The RAINEY INSTITUTE, founded in 1904 as a settlement house, encourages self-confidence and self-discipline among HOUGH-area residents through music, dance and other arts programs. Eleanor B. Rainey created the institute to support the efforts of Anna Edwards, who had been providing physical, industrial, and moral training, as well as wholesome recreational facilities, for the people in the community around E. 55th St. and St. Clair Ave. Rainey built a house to accommodate these activities and provided financial support. When she died in 1905, the building was named the Eleanor B. Rainey Memorial Institute. During the next 20 years, the Rainey family supported the institute through the WOMEN'S PHILANTHROPIC UNION. Edwards managed the institute until her death in 1923, when her sister, Flora Edwards, became director. In 1949 Jessie L. Peloubet, daughter of an early institute associate, succeeded Edwards and remained director until 1959.

That year, trustees joined the Neighborhood Settlement Assn. (later the GREATER CLEVELAND NEIGHBORHOOD CTRS. ASSN.). In 1960 they hired a full-time social worker to direct the institute and, the next year, organized a board of managers. Rainey Institute later joined the Welfare Fed. Since 1967 the institute, under the direction of Zandra Richards, has cooperated with the CLEVELAND MUSIC SCHOOL SETTLEMENT, offering music theory and therapy, dance, and private instrumental classes. Located at 1523 E. 55th St., Rainey also offers art and creative writing, and operates a Head Start facility and a summer camp. UNITED WAY SERVICES monies, foundation and government grants, fees and private donations supplement the E.B. Rainey Endowment funding. By the 1990s, Rainey Institute served about 225 children annually in its programs, which had expanded to include drama and African dance. In 1995 Zandra Richards was executive director.

Rainey moved to new headquarters at  1705 E. 55th in 2011. In 2018 Jennifer Harris was named executive director of Rainey Institute.

Updated by Gretchen Norton 

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Finding Aid for the Eleanor B. Rainey Memorial Institute Records, WRHS.


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"Rainey Institute, 60th Anniversary, 1904-1964" (Xerox pamphlet, 1964).

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