Rainbow Babies Children’s Hospital: Caring for Children for Over 100 Years.

The Story

The story of University Hospitals Rainbow Babies Childrens Hospital is really the story of two hospitals – Rainbow Hospital and Babies and Children’s Hospital. Rainbow Hospital prior to joining Children’s Corporation was an independent hospital but joined Babies and Children’s Hospital of University Hospitals of Cleveland in a new building in 1971.

Over 100 years ago…

Over 100 years ago in 1887, nine young women from prominent, wealthy families came together on Thanksgiving Day. They formed a Circle of King’s Daughters which was a national sisterhood with a mission for “a perfect determination to relieve suffering.” They dubbed themselves the Rainbow Circle of King’s Daughters and met to discuss how they could help poor children in the Cleveland area. Their vision was to provide a place for sick children to recover. They made plans and business outlines then started to raise money through charity balls and bed subscriptions.

sitting baby girl in lilac onsie surrounding by floating flowers looking at the camera with her blue eyes and smiling

The Journey

  • 1891: They opened Rainbow Cottage in Glenville on farmland that overlooked Lake Erie. This location cared for 32 children that summer and by 1986 was open all year round.
  • 1900: A second location for Rainbow Cottage was built in South Euclid but was destroyed by a fire in 1904.
  • 1905: Leased a site in Novak Village.
  • Sometime between 1905 and 1913: Rainbow limited its admissions to convalescent children with surgical histories to avoid overlapping with other local agencies.
  • 1914: Rainbow Cottage got a name change. Instead of Rainbow Cottage, they were now called Rainbow Hospital for Crippled and Convalescent Children. In 1923 a nursery school opened and was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. This was one of the first established within a hospital.
a baby in a lilac onsie and floating flowers around her staring curiously at the camera
  • 1927: Rainbow Hospital participated with University Hospitals in a $6 million capital campaign. This enabled Lakeside Hospital to move to University Circle. It also provided Rainbow with a completely new modern hospital in South Euclid.
  • 1928: The new Rainbow Hospital remained at the Green Road site until 1971.
  • 1937: A three-wing classroom was added to Rainbow Hospital. This was called the Bingham School in honor of Charles W. Bingham, who was the father of Mrs. Dudley S. Blossom, Sr., and Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton.
  • 1906: Rainbow Cottage and Babies and Children’s Hospital shared a similar vision and commitment. They were both people who cared about the health needs of Cleveland’s children, especially the poor children.
  • 1906: Dr. John Lowman was a Lakeside Hospital physician. He was also a representative of the Milk Fund Association (1899) and the Visiting Nurse Association. Dr. Edward F. Cushing was Lakeside Hospital’s “physician to the children’s department.” Dr. Lowman, Dr. Cushing and community leaders conjoined to establish the Infants’ Clinic. After one year, it was incorporated as the Babies Dispensary and Hospital.
  • 1911: A new building opened containing clinics and a milk laboratory. The Babies Dispensary Hospital concentrated on the care of sick babies. These babies well-child care was provided by a network of branch clinics throughout the city.
  • 1920s: Babies and Children’s Hospital joined the Maternity Hospital in a fundraiser to build new hospitals within University Circle.
  • 1925: New Babies and Children’s Hospital opened. Babies and Children’s Hospital joined with Lakeside Hospital and Maternity Hospital to form University Hospitals of Cleveland.
  • 1926: Rainbow Hospital affiliated with University Hospitals.
  • 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s: Physicians at Babies and Children’s Hospital conducted pioneering research in multiple areas:
  1. Cystic fibrosis
  2. Maternal and infant bonding
  3. Pediatric cardiology
  4. Orthopedics
  5. Sought new ways to deliver care
  6. Development of the PICU and NICU
  7. Renewed approach to family-centered care was inaugurated in the early 1970s.
little girl in a lilac onsie with floating flowers surrounding her as she looks in awe at a flower
  • 1971: A new children’s hospital was built. This hospital housed Babies and Children’s Hospital and Rainbow Hospital.
  • 1974: Both hospitals were combined under one Board of Trustees which legally ended the separation between the operations of Rainbow Hospital and Babies and Children’s Hospital.
  • 1985: Contruction started for a new addition to the 1971 structure.
  • 1997: A new 190-bed Leonard and Joan Horvitz Tower, the most technologically advanced and family-oriented pediatric facility in the nation, was dedicated on April 5, 1997, and opened on April 15.
  • 1998: Rainbow Babies Children’s Hospital Board of Trustees voted to change their organizational structure to a tax-exempt, charitable supporting organization of Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital of the University Hospitals of Cleveland. During the next several years, the Board worked hard to clarify the mission statement.
  • 2004: The Board adopted new statements of their mission and vision. These new statements underpin all Board goals, strategies and activities.
  • 2005: In May at the Annual Meeting, the Board changed the name to Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation.

The Mission

Our mission as the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Foundation is to support, promote and enhance University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in achievement of its mission of delivering the highest quality health care to children.

baby looking up at camera with a lime slice in her hand while sitting in a clear tub milk bath and lime slices

The Purpose

Rainbow Babies Children’s Hospital knows that no one is more vulnerable and deserving of generosity than a child. For multiple generations, their Board of Trustees advocate and raise financial support to benefit children who live here in Northeast Ohio and farther.

Rainbow Babies Children’s Hospital Foundation is a supporting, not-for-profit University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s. The excellence of the Hospital is crucial to Cleveland. It is the key to allowing Cleveland to be a thriving community, offer a high quality of life and is a key element in attracting and retaining people to the area. This plays a large role in social and economic vitality to all of Northeast Ohio.

The Power of Giving:

  • Micro-Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Family & Child Services
  • Legacy of Giving
  • Leadership Fund & Trustee Giving
  • Advocating for Childrens Health

Ready for more Cleveland content?

If you’re ready for more Cleveland content, then don’t skip over the blog links below! Before you go, check out my family photography portfolio and get inspired to start to conversation about your maternity, newborn or family session!

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