Mission & History

Our History:

The City Mission began in October of 1910, when Cleveland’s city, business and church leaders encouraged Mel Trotter to establish a mission in the city. Trotter, a former alcoholic, had helped to found 66 other rescue missions during his lifetime. Two public meetings were held and a collection was taken. The next day, in an abandoned saloon on Superior Avenue, The City Mission opened.

Generations of men, women and children have received assistance, encouragement and loving support through programs that met both basic needs and provided the tools to build hope, overcome obstacles and achieve self-sufficiency. 

In October 1910, Cleveland’s city, business and church leaders encouraged Mel Trotter to establish a mission in the city. Trotter, a former alcoholic, had helped to found 66 other rescue missions during his lifetime. Two public meetings were held and a collection was taken. The next day, in an abandoned saloon at 1135 Superior Avenue, The City Mission opened.  The first change of venue took place three years later to 1318 St. Clair Avenue NE.

In 1926, a larger building was needed and the Mission moved to 801 East St. Clair. Services provided at the time 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 1964, The City Mission relocated again to 408 West St. Clair Avenue and acquired a 267-acre camp the next year, which became Grand Valley Christian Center.

In 1981, the Mission opened Angeline Christian Home.  “A first for the city’s homeless women.” According to The Plain Dealer.

1985, saw the biggest move of our history to our current main campus at 5310 Carnegie Avenue in 1992.

From 1999-2003, The City Mission executed its most ambitious capital campaign, resulting in the opening of Laura’s Home – a complete facility for women and children on Cleveland's west side – while at the same time more than doubling the donor base.

In 2005, the Mission strengthened its programming by implementing standardized, measurable outcomes for client progress.

Today, The City Mission is a holistic ministry that exists to serve men, women and children at their point of crisis by progressing them towards stability, employment and independent housing. Our programs function to enable the at-risk, in crisis or incarcerated to live self-sufficient lives of faith, productivity and excellence. This dynamic ministry provides essential community services such as adult education, vocational training, job readiness training, mental health counseling, youth programming, re-entry, spiritual direction and much more.

Through wars, depression, economic recession, and decades of change for the city of Cleveland, dedicated men and women worked hard and adapted to meet the changing needs of those experiencing crisis.