The CLEVELAND SPORTS STARS FOUNDATION was established in 1992 under the auspices of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Concern II, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization committed to funding cancer research for children. Concern II is governed by the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the Concern Foundation, the parent organization of Concern II, which began in 1967 in Los Angeles. Over 98% of all funds, raised through charitable events such as banquets and carnivals, are disbursed through a grant committee as seed money to encourage federal matching grants. Since its establishment in 1992 through June 1995, Concern II raised in excess of $250,000 for cancer research in the Greater Cleveland area.
The focal point of Concern II is the Cleveland Sports Stars Hall of Fame, which inducted its initial class of 10 athletes in April 1992. To be eligible a person must have played on a professional sports team in Cleveland, be a Cleveland resident who has participated on an Olympic team, or someone who has brought prominence to sports in Cleveland in general. Inductees to the Hall of Fame are selected by a non-partisan group of local sportswriters, sportscasters, and sports historians. Among the first to be inducted were track stars JESSE OWENS and Harrison Dillard, as well as Cleveland Indians TRIS SPEAKER, Mel Harder, and Bob Feller. In 2001, seven new members were selected, bringing the 10-year total to 73. 2001 inductees included Cleveland Indians pitcher Luis Tiant, Cleveland Browns standouts Reggie Rucker, Clay Matthews and Mike Pruitt, and local broadcasting icon Joe Tait.