Philanthropy Community Mourns Passing of Former Cleveland Foundation CEO Steven A. Minter

The late Steve Minter (left) and current Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard.  Photo Credit: The Cleveland Foundation

The late Steve Minter (left) and current Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard.

Photo Credit: The Cleveland Foundation

The philanthropic community is mourning a beloved leader and celebrating the legacy of Cleveland Foundation CEO Steven A. Minter. Minter died September 19, 2019, at the age of 80.

Minter, who was the first African-American leader of a community foundation and the Cleveland Foundation’s eighth chief executive, led the foundation from 1984 to 2003, and added $1 billion to the foundation’s endowment.

Friends and colleagues describe Minter as a dedicated and passionate public servant and an inspiring leader who brought out the best in those around him.

“He was an inspired teacher, and most important, an incredible friend to whom we are deeply saddened to say goodbye,” said Cleveland Foundation President and chief executive Ronn Richard. “It is exceedingly difficult to lose this man, among the very best we’ll meet, but it is heartening to know that he now joins his beloved Dolly. I am certain his example will continue to lift the people and city he loved for decades to come.”

Minter grew up in Akron, Ohio, and began his career as a social worker.  He became chief executive of the Cleveland Foundation in 1984 at the age of 46, and remained committed to “what he came to call the enduring issues of public education, jobs, housing and health care -- the issues that define our work to this very day” throughout his entire career, including 30 years at the Cleveland Foundation, Richard says. 

During his tenure, Minter grew endowment of the Cleveland Foundation -- the world’s first such foundation -- to more than $1 billion , while increasing its annual grant making by 450 percent. 

When Minter retired in 2003, the Council on Foundations gave him the Distinguished Grantmaker Award for lifetime achievement in philanthropy.

U.S. congresswoman Marcia Fudge said Minter’s legacy will endure in the Cleveland area: “He worked tirelessly to empower the less fortunate and build a diverse, inclusive community, benefitting the residents of Greater Cleveland. For more than 60 years, Steve brought people together to work on important issues, from education and housing to civil rights and ending the cycle of poverty. His legacy will survive through the lives he touched, the people he inspired, and the community he helped shape through his lifetime of service. He will be greatly missed,” Fudge said.

Amanda Palleschi