The HEALTH FUND OF GREATER CLEVELAND, a nonprofit organization, coordinated health funding in Cleveland from its incorporation on 31 July 1959 to 30 Sept. 1977, when the Health Council of United Torch Services (see UNITED WAY SERVICES) assumed the task. It raised $590,000 in 1962, topping all city fund drives for health causes that year. The first participating agencies were the SOCIETY FOR CRIPPLED CHILDREN OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY, INC., the Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation, the DIABETES ASSN. OF GREATER CLEVELAND, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Kidney Disease Foundation (see the KIDNEY FOUNDATION OF OHIO). Six agencies comprised the fund at its dissolution: the Arthritis Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Diabetes Assn., the Hemophilia Foundation, the Kidney Disease Foundation, and the Muscular Disease Society. The fund organized to consolidate and oversee solicitation and disbursement of funds by local nonprofit groups which supported research or education in disease prevention. The fund evolved indirectly from recommendations (since 1946) for such a united campaign by the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and the Community Chest. Its direct inspiration lay in the Combined Health Collections organized by WOMEN in SUBURBS such as SOUTH EUCLID, GATES MILLS, MIDDLEBURG HTS., HUNTING VALLEY, MORELAND HILLS and CHAGRIN FALLS VILLAGE (1958-59). On 14 May 1959 75 representatives of 26 suburbs, health agencies, and the media appointed George Willis and HELEN E. WILLIAMS URBAN co-chairs of a combined health drive for Greater Cleveland. About a dozen people served on the Allocations Committee, half of them physicians, a fourth from a list prepared by Welfare Federation of Cleveland, and the rest selected by the Health Fund's president and trustees. The fund supported not only agencies and institutions but also individual health researchers, educators, or care providers. Its first campaign raised $402,000.
The Chamber of Commerce backed the Health Fund but other groups (such as the CLEVELAND FEDERATION OF LABOR) and some charitable agencies (such as the Anti-Tuberculosis League) opposed yet another fundraising effort. On 24 June 1966 the Cuyahoga Unit of the American Cancer Society and the AMERICAN HEART ASSN., NORTHEAST OHIO AFFILIATE combined with the fund's campaign. The result was called the Cleveland Plan. The same week, however, the Society for Crippled Children left the fund. Controversy as to the most efficient and productive method of fundraising flared through the next decade among the city's prominent voluntary health agencies, some of which left the fund. This competition contributed to the dissolution of the Health Fund in 1977, with the remaining monies divided among member agencies.