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. Specifically, the Foundation seeks to fund projects that will foster and enhance:
- the treatment of persons affected by mental disorders and chemical dependency
- educational programs related to mental health
- the coordination of mental health resources in the community
- research into the causes, nature and recurrence of mental illness
Given the rapid changes that are transpiring in local mental health and substance abuse services, the Trustees have adopted the following as high priority areas of interest:
- encouraging the implementation of innovative prevention and treatment programs
- strengthening the effectiveness of existing service delivery systems
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.