The AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION, NORTHEAST OHIO AFFILIATE, INC., is a nonprofit, voluntary health organization working to reduce heart disease, stroke, and related disorders. Supported by private contributions, the association funds medical research, professional and public education, and community programs. A group of eminent cardiologists founded the national association in 1924 as a professional society. In 1948 it reorganized as the Heart Society, a national voluntary health agency involving lay people in combating cardiovascular disease. Greater Cleveland's affiliation with the association began in February 1948 with the first annual Heart Fund Drive. Five years later, the Northeast Ohio Chapter initiated Heart Sunday. This one-day door-to-door solicitation campaign became a nationwide observance and the largest single source of income nationwide for the association. During the 1950s and 1960s, the association funded research in Cleveland hospitals that resulted in the development of the heart-lung machine, the coronary bypass, and therapeutic treatments for heart disease.
During the late 1960s, the Northeast Ohio Chapter proposed a plan to join with the Cancer Society and the Health Fund in a trial program to determine whether family contributions garnered amounts comparable to separate solicitations. Later, in the "Cleveland Plan," all three organizations joined in raising funds from business and industry, and by payroll deduction. In 1974 the Northeast Ohio Chapter qualified for direct national affiliation, having raised one million dollars for three consecutive years and serving an area of at least two million people, including a major research and teaching center. Serving eight Ohio counties since 1948, the Northeast Ohio affiliate joined New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago as the fourth metropolitan association in the nation. Historically, the organization has allocated more than forty percent of its unrestricted divisible funds to research. In 1994-95 research dollars in northeast Ohio totaled one million dollars; thirty-two local researchers received local AHA support. In August of 2004, the organization reported that seventy-nine researchers from the >CCF, >Case, and MetroHealth Medical Center were engaged in research projects funded by $12,298,371 in American Heart Association grants. In 2005 the Cleveland headquarters was located at 1689 East 115th Street.