A Trust in Cleveland

The Jarrett Family

Meet the Jarrett Family

Numbers always played a big role in Jerry and Martha’s lives. After all, Jerry was a lifetime banker, and the former CEO of Cleveland Trust Co. Consider the numbers:

-A $10,000 inheritance in the 1950s paid for Jerry’s tuition at Harvard Business School, where he earned a master of business administration.
-After 10 years rising in the ranks at a New York City bank, Jerry came to Cleveland as an executive vice president at Cleveland Trust Co.
-For more than 40 years, the Jarrett’s made Cleveland their home, giving back to a variety of local causes.
-For 10 years, Jerry served as a board member at the Cleveland Foundation, where the couple began the Jarrett Family Fund.
-The Jarrett’s $2.8 million estate gift leaves a lasting legacy at local nonprofits for generations to come.

Behind the Numbers
But numbers alone can’t convey the whole of this couple’s incredible generosity. Jerry’s years of service at Cleveland Trust Co. left an unforgettable impression on the local banking and civic communities, and also gave the family a true sense of home.

“The opportunity to come to Cleveland in a leadership position really changed his life,” said his son Chuck Jarrett, one of four Jarrett children, who serves as chief legal officer for The Progressive Corporation. “He said on more than one occasion, ‘Cleveland has been really good to our family, and we want to give back to that community.’”

Jerry did so by serving on the boards of United Way of Greater Cleveland (he chaired the 1986 campaign that raised more than $47 million) and Up With People, a music, service and learning organization for young people. Martha was no stranger to philanthropic leadership either—she helped organize a 1976 Up With People fundraiser at Blossom Music Center that drew 18,000 people to support adults and children with learning disabilities.

The couple provided steady support to a range of local nonprofits, and Jerry served on the boards of many of them, including the Salvation Army National Advisory Board, Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Orchestra, The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland and the Cleveland Foundation.

“My parents both believed that if you are going to do something, do it right,” Chuck said. “Embrace a cause and take it as far as you can – participate at a significant level.”

Jerry lost Martha, his wife of 59 years, in 2012, and he passed away in May of 2014 at the age of 82. Before their deaths, they established their primary estate gift with the Cleveland Foundation, in honor of Jerry’s service on the board from 1988 to 1998. Through the couple’s $2.8 million gift, the Jarrett Family Fund of the Cleveland Foundation was created.

With support from the Cleveland Foundation, Jerry and Martha crafted their gift to allow for annual grants to two area institutions, with a balance maintained in the family’s fund at the Cleveland Foundation. The family will have the ability, through the fund, to make grants to support the causes they care most about.

“(Dad) believed in the Cleveland Foundation as an organization that could protect community endowment,” Chuck said. “He believed in the mission of saving for a stronger community in the future.”

The couple leaves a legacy of leadership, charity, and compassion that will impact Greater Cleveland for generations to come.


Martha McCabe Jarrett and former Cleveland Trust Co. CEO Jerry Jarrett in Cleveland in the 1970s.

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The Jarrett family gathers for a group photo on vacation in Mancos, Colorado, in 2000.

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Always Cleveland proud, Jerry sports a Cleveland Indians pin on his lapel.

Did You Know?

Jerry Jarrett served as President and CEO of the Cleveland Trust Co., a position held decades prior by the Cleveland Foundation’s founder, Frederick Goff.

Talk of the Town

“Jerry and Martha are an example of a couple who gave their all to enhance the lives of those in our community. Now, their children can carry out their legacy in supporting family, education and health.”

—Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation.