United Way of Greater Cleveland http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:05:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Student steers her own ‘Stuff the Bus’ book drive http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/student-steers-her-own-stuff-the-bus-book-drive/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/student-steers-her-own-stuff-the-bus-book-drive/#respond Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:04:58 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5093 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

The third annual “Stuff the Bus with Books” campaign raised more than 12,500 books for United Way of Greater Cleveland to distribute to area students, with more than 2,500 coming from an area high school student. Julia Foos and her parents ran their own book drive, donating the proceeds to the “Stuff the Bus” campaign.JuliaFoos_Web

Nearly 50 companies and individuals started compiling the collection in early April, which will be distributed to 12 CMSD schools, five Club Connect schools, and Cleveland Public Library.

Barely out of her freshman year at Hathaway Brown in Shaker Heights, Julia Foos and her parents collected 2,536 books through her “Books Offer Opportunities for Kids” (BOOK) project.

“I read a statistic that said only one in 300 kids in Cleveland have books to read,” she said. “I don’t think I could have grown up without books and books are an important part of childhood, so I thought some kids in Cleveland really need books and I should probably help them out.”

Word of mouth

Originally, Foos told her family members about the drive, but support grew as word spread. Julia’s mother collected books from fellow teachers at North Olmsted City Schools, Foos said. This was the Foos family’s second book drive, having completed one during the 2015 Christmas season.

“I did a drive in December for my Christmas project,” Foos said. “Our family does something every Christmas where we try to help out people who maybe don’t have as much as we do.

“I got about 500 then, and [this time] I told some of the teachers [at her mother’s school] and then they told other teachers, and they told other teachers, so it just spread by word of mouth.”

Foos and her father, Kevin, dropped their boxes of books at Westlake Porter Public Library, June 15, which was the closest “Stuff the Bus” collection point to her. The books were picked up with the rest of the donations and held until distribution. Foos said she hopes to continue the project and collect more books for students at Cleveland schools.

Shanette Buford-Brazzell, special events manager at United Way of Greater Cleveland, was in charge of organizing the “Stuff the Bus” event, in partnership with the Cleveland Indians, Depend, Nationwide, RTA and UPS. She was also who Julia Foos reached out to to be able to hold her own book drive.

“She heard about United Way’s Stuff the Bus and had decided to hold a book drive for us,” Buford-Brazzell, said. “Her book drive was successful and she donated her books.”

Preventing ‘summer slide’

The United Way book drive also raised an estimated $1,595 in its “Inspire Their Next Adventure” digital campaign. This money will be used to purchase new books in honor of the individuals who donated to the campaign, Buford-Brazzell said.

“The books are going to go to 12 CMSD schools to be part of their summer learning program, our [five] club connect schools, and Cleveland Public Library Main Branch, Memorial-Nottingham, Fleet and Westpark branch,” she said. “[The CPL branches] participated as collection points and asked us to be recipients of the book distribution.

This book drive is meant to help prevent “summer slide,” which is when students lose one to three months of the academic progress they have made during the summer, putting them further behind at the beginning of next school year, According to Dr. Harris Cooper, a Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor.

The books were picked up from collection sites June 16 by three teams from UPS, who partnered with United Way of Greater Cleveland. They were then taken to Nationwide Insurance’s warehouse, where they were sorted by grade level by Nationwide Insurance employees.

The week of June 27, the books will be delivered. Books collected will go to students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grades.

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United Way of Greater Cleveland feels Cleveland energy, hope after Cavaliers win http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/united-way-of-greater-cleveland-feels-cleveland-energy-hope-after-cavaliers-win/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/united-way-of-greater-cleveland-feels-cleveland-energy-hope-after-cavaliers-win/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2016 17:54:01 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5067 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer


In the aftermath of the Cleveland Cavaliers Game 7 win June 19, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s staff is being swept up in the excitement — donning jerseys and T-shirts, decorating cubicles and discussing game play and the city’s celebration plans.

