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Sherwin Williams staff painting

Donor Spotlight: Sherwin Williams

The YMCA of Greater Cleveland is grateful for the long-standing support of The Sherwin-Williams Company. A great Cleveland corporate citizen for more than 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has not only provided philanthropic support, but it’s also offered leadership and engagement with your local YMCA since the earliest years of our organization.  

The Sherwin-Williams Co, a pioneer in the development of the paint industry, was established in Cleveland in 1866 by Henry A. Sherwin. Sherwin was the president of the company from 1870 to 1909, and chairman of the board until his death in 1916. He was connected with the YMCA from its founding in Cleveland and served long tenures as its adviser and president. In honor of his contributions to our Y, we have named one of our Board of Directors Chair as the H.A. Sherwin Chair, which today held by Justin Binns, Performance Group Coatings President at the corporation. 

Yet, there is much more to our relationship with Sherwin-Williams. Back in 1870, Sereno Peck Fenn, a clerk in the Cleveland freight office of the Cleveland, Columbus, & Indianapolis Railroad left his job rather than go contrary to his religious belief against doing unnecessary work on Sundays. While his convictions costed him one job, Fenn’s strong beliefs were a major factor in his hiring as cashier-bookkeeper by Henry Sherwin in the newly organized Sherwin-Williams paint company.  

Fenn rose quickly through the company becoming a treasurer, partner, major stockholder and one of Sherwin-Williams’ original incorporators. His diligent management was responsible for the company’s sound financial policies and a high rating with local banks. Fenn’s influence was also felt outside of Sherwin-Williams, serving as a director of the Cleveland YMCA from 1868-1920 and as its President for 25 years.

For many decades, the H.A. Sherwin Fund and The S.P. Fenn Foundation have provided substantial support for the programs and operations of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.

The Sherwin-Williams Company has not only continued its engagement and support of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, but it has also embraced the spirit of philanthropy and community service throughout its organization, hosting community service days, employee giving months and partnering with hundreds of nonprofit organizations over the years.

According to Laura Polachek, Coordinator of The Community Engagement Team at Sherwin-Williams “… back to our local communities has always been core to who we are, and an important component of how we deliver value to our customers. Our charitable efforts focus on access to safe and healthy housing, advancing a skilled workforce that sustains inclusive, vibrant communities, and beautifying and preserving assets around the world. In addition, we are proud to support the programs and initiatives that are most important to our employees.  A significant component of our charitable strategy is helping our employees engage with the organizations that are important to them. We are pleased to have Justin Binns, President, Performance Coatings Group at Sherwin-Williams, serving on the YMCA of Greater Cleveland’s Board of Directors, and are proud to support his commitment to the YMCA. “

This year, The Sherwin-Williams Company provided the YMCA of Greater Cleveland with a $5,000 donation to support summer campership scholarships for families in need. The company will again support the YMCA throughout its employee giving campaign held in October. 

For its leadership, engagement, generosity and spirit of community giving, the Sherwin-Williams Company is a shining light in Northeast