When it comes to philanthropy, even the smallest seeds can help to grow the biggest results.
The Cleveland Clinic Philanthropy Institute leads all of its fundraising efforts. As a non-profit healthcare system, the Cleveland Clinic’s operating model allocates all philanthropy to supports its’ mission of research, education and patient care.
“Philanthropy seeds, speeds and scales the work of our mission at the Cleveland Clinic. It is vital to our breakthroughs in the lab that translate quickly to extraordinary care at the patient’s bedside,” noted Lara Kalafatis, chair of the Cleveland Clinic Philanthropy Institute, adding that gifts of all sizes have impact.
The Cleveland Clinic launched its first major fundraising initiative in 1995 with the five-year Securing the 21st Century campaign. It had a $225 million goal to build the remainder of the research and education building, the Cancer Center and the Eye Institute. Trustee Joseph Callahan chaired the campaign. William Grimberg was recruited from Cleveland Tomorrow to head the Department of Institutional Advancement, which had the responsibility for organizing the campaign. Grimberg had worked to revitalize Playhouse Square a few years earlier and he became interested in health research and technology through his association with the Technology Leadership Council of Cleveland Tomorrow. The campaign was completed one year early, having raised more than $256 million.
The realization of the design of the Lerner Research Institute came through funding from the Securing the 21st Century campaign. It raised $190 million for building the institute, with a $16 million lead gift from Norma and Alfred Lerner. Al Lerner was president of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation from 1996 to 2002.
Plans for a new heart center, to be funded mostly through philanthropy, had been incubating since the successful completion of the Securing the 21st Century campaign. As the plans took shape, the concept emerged of a nearly one million square-foot building to house the new center, including 288 hospital beds, laboratories and outpatient facilities. The parking garage on the south side of Euclid Ave. at E. 93rd St. was replaced with a new parking and office structure. A tunnel under Euclid Ave. eased access to the facility.
To kick off the fundraising, Chair of Institutional Relations and Development Bruce Loessin announced a $300 million campaign in Oct., 2002. A 70-person leadership commission was formed, co-chaired by John Kahl Jr., president of Jack Kahl and Associates, and Robert Tomsich, chairman of NESCO. The commission included former U.S. Senator Bob Dole and Michael Feuer, founder of OfficeMax. Four hundred volunteers and friends of the Clinic held events across the country to rally support for the new center. In Sept., 2005, philanthropist Sydell Miller and her family committed $70 million to the heart center project and the building was named the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Pavilion. In 2009, the Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute was also named in their honor.
A $2.4 billion Power of Every One Centennial Campaign was announced in 2014 and ran through the end of 2021. It was led by former Clinic President Delos “Toby” Cosgrove. MD, current Clinic President Tom Mihaljevic, MD, co-chairs Larry Pollock and Stewart Kohl, campaign distinguished chair Norma Lerner, and board of directors’ chairs Bob Rich (2011 to 2019) and Beth Mooney (2019 to present).
“The Cleveland Clinic continues to grow our team within the Philanthropy Institute, especially in Florida to support our hospitals there and in London to support our newest hospital, plus our international funding,” said Cindy Fink, executive director of Philanthropy Communications. Among the Clinic’s current goals are plans to research neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and stroke the same way it has revolutionized heart care. New infrastructure for neurological care will include groundbreaking features like digital tools that begin a neurological exam as soon as a patient enters the building, measuring their walk through the hallways and their interaction with technology.
Two years of global pandemic have exposed the inequities in healthcare across our communities. Cleveland Clinic has committed to reset the field and bring opportunity and health to all. To ensure that the workforce mirrors its diverse patient population, the Clinic will address gaps that exist in the healthcare field by providing scholarships and training programs that translate into opportunities and jobs. A new Center for Maternal and Infant Health will provide prenatal care, treat medical complications during pregnancy and offer services to the family after the baby is born to ensure all are thriving.
“Every gift of every size matters at the Cleveland Clinic and there’s no better example of that than VeloSano and our Caregiver Catalyst Grants program,” Fink added. Those who want to learn more about the Philanthropy Institute can subscribe to its publications at “Cleveland Clinic Magazine has a digital edition available to the public that is published three times a year. We also publish Inbox twice a month as an e-newsletter filled with stories of philanthropy’s impact at Cleveland Clinic as well as new research findings, upcoming events and other Cleveland Clinic news,” she said.