And while many are expressing surprise at the Cavaliers’ 93-89 win against Oakland, Calif.’s Golden State Warriors; everyone is in agreement the win means a lot to Cleveland.

“It’s important because sports in Cleveland are something that brings us together, no matter who you are or where you’re from — it’s unifying across all demographics,” said Andrew Katusin, program manager for community impact at United Way of Greater Cleveland

His sentiments were echoed by many of his coworkers, including resource development assistant Andrea Harris.

“That game meant everything to everybody,” she said. “We were overdue for that. It was that game last night that was LeBron’s appreciation for the fans … [it was] closure for LeBron, he’s officially said “‘I’m sorry.’”

“Hopefully the jinx has been lifted,” added Alan Bedingfield, relationship manager. “The city has kind of completed its transformation, in the last four to five years we’ve been building up downtown — [we’ve] turned the corner.”

Bedingfield expressed his disbelief, saying he didn’t believe the Cavaliers had won until the last 10 seconds of the game. This is also being felt throughout the city, and in United Way of Greater Cleveland’s office.

“It feels unreal,” Nada Karaja, pledge accounting specialist, said. “The 4th quarter was a little shaky, [but] as soon as we knew that we won, it felt like the drought was over.”

For many, the end of the “drought” was long overdue. Having been a fan for the past 52 years, Jeffrey Miles, collections manager at United Way of Greater Cleveland, didn’t expect Cleveland’s “reign” to come anytime soon. He remembers attending the first Cavaliers game at its old arena, and has watched its rise and fall over the years.

“I’m excited, happy,” Miles said. “It’s been a long time. After 52 years, you don’t expect to win — you hope they do, but you don’t get overly excited, unlike these youngsters.”

While Taylor Holan may not have 52 years of Cleveland loyalty under her belt, her love of Cleveland sports was instilled at an early age by her father, a Cleveland fan his whole life. While the win was important to her on a personal note, she said it also affects United Way of Greater Cleveland’s work.

“When people are happy and excited and feeling like the city is going somewhere, it makes it easier to talk about our work,” Holan said. “Cleveland is a big city, but it feels like a small town when it comes to sports … It’s an amazing thing and I feel extremely lucky to have been born here.”

Katie Foster, relationship manager at United Way of Greater Cleveland agrees that, as a sports fan, she is happy for her city, but also the chance to highlight United Way’s work.

“It’s a page-turner, it changes the story of sadness and [hope] to accomplishment,” Foster said. “[United Way of Greater Cleveland] works so hard to make our community a better place … It shows us what we’ve done and still have to do in such a cool way.”

Nancy Mendez, director of community impact operations, has been waiting for a win for the city, while working toward its rebirth. Working to impact the city on a social and economic level, the Cleveland pride the Cavaliers championship has brought, has renewed energy in the city.

“When something like this happens, it changes the culture, the environment, where we believe,” Mendez said. “You take some of that hope that we brought a championship to Cleveland and you can translate that hope and energy into rebuilding this city.”

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Thank you for Stuffing the Bus with 12,500 books! http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/thank-you-for-stuffing-the-bus-with-12500-books/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/thank-you-for-stuffing-the-bus-with-12500-books/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2016 15:55:27 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5058 Thank you for helping local kids Inspire Their Adventure all summer!

The Greater Cleveland community jumped on board again; nearly 45 companies and organizations collected books to help kids read all summer long for the third annual Stuff the Bus with Books campaign. UPS picked up donated books from 40 locations and delivered the books to Nationwide, whose employees volunteered to sort and box all of the books.

Stuff the Bus with Books is part of the national United Way Day of Action. Once again this year, Cleveland Indians fans donated a book to the Stuff the Bus with Books campaign, upon entry as the Indians took on the Chicago White Sox.

We added extra excitement to Stuff the Bus with Books campaign. Our digital campaign “Inspire Their Adventure” was started for individuals who couldn’t physically donate a book, but still wanted to help us address summer learning loss. The digital campaign raised $1,595.00. Donors who made monetary donations had a new book purchased in honor of their name.

