Philanthropy Ohio mourns the loss of a great leader

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The news last week of Steve Minter’s passing came as we get ready to celebrate Philanthropy Ohio’s 35th anniversary at this year’s annual meeting on Thursday – a celebration made possible in large part due to the vision Steve Minter had and made a reality. We are deeply saddened by his passing and extend our condolences to his family.

I was new to philanthropy in November 1998, when my second day on the job had me driving to Cleveland for our annual conference. That was my introduction to Steve Minter and the vision he had for philanthropy in the state. Without his vision and leadership, Philanthropy Ohio would not be the strong, dynamic organization it is today.

A little history lesson. In the mid to late 1980s, foundation leaders created two organizations to gather Ohio philanthropy for learning and collaboration: Donors Forum of Ohio (where I worked in Columbus) and Grantmakers Forum, a program entirely supported by the Cleveland Foundation under Steve Minter’s leadership. The foundation hired and paid the staff, provided office space and telephones and underwrote the cost of the Forum’s events for its members. In 1999, board members of both organizations came together to begin conversation about merging the two organizations, which resulted in Ohio Grantmakers Forum (OGF) being formed in 2000. The vision of a single, vibrant statewide association – with a strong Cleveland presence – was made possible through the incredible financial and human resources that Steve Minter committed to OGF, a practice that continued through its renaming in 2013 to Philanthropy Ohio and is still evident today. 

As Steve wrapped up his 28-year tenure at the Cleveland Foundation in 2003, the OGF Board of Trustees created the Ohio Philanthropy Award to recognize outstanding leadership in the field and gave Steve the first award in 2004. His leadership and dedication to the field became the standard for many of us not only in Ohio but across the country, as witnessed by his service on national boards and the awarding of many honors.

As Ronn Richard wrote on the Cleveland Foundation blog, “There are people you meet in your lifetime who you immediately know were put on this earth to be a powerful, life-changing force for good – Steve Minter was one of those people.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Claudia Y.W. Herrold
Senior VP, Communications & Public Policy

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