The GREATER CLEVELAND SAFETY COUNCIL has been a nationally recognized pioneer in the field of safety education and training. Organized in 1919 as the Cleveland Safety Council, it was the 3rd local council chapter established following the creation of the Natl. Safety Council in 1913. The national council, originally formed to encourage industrial safety, soon expanded its programs to include all aspects of accident prevention. The purpose of the Cleveland council, an independent, nonprofit chapter, financed by membership and contributions, was to foster and create an atmosphere of safety in the community; to carry on activities designed to reduce industrial, traffic, school, and home accidents, and to sponsor health and safety education programs. Particularly important has been its Defensive Driving courses, an ongoing program for traffic violators, industrial employees, and the general public certified by the Natl. Safety Council. The Cleveland council's program was recognized in 1939, 1943, and 1947 when it was ranked first among large cities for its traffic safety work, and in 1981 when it won the State of Ohio Grand Award for Excellence & Dedication in the Promotion of Safety. In 1988, the council's NorthCoast Road Safety Campaign and promotional poster ("The Unbuckled View," an image of Cleveland's skyline through a smashed windshield) were cited for excellence by the National Safety Council and the Ohio Department of Highway Safety.
Under the first council president, Stephen W. Tener, the council had an annual budget of $15,000. By its 75th anniversary in 1994, the council's budget exceeded $190,000 for salaries, operating costs, training programs and safety activites, as well as for the sponsorship of conferences and safety awards. A 45-member Board of Control, the continuous directing agency of the Greater Cleveland Safety Council, elects a president biannually. In 1995, John D. Perata served as the organization's president for the council's 475 corporate and individual members.