In October 1910, The City Mission opened following a mass meeting conducted by Mel Trotter. Trotter had been invited by city and church leaders to help start The City Mission here in Cleveland. The Mission’s first superintendent was Mr. George Soerheide. With Soerheide’s faithful leadership, The Mission moved from its original facility – a former saloon – at 1135 Superior Avenue to 1318 St. Clair Avenue NE in 1913, and then to a larger building at 801 East St. Clair Avenue in 1926. Services provided by the Mission included a wide variety of Bible classes and Sunday School for all ages, assistance for the homeless, food baskets for the hungry, a prison ministry, and various clubs and activities for local residents.
In 1948, Rev. Clifton Gregory became director and supervised the continuing growth of The City Mission, including a move to 408 West St. Clair Avenue in 1964. The ministry acquired a 267-acre camp in 1965, which became Grand Valley Christian Center. To address the changing needs of the homeless population, Angeline Christian Home for women and children opened in 1981. Through the time of Rev. Gregory’s retirement in 1985, the Mission continued to grow to serve the poor and forgotten in the Cleveland community.
In 1985, Rev. Harry Banfield became Director and was involved in the biggest move of our history. The City Mission moved to the current location at 5310 Carnegie Avenue in 1992. Having previously served for 15 years as the Youth Director and Associate Director, he was very familiar with the needs of the Mission. A $6.2 million fundraising campaign provided for building renovations and new construction at our campus on the corner of East 55th and Carnegie. In addition to meeting the facility needs of the Mission, Rev. Banfield worked to expand the donor base and staff numbers (both grew four-fold) and oversaw the development of long-term recovery and training services for residents.
From 1997-1998, under the leadership of Rob Cathcart vast improvements were made to our camp, Grand Valley Christian Retreat Center, and a commitment was made to increase the involvement of community, church, and individual volunteers.
From 1999-2003, Tim Campbell served as Executive Director and led The City Mission through its most ambitious capital campaign, the opening of Laura’s Home – a facility on Cleveland's west side – while at the same time more than doubling the donor base.
Today, under the leadership of Rev. Richard Trickel, Chief Executive Officer, The City Mission is a multi-faceted ministry reaching out to meet the needs of thousands in Northeast Ohio. In addition to providing physical assistance, we also offer disadvantaged people the opportunity to move from lives of poverty and dependency to stability, growth, and productivity. As a Christian ministry, we meet spiritual needs by introducing them to the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. The Mission’s goal is to provide a continuum of care that begins at each individual’s point of immediate need and move him or her along, with appropriate resources, from crisis through recovery and discipleship to integration back into family and society.