Statistics regarding literacy

In summer, approximately half of all students essentially “take a break” from learning and as a result, they lose many skills they learned during the school year. Statistics show that children in middle-income neighborhoods have more books in their home, than children in low-income neighborhoods.

This year we were able to distribute and provide more than 12,500 to 12 CMSD schools, our Club Connect schools, and the Cleveland Public Library. Thanks to you for your generous donation of books, monetary contribution or time. Without you this campaign would not have been possible.

Thank you to all of volunteers, donors, participating organizations, our partners – the Cleveland Indians, Depend, Nationwide, RTA and UPS, and sponsors GE for helping Stuff the Bus with Books!

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Staff profile: Kara Porter brings caring, passion to education work http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/staff-profile-kara-porter-brings-caring-passion-to-education-work/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/staff-profile-kara-porter-brings-caring-passion-to-education-work/#respond Mon, 20 Jun 2016 12:50:32 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5050 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Editor’s Note: While we focus on our work in the community and rarely shine a spotlight on ourselves, this series is designed to put faces and names to the great and challenging work United Way does every day.

Kara Porter

Kara Porter, director of education in Community Impact, began her nonprofit career working on one of the toughest issues imaginable, at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC).

“My favorite thing about my job is being able to work towards systemic change,” she said. “One of the things I realized both working at CRCC and working here is that to really impact the services that individuals are accessing you need to be able to change the systems that those services are coming from. And United Way is well positioned to do that in a lot of ways.”

Porter said United Way of Greater Cleveland’s role as a funder enables it to relate to others at the county or state level and instigate larger changes, including the number of services offered and accessibility to those services.

“I also love that United Way is working on issues of poverty; that’s really, really important,” she said. “Cleveland is a great city but everyone deserves to be able to live in a city where they have opportunities for work and health and education and United Way is helping people to be able to do that.”

Community-level work

After attending high school in Mount Gilead, Ohio, Porter attended a three-plus-two program at Baldwin Wallace University and Case Western Reserve University, graduating with her master’s degree in social administration.

She said she wanted to be a counselor, working one-on-one with individuals using the social services which institutions like United Way of Greater Cleveland fund. But, during her first year of graduate school, she participated in the Cleveland Foundation Summer Internship program, where she worked on a project about public policy at CRCC.

“I realized, ‘Oh, this is what I want to do, not that other thing,’” she said. “Social work has that macro component where you can do more community-level work, and that’s what I realized I wanted to do.”

After graduation she moved to Lakewood with her husband, Paul.

Porter and her husband have two young children, an infant, Scott, and a five-year-old, Jack. She enjoys folk music and classic rock and used to play tenor saxophone in her high school’s marching band. She also likes drama, comedy and psycho-thriller films — when she’s not watching “little kid’s movies” with her sons.

Intelligence and integrity

Porter’s co-workers and supervisors describe her as a passionate and caring person.

Nancy Mendez, director of Community Impact operations, has worked with Porter since she started at United Way of Greater Cleveland three years ago, having hired her into her current position as education director.

“I feel very strongly about this organization and its work and it’s great to have individuals come in that have that same passion, with a mix of intelligence and integrity that she brings,” Mendez said. “It’s been a really great experience to have her as part of our team.

“Your first impression is always how nice she is — she’s a really down-to-earth kind of person — but the more you get to know her you start to see that strength in there that you didn’t see at first.”

Katie Foster, United Way of Greater Cleveland relationship manager, calls Porter one of her closest friends.

“I couldn’t think any higher of anyone than I do for Kara,” Foster said. “Kara really does her job with her heart,” she said. “She cares about Cleveland so much, she cares about the students in Cleveland, making sure they have the right education and the tools they need and that the families in Cleveland are successful. She cares about them not because it’s her job but because she actually cares about them.”

Porter said she wants to continue the policy-change driven work that has defined her roles at CRCC and United Way of Greater Cleveland.

