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Our story begins in 1851 when the first Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine arrived in Cleveland, Ohio from France to serve as the city’s first public health nurses.

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Our story begins in 1851 when the first Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine arrived in Cleveland, Ohio from France to serve as the city’s first public health nurses. As the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine congregation grew, the Sisters developed innovative and compassionate responses to address emerging community needs. They established hospitals, schools and dozens of health and social service programs in Ohio and South Carolina.

The Sisters founded the first private hospital, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, in 1865 in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood where it still stands today, serving the community. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland was endowed in 1996 from the proceeds of a partnership involving St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. Two other foundations, in Canton, Ohio and South Carolina, were also established with proceeds from hospital partnerships in those areas.

Previously, the Sisters used the proceeds of the sale of Saint Ann Hospital in 1973 to endow the Saint Ann Foundation, the first health care conversion foundation in the United States. The Saint Ann Hospital served women and children of Cleveland for a century.

In 2006, the Saint Ann Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland merged and blended their missions and funding priorities. That same year, the foundation charted a new course to honor our heritage by embarking on a journey to strategically direct our work and investments. Our strategies focused on issues of homelessness, health and education disparities, with a special attention to the Central Neighborhood of Cleveland, and supporting women religious whose ministries have historically addressed these issues and so many more.

Today, this journey continues.


1851 – A small number of Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine arrive in Cleveland, at the behest of Bishop Amadeus Rappe, the first bishop of Cleveland.

1856 – The Sisters open St. Vincent Orphanage.

1865 – The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine open the first private hospital in Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood, St. Vincent Charity Hospital. The hospital’s first patients included soldiers returning from the Civil War. The hospital, now named St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, still serves the community today.

1873 – The Sisters open Saint Ann Hospital and Infant Home to care for unmarried mothers and neglected children.

1973 – 1974 – After a century of serving women and children, the Sisters sell Saint Ann Hospital. The Sisters use the proceeds to establish the Saint Ann Foundation, the first health care conversion foundation in the United States.

1996 – The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland was endowed from the proceeds of a partnership involving St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. Two other foundations, in Canton, Ohio and South Carolina, were also established with proceeds from hospital partnerships in those areas.

2006 – The Saint Ann Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland merge and blend their missions and funding priorities.

That same year, the foundation charted a new course to honor our heritage by strategically directing our work and investments. Our strategies focused on issues of homelessness, health and education disparities, with a special attention to the Central Neighborhood of Cleveland, and supporting women religious whose ministries have historically addressed these issues and so many more. Today this journey continues.

2010 – The foundation takes the lead to establish the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood, a collaborative initiative with residents, the school district, other funders and organizations and agencies working to ensure all children in the neighborhood start school ready, go to good schools and graduate from high school and go on to college or other post-secondary education and a career.

Our Founding Congregation

The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine is a congregation of women religious who, since their founding in 1851, have carried forward a faith-based legacy of high-quality, compassionate care.

This document provides background information about the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine’s charism, mission and history, which includes more than 164 years of responsive ministry and a quest for social justice.



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Our New Location

The new offices of the Sisters of Charity Foundation received a blessing and special dedication in November, 2015.

Click here to view the booklet that was published for that occasion, remembering the past and sharing a vision for the future.

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