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Mission & History

This video was produced by Second Story Productions to illuminate the Woodruff Foundation's history and interests, and to honor the 2008 Woodruff Prize award winner, EDEN, Inc.


The Woodruff Foundation was established in 1986 to enhance, through financial support, the development and delivery of mental health services in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The Woodruff Foundation welcomes grant requests from tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations located in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, whose work addresses behavioral health through the following focus areas:

  • treatment
  • education and prevention
  • coordination of resources in the community
  • research.

Currently, the Foundation prioritizes efforts that improve collaboration among agencies or between systems and/or that integrate behavioral health with primary care.

The Foundation will consider requests for support of capital or program expenses, but does not consider requests for general operating expenses, endowment, scholarships, fellowships, annual fund raising campaigns, or general solicitations for funds. Grants will generally be awarded on a one-year basis. The Woodruff Foundation's general policy is to make only one grant per year directly to an organization. The Foundation does, however, encourage collaboration and partnership among its grantees. The Foundation will consider joint requests from partner agencies, even if one of the partner agencies has already received a grant individually or plans to submit a separate request.


Treatment - Interventions to address mild, moderate, and severe mental illness and addiction. Includes medication management, therapy, counseling, case management, vocational supports, housing, peer support, and recreation.

Education - Efforts to train new behavioral health workers and provide professional development to those working in the field. Also, efforts to instill knowledge about mental health and mental illness and drug and alcohol use and abuse in the general public or in specific at-risk groups.

Prevention - Programs to prevent risky behaviors, to enhance strengths, or to develop competencies that can help to impede further development of mental illness and/or addiction.
Coordination of Resources - The process through which providers or systems are brought into partnership in order to improve access and/or quality of care.

Research - Systematic investigation of questions related to any aspect of mental health, mental illness, or addiction.
Collaboration - Work conducted jointly by two or more organizations or stakeholders. Examples of collaboration might include joint program development, shared staffing, programs to establish shared purchasing, one organization training another to deliver certain interventions, mergers, or consolidations.

Integration - Any systematic coordination of behavioral health and primary care, including collaboration, co-location, and other models.


The Woodruff Foundation traces its history to the opening of a mental health hospital in 1935 by Mabel A. Woodruff, a World War I Army nurse who became a psychiatric social worker. Appalled by conditions in existing mental health care facilities, she borrowed $800 on her own life insurance, and with funds from friends and supporters, founded a private institution in Cleveland where "one could obtain good care, good food and kindness at the lowest possible cost".

Ms. Woodruff opened her hospital in the old Higbee mansion on Cleveland’s Ingleside Avenue. It was first called the Ingleside Hospital and retained that name when it moved to the former Severance mansion at 8821 Euclid Avenue in 1937. Shortly after Ms. Woodruff died in 1963, the hospital was renamed in her honor.

By 1968, Woodruff Hospital had increased its capacity from 40 beds to 98 beds and had built a modern facility on East 89th Street, which became the largest private psychiatric hospital in northeast Ohio.

As the needs of patients changed, Woodruff Hospital developed specialized treatment programs to meet those needs. Besides its general inpatient treatment and substance abuse programs, Woodruff pioneered specialties in dual diagnosis and victimization. The adolescent program, in particular, became widely respected and served as a model for other hospitals locally and nationally.

By the 1980s, however, many local hospitals had mental health programs and the changes in the health care field led the Trustees to develop a new strategy.

In May 1986, the licensed beds and mental health programs were transferred to St. Vincent Charity Hospital and Health Center. The six-acre property of Woodruff Hospital was purchased by The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Proceeds from the sale of the hospital were used to provide the capital to establish the Woodruff Foundation.

The Woodruff Foundation continues the caring tradition of Mabel Woodruff by making grants for programs that address the unmet needs in mental health and chemical dependency in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.