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The McGregor Foundation

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Dedicated to Supporting Cleveland’s Elders

The Foundation is an outgrowth of its parent program, The A.M. McGregor Home, a nonprofit provider of aging services and residential care and housing across the entire continuum of need. It has served vulnerable seniors in greater Cleveland for more than a century.

The Home began in 1877, when legendary Cleveland philanthropist Amasa Stone, an early supporter of John D. Rockefeller and the founders of Standard Oil, and his wife, Julia, built and endowed one of the first private organizations in Cleveland specifically for the care of seniors - the Home for Aged Women. The generosity of Ambrose M. McGregor, Rockefeller’s first employee, and his wife Tootie fueled subsequent growth. 

From Service Provider to Foundation

The idea of creating a foundation began with a growing awareness among McGregor Board members that the McGregor Home could leverage its substantial endowment by expanding beyond the array of services the Home provided directly and funding other organization that shared McGregor’s mission. That idea was included in a new strategic plan developed in 1999.

Rob Hilton, president and chief executive officer of The A.M. McGregor Group, was board chairman at the time, and accepted the board’s invitation to lead the newly restructured and expanded organization. He has served in that capacity ever since.

The McGregor Foundation made its first grant in May 2002. Early on, much of its funding went toward research into affordable housing for seniors, and especially to support Robyn Stone’s work at the Leading Age Center for Applied Research, headquartered in Washington, DC.
“In the 12 years since then,” says Hilton, “we’ve given more than $11 million in about 400 grants, most in the $1,000 to $50,000 range, and we continue to do that at a rate of $700,000 to           $1 million per year. At the same time, we’ve nearly quintupled our direct care operations separate from our grantmaking.”

Housing, Workforce, and Quality of Life
The Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on:

  • Helping provide economically disadvantaged and/or frail older adults with home and community-based care, primarily by building out the infrastructure and services to support affordable senior housing;
  • Encouraging workforce development through educational and training opportunities; and
  • Developing quality of life programming, primarily in the arts, for seniors in all settings.

Grantmaking in community-based care includes support for building affordable senior housing units through pre-development grants and program-related-investments (PRIs), as well as services that range from transportation, clinical, wellness, chore services, and cultural programs to the whole range of healthy housing concerns, such as asbestos and lead abatement and the installation of fire alarms, stair rails, bathroom grab-bars, and more.

In education and professional training, McGregor grants fund curriculum development in geriatric medicine, nursing, and social work, but also unique, innovative programs such as one that outfitted specialized classrooms for training in various aspects of gerontology. “We outfitted a van as a dentist's office for Case Western University School of Dentistry,” Hilton says. “They send this van into neighborhoods with high concentrations of low income seniors, and provide basic dental services. The van is staffed by several dental students and professors.”

Quality of life grants have gone to programs such as the Cleveland TOPS Swingband Foundation for its community outreach; and Music and Performing Arts at Trinity Cathedral, Inc., for its Brownbag Concert Series at Trinity Cathedral; among many others.

McGregor and GIA
GIA has played a role in the Foundation’s story since its inception. Once McGregor’s Board had adopted the 1999 strategic plan, Hilton approached Bob Eckhart at The Cleveland Foundation for some advice about how to move forward. Eckhart put him in touch with Carol Farquhar, who was GIA’s executive director at the time.

Hilton immediately began attending GIA’s annual conference. In 2003, he joined the organization’s board, where he served for nine years - several of them as vice chair.  

He remains appreciative of GIA’s role in the aging philanthropy community. “Of all the aging conference education programs, GIA has the best. I'm so proud of the organization, of the conference they put together, and of all they’ve done for foundations like McGregor.”

 

 

Help us pursue our mission and strengthen grantmaking to support the needs and potential of older people.