“If you’re in an interview for a job, people are always like, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ and I kind of hate that question. There’s so many unforeseen things that happen in five or ten years … But definitely working to make Cleveland a better place where there’s opportunity for everyone is where I see myself, one way or another.”

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United Way of Greater Cleveland receives recognition on building efficiency for second year in a row http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/united-way-of-greater-cleveland-receives-recognition-on-building-efficiency-for-second-year-in-a-row/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/united-way-of-greater-cleveland-receives-recognition-on-building-efficiency-for-second-year-in-a-row/#respond Fri, 17 Jun 2016 17:46:57 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5035 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Building Photo

United Way of Greater Cleveland received an award from Northeast Ohio Green Building Council and Cleveland 2030 District for its reduction in energy usage intensity (EUI) for 2015. This is the second year United Way of Greater Cleveland participated in the “Green Building Challenge,” which measures the building’s reduction in EUI versus the baseline for the type of building it is.

Northeast Ohio Building Council is a regional, member-based nonprofit that promotes energy efficient practices among building owners, architects, engineers and contractors. Cleveland 2030 District is a nonprofit that asks commercial buildings to commit to a 50 percent reduction in energy and water consumption and CO2 emissions.

United Way of Greater Cleveland received this award after scoring a 92 Energy Star efficiency rating based on utility consumption reported to the program. John Caputo, director, building operation, said this has been achieved through a progression during the past five years.

“Most of what we did, as far as lowering [EUI] was we made behavioral changes to how the building operates, so they don’t really cost much,” he said. “We shut down the HVAC units when the building is unoccupied, we use our energy more wisely.”

Building operations have worked on the systems of the building to make them more efficient. This includes upgrading the steam and chilled water system’s operation — how and when they turn on and off — and upgrading the building automation system.

“We’ve done this over the last five years,” he said. “Starting off with the building automation system and building off it.”

Plans for the next two years are to further change how the chilled water system operates and to install LED bulbs throughout more of the building, Caputo said.

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Young Leaders volunteer at King Kennedy Boys & Girls Club http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/young-leaders-volunteer-at-king-kennedy-boys-girls-club/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/young-leaders-volunteer-at-king-kennedy-boys-girls-club/#respond Thu, 16 Jun 2016 18:48:01 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5020 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Young Leaders volunteered for their Day of Action this summer at King Kennedy Boys & Girls Club. The program included a group talk between the six Young Leaders in attendance and teenagers at the club, followed by a game of basketball.

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Young Leaders program is committed to eliminating the low-income achievement gap in Greater Cleveland. By pairing young professionals early in their careers with teenagers from Cleveland schools, the group works to promote United Way of Greater Cleveland’s education initiatives. By focusing on the low-income achievement gap, professionals involved in Young Leaders commit themselves to breaking the cycle of poverty in Cleveland.

The group’s Day of Action on June 14 was at the King Kennedy Boys & Girls Club run by Director Richard Starr. The club services students from numerous Cleveland schools — including several wraparound schools such as George Washington Carver and East Tech High School.


Kevin Karder, continuous improvement analyst at Sherwin-Williams and member of the Young Leaders cabinet, took the lead at the club, discussing with other participants about how they should split up the group and what their talks should focus on.


Volunteers engaged with students, many of whom were 14-and 15-years-old. Topics discussed included cyberbullying, plans for the future and career goals.

“If you want to talk about something, are interested in something, we’re open and want to talk,” Karder said to the club members. Many were reluctant to talk at first, but began to open up as volunteers continued to talk to them.

“We had a different scheduled talk with the teenagers, something a little more impactful in their lives,” he said. “But maybe over time they’ll be a little bit more warmed up to that, so maybe next time.”

Karder said he became interested in the volunteer opportunity after Allison Taller Reich, Young Leaders co-chair and associate at Frantz Ward, mentioned it to him. A Cleveland native, he feels a connection with the club members at King Kennedy.

