Like other industrial cities around the turn of the 20th century, Cleveland prospered and grew rapidly, earning many of its residents handsome nest eggs. Fortunately for future Clevelanders, wealthy industrialists like John D. Rockefeller, Jephta Wade and Sam Mather made a habit of digging deep to give back to their community. Generous contributions by them and people like them lead to the creation of the Metroparks system, Cleveland Orchestra, PlayhouseSquare and numerous other enduring regional assets.
Since its inception in the early 1900s, the Cleveland Foundation – the nation's first community foundation – has given away over a $1 billion. Today, organizations like the George Gund Foundation, Cleveland Foodbank, and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland join numerous other nonprofits in the task of making life better for the residents of Northeast Ohio. Beneficiaries include organizations in the fields of higher education, medicine, arts and culture, and economic development.