About Community Foundations

The First Community Foundation: Cleveland, 1914

The first community foundation was established in Cleveland, Ohio by Frederick Harris Goff, partner in a local law firm who became interested in philanthropy through his work as an estate lawyer.

Also president of the Cleveland Trust Company, Goff launched The Cleveland Foundation in 1908. The Foundation functioned and grew as the collector for perpetual endowments, funded primarily through estate bequests.

Interest earnings from the invested endowments were disbursed to various charitable organizations by a distribution committee appointed for that purpose.