“I grew up in Euclid, single parent, all that, so I kind of feel for the kids,” he said. “It’s easy to do happy hours for fundraising but this actually takes work … the teenagers have been through a lot and are going to take some time to open up, but the really young kids, they open up right away, they don’t have any type of affliction, so that really just warms my heart when they’re happy like that.”


Starr said 89 percent of the children at the club are coming from single-parent households, many female-headed. Starr works to be the male role model for children at the club, even attending parent-teacher conferences.

The Young Leaders program works to provide these students with other role models, and The King Kennedy club was the first to pilot the project.

The Day of Action was Neleen Leslie’s first time volunteering with the program. Leslie, a visiting assistant professor of marketing at Cleveland State University, came to the club because she credits programs like it with her professional success.


“I’m from Jamaica, so I’m coming from a developing country where it’s mentors, people who gave up their time, that actually gave me that opportunity to [take] the next step in my life, in my career, academically and all of that,” she said. “It’s important to give back whenever possible.”

While it was also her first Young Leaders Day of Action, Leslie worked at a Boys & Girls Club in Florida and understood the demographic that her work would impact in Cleveland.

“As much as possible, I love to reach out to younger people,” she said. “People who are in high school, middle school, who are thinking about the future. A lot of times they don’t get people to talk to them about — realistically speaking — ‘what are you trying to do next?’ and trying to put some of that into perspective. So I was really excited about this opportunity.”

The next Young Leaders event is a speaker series talk from Jason Rudman from Key Bank, Wednesday, July 6. The next Day of Action is at the King Kennedy Club, Tuesday, July 26.

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United Way of Greater Cleveland Announces Education, Income and Health Investments http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/united-way-of-greater-cleveland-announces-education-income-and-health-investments/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/united-way-of-greater-cleveland-announces-education-income-and-health-investments/#respond Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:04:54 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5008 Cleveland (June 15, 2016) Today, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s board of directors voted to invest $33,394,775 in community programs – a reduction from last year’s investments of $34.5 million.

“United Way is investing in 123 education, income and health programs,” said United Way’s Director of Community Impact Operations, Nancy Mendez. “We are committed to continue implementing our Community Impact Agenda to create a healthy community where all students graduate high school and individuals and families are financially stable.”

In education, United Way is investing $5,795,886 to support programs that prepare our community’s kids for kindergarten and help them achieve and maintain grade-level reading. Additionally, United Way funds programs to address barriers to learning such as social and emotional development to ensure our community’s kids have the support necessary for high school graduation and beyond.

United Way maintains the wraparound strategy with Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The wraparound strategy links a community partner to each school and provides a coordinator in the school whose role is to identify and resolve academic distractions, such as hunger, unstable living conditions and medical issues. United Way and funding partners are investing $2,500,000 to continue wraparound services in more than 20 schools. A list of funders and schools implementing the wraparound strategy is available at www.unitedwaycleveland.org/investmentschools

In income, United Way is investing $5,209,984 to support programs helping individuals and families achieve and maintain financial stability with a focus on workforce development through education, job placement and retention and consumer advocacy and legal mediation. In income, United Way also supports basic housing needs by supporting programs providing emergency shelter for individuals and families in a housing crisis.

And in health, United Way is investing $4,178,766 to support programs helping our community members prevent trauma, manage chronic disease and increase access to health care and healthy foods.

In a combined income and health investment area, United Way invests $588,000 in basic needs for food security and wellness programs.

In addition, United Way 2-1-1 received $2,371,122 to continue linking our community members to the social, health and government resources they need 24 hours per day and seven days per week. Last year, United Way 2-1-1 information and referral specialists answered more than 250,000 calls for help across 16 Ohio counties.

Along with supporting the Community Impact Agenda, United Way invests in a number of community programs and initiatives aligned with its mission. For example, United Way funds the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (formerly FEMA), administers Cuyahoga County’s food grant supporting food pantries throughout the county and special projects such as the Family Stability Initiative designed to help families with school-aged children avoid losing their homes to foreclosure with the goal of not moving children from their current school district which negatively impacts academic performance.

