A History of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation

Cleveland Hoadley Dodge established this foundation in the spring of 1917, when the United States entered World War I. It had an original funding of five million dollars.

Dodge was an official of the Phelps Dodge Corporation, founded in 1832 by his great-grandfather, Anson Phelps, and his grandfather, William E. Dodge. Phelps Dodge was a leading copper mining corporation, and as such, its product was in great demand for making armaments. Therefore, in 1917 its profits had soared. Dodge was determined, as he wrote to his Presbyterian pastor, that "I will not burn my pockets by keeping a cent of the money coming to me from war profits." He set up the Foundation with the very general proviso that its income should be used "for the betterment of mankind", but precluded giving to health care and medical research organizations, since he felt that money for these was "already available from other sources."

Ever since its establishment, grants have been made by the Foundation to charitable and cultural institutions in New York City. In many cases, members of the family had helped to found them and subsequent generations have continued to support them. Such institutions include: the American Museum of Natural History, the N.Y. Public Library, N.Y. Botanical Garden, Wildlife Conservation Society, Teachers College of Columbia University, the Traveler's Aid Society, Children's Aid Society, the New York City Mission Society, and International House.

In addition, there had been a long-standing family connection with Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations. The Y.M.C.A. connection included Springfield College, originally founded as a training school for their branch directors.

When he created the Foundation, Cleveland H. Dodge was deeply involved in the fate and future of the American educational institutions and relief organizations in the Near East. Two of his four children were there: his son Bayard Dodge at the American University of Beirut and his daughter Elizabeth Dodge Huntington at Robert College in Constantinople (C.H. Dodge himself was Chairman of that college's Board of Trustees). Also, he was acting as Treasurer of Near East Relief, chartered by the U.S. Congress to assist the Armenian victims of Turkish massacres. After World War I, Bayard Dodge became President of the American University of Beirut and served it with great distinction for twenty-five years. Near East Relief became the Near East Foundation and continues to provide practical aid to the region.

Today, most of the aforementioned organizations receive annual grants from the Foundation for operating expenses, plus special grants from time to time for capital expansion and improvements.

Cleveland H. Dodge inherited strong Christian principles and moral values from his forebears, developed them uniquely, and did his best to pass them on to his descendants. After he died in 1926, his son Cleveland E. Dodge became President of the Foundation and it was headed by his grandson, Cleveland E. Dodge, Jr. from 1981 to 2001. His great-grandson William Dodge Rueckert is now President.