relative to other states, tracks change over time, and examines Ohio’s greatest health disparities and inequities. ($60,000)
Nurse Family Partnership—The City of Cleveland, Ohio infant mortality data is staggering, with a current rate of 12.9 per 1,000 live births. Outcomes are worse for black babies born in Cleveland, Ohio, with Central Neighborhood experiencing an infant mortality rate as high as 16.5. With partial support from the foundation, MetroHealth System implemented the Nurse Family Partnership, the evidence-based national model of reducing preterm births, infant mortality, and supporting strong and healthy beginnings for babies. ($100,000)
Role of Philanthropy in Meeting Pressing Needs
“Our founding sisters’ decision to use assets from a hospital sale to create a grantmaking foundation became a powerful model of philanthropy. Today, more than 300 health care conversion foundations have followed our sisters’ lead, and are now reinvesting millions of dollars to spark innovative strategies that improve quality of life in communities across the nation.
As the field of health philanthropy continues moving forward, we face an environment that deeply calls for catalysts of civic innovation. While we must continue to support existing effective programs and services, we can create a culture of innovation in the communities we serve that supports rapid testing of ideas to find impactful and scalable solutions.”
– Susanna Krey, President