United Way will also distribute $12,691,372 in donor-directed funds to local nonprofit organizations; $3,833,083 in contracts and commitments for community services offered by the AIDS Funding Collaborative, Children’s Health Consortium and more; and $3,095,300 to federation partners Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland, Jewish Federation of Cleveland and United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland.

A full list of United Way-funded programs and investment amounts is available online at www.unitedwaycleveland.org.

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LGBTQ community, United Ways offer support following Orlando shooting http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/lgbtq-community-united-ways-offer-support-following-orlando-shooting/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/lgbtq-community-united-ways-offer-support-following-orlando-shooting/#respond Mon, 13 Jun 2016 20:15:08 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=4953 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Orlando Ribbon

Following the shooting at an Orlando, Fla. nightclub June 12, the Cleveland LGBTQ community rallied in solidarity, offering support to those mourning. United Way of Greater Cleveland, Equality Ohio and the LGBT Community Center are providing support services for those affected.

Forty-nine were killed and more than 50 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, at Pulse Nightclub, a gay bar in Orlando. The shooting took place during Pride Month, while many individuals are celebrating LGBTQ history and civil rights triumphs.

One of the victims was Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, originally from Cleveland. The 20-year-old’s mother still lives in the area. A GoFundMe was started by Ocasio-Capo’s friends to defray funeral costs.

Starting Monday, in addition to their regular programming, the LGBT Community Center will have counselors from several local facilities, as well as chair massages and 15-minute wellness checks in the afternoon and evening.

Ryan Zymler, community relations coordinator, said that, the center is on hand, supporting community members and continuing to celebrate Pride Month during this difficult time.

“It’s obviously a really tough time for us right now,” Zymler said. “It’s a collective loss. It’s, of course, also pride month, so while we’re in the midst of celebrating all of the things that are wonderful about being who we are, about being LGBTQ people, we’re also mourning and standing witness to an active battle for our rights and our safety.”

According to Zymler, the center needs supporters to actively confront intolerance or those who try to legitimize violence against LGBTQ folk, including verbal harassment and jokes.

“They dehumanize us as a community, which makes it easier for folks to take actions like this,” he said.

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day to connect those in need with grief counseling and other support services, including those tailored to the LGBTQ community. Those seeking local help can call or chat with a trained staff person via 211oh.org. It covers 22 counties, including Cuyahoga, Medina and Stark.

“So when someone calls in, we’ll do a brief assessment of their need,” Diane Gatto, director of 2-1-1 at United Way of Greater Cleveland, said. “Basically, trying to understand what they’re looking for. So it might be counseling, it might be help for drug and alcohol abuse, it might be food or utilities, it could be any type of need.”

2-1-1 staff will then talk to the caller to better assess what resources are available to them. They can then connect the caller with neutral services, often offering different options to best fit the caller’s need. Recently, 2-1-1 also implemented a chat feature, which will allow users to receive resource counseling via the internet.

“It opens us up to people who would otherwise not call,” Gatto said. This includes young people and professionals that can access this information privately while at work. It is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Those in crisis are urged to call the toll free, national peer counseling LGBTQ hotline at 1-888-843-4564 or visit glbthotline.org.

Gwen Stembridge, Northeast Ohio coordinator for Equality Ohio, is urging supporters to wear white ribbons in solidarity with the victims and their families. The LGBT civil rights organization has provided a link to a template to make one out of copy paper.

Stembridge also asks that people donate to Equality Florida’s, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization, GoFundMe page, which supports the victims and their families.

Several vigils are being held throughout Ohio this week, including:

Youngstown: Mahoning County Court, June 13th, 9:00 p.m.

Toledo: One Government Center, Tuesday, June 14th, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Dayton: Courthouse Square, Thursday, June 16th, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

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Literacy campaign promotes summer reading at Wraparound schools http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/literacy-campaign-promotes-summer-reading-at-wraparound-schools/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/literacy-campaign-promotes-summer-reading-at-wraparound-schools/#respond Mon, 13 Jun 2016 13:42:40 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=4941 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Students may forget one to three months of learning during summer vacation, according to Dr. Harris Cooper, a Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor and expert in summer learning.

“Think of it this way — if summer vacation equals three months of learning lost, then from first to sixth grade, a student can lose up to 18 months of their skills,” wrote Julia Boxler, who leads youth programs at all 27 branches of Cuyahoga County Public Library, in a recent blog.

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s summer literacy campaign, including the “Stuff the Bus with Books” drive, strives to provide CMSD students with grade-appropriate reading material to curb learning loss during the break.

Funded in part with a grant provided by United Way Worldwide with money that it received from Red Nose Day, the first element of the strategy was a literacy awareness campaign for parents. The second was the Summer Learning Kick-Off and book drive.


The Summer Learning Kick-off took place May 19 at five CMSD Wraparound schools — Almira, Case, Harvey Rice, Patrick Henry and Walton. United Way partners with CMSD for the Wraparound initiative, which works to resolve poverty problems that can affect children’s academic performance. Each school’s site coordinator connects students and their families with individualized social, medical and community services.

According to Andrew Katusin, the education manager at United Way of Greater Cleveland, the events were staffed by volunteers from University Hospitals. The programs included fresh produce from Dave’s Market, raffles and career bingo — which invited older students to ask UH volunteers about their work. At Harvey Rice, the target school because of its proximity to UH’s main campus, there was also a DJ and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

Volunteers distributed 4,000 books to approximately 1,800 students in literacy packs, which included two books, a coloring or puzzle book and United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 Youth Pages.

UW14_STBWB Logo_Vertical

“Stuff the Bus with Books” continues the literacy initiative by collecting donated books at locations throughout the city. It challenges companies to sponsor the drive or be a collection point.

In partnership with the Cleveland Indians, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, UPS, Nationwide and GE, collected books will be given to students at CMSD schools, three suburban schools — John Muir in Parma, John Dewey in Warrensville Heights and John F. Kennedy in Maple Heights — and local libraries participating in summer learning programs.

The drive ends with an event to fill an RTA bus with the collected books before the Indians game, Saturday, June 18 at Progressive Field.

For more information or to volunteer, visit http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/stuffthebus/

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Company reaches Stellar Campaign goal four months early http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/company-reaches-stellar-campaign-goal-four-months-early/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/company-reaches-stellar-campaign-goal-four-months-early/#respond Fri, 10 Jun 2016 18:03:23 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=4929 CBIZ Logo

By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

A Cleveland firm recently reached its donation goal for United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Stellar Campaign. CBIZ, a financial consulting and insurance firm, reached its five percent giving increase, making it the first pacesetter business to report results in 2016.

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Stellar Campaign challenges businesses to increase their previous year’s donation by five percent, including corporate gifts and/or employee or fundraising event results. There are two programs that companies can participate in. The first is Pacesetter, which requires reporting by Oct. 7. The second is Trendsetter, which requires reporting by Dec. 16. The overall campaign typically occurs around Labor Day, according to Taylor Holan, a United Way of Greater Cleveland campaign associate.

CBIZ ran its campaign in March. Led by Leonora Yurichak, campaign manager and human resources director at CBIZ, it raised more than $40,000. The company ran an employee giving campaign online, as well as accepting cash and checks, which accounted for more than $34,000 of its total gift.

It also raised $15,000 in corporate donations and more than $4,500 through special events.

Last year’s campaign had 28 Pacesetters, with 23 reaching their goals, and 90 Trendsetters, with 59 reaching their goals. Together, these groups raised $2,956,577 for United Way of Greater Cleveland.

In its third year, the Stellar Campaign is being rebranded, which includes a new logo and larger social media presence. Businesses that meet their goals will be highlighted across all of their platforms by United Way of Greater Cleveland.

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