United Way of Greater Cleveland http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:14:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 94256747 J3 Menswear rocks fall-forward patterns, fashions on this year’s CATWALK http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/j3-menswear-rocks-fall-forward-patterns-fashions-on-this-years-catwalk/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/j3-menswear-rocks-fall-forward-patterns-fashions-on-this-years-catwalk/#respond Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:04:25 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5826 Editor’s note: Rock the CATWALK, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Women Leadership Council’s annual fundraiser features fashions from several local boutiques. This six-part series serves to highlight each boutique’s unique style and preview some of the looks to hit the runway.

JB-DunnA more recent addition to the Rock the CATWALK lineup, J3 provides all the men’s clothing for the event. In business since 2010, they have given the guys of the CATWALK fashion-forward looks for the past three years.

J3 got involved with Rock the CATWALK at the request of some of their client’s wives. Already known for their philanthropy with sponsoring Flashes of Hope — a nonprofit that raises funds for childhood cancer research — and participating in Susan G. Komen’s Pink Tie Guys event, becoming involved with United Way’s Rock the CATWALK was the next step for the three J’s.

Started by JB Dunn, Joe Paster and Jack Madda, J3 looks to fill a gap in sustainable men’s fashion in Greater Cleveland.

“All of us have been in this business for many years,” said JB Dunn, co-owner of J3. “We decided to do our own [boutique] because we wanted to do something more representative of how we felt about things. Everything’s either local, green, reclaimed or all of the above. All of us are Clevelanders and it’s something we wanted to do for our home community.”

While men’s fashions change less quickly than women’s, J3 still strives to offer contemporary looks in a fun, social setting.

J3 Interior

“We bring in lines differentiated from what you can buy in a department store,” he said. “So we’re definitely a boutique, but more than that, we’re a kind of men’s club — not in any derogatory tone. We have guys who come in here on a Saturday afternoon and hang out. They’re here to be social. It’s just a very welcoming environment.”

This year, attendees can expect to see the guys of the runway in layers, cashmeres and autumn colors, Dunn said. J3 is hoping to offer their models new takes on casual and business attire.

“One thing we really love is getting to know the gentlemen who will be doing the modeling,” he said. “And they’re not professional models, usually they’re well-known business people and we like to push them a little out of their envelope. Maybe dress them up as a rock star. What’s really great about this benefit is they typically have their own constituents in the audience who love to urge them on and sometimes chide them.”

This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation on St. Clair Avenue. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach.

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Local programs determined to decrease infant mortality rates http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/local-programs-determined-to-decrease-infant-mortality-rates/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/local-programs-determined-to-decrease-infant-mortality-rates/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 17:04:28 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5810 By Ben Miladin, Director of Health, Community Impact, United Way of Greater Cleveland

Ben MiladinInfant mortality, defined as the death of a baby before reaching his or her first birthday, occurs at shockingly high rates in our country and in Cuyahoga County – especially in neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty and racial segregation. For example, while infant mortality rates fell across the state of Ohio in 2014, rates increased for African-Americans, according to findings from the Ohio Department of Health. Also, rates are generally higher in Cuyahoga County than in counties with less concentrated poverty. Rates in the city of Cleveland are higher still at around 13 deaths per 1000 live births. These early deaths could happen for any one of a number of reasons, including accidents, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), premature birth, or other factors.

September is Infant Mortality Awareness month. And while the local statistics are alarming, many community organizations are taking major strides to increase the number of babies living to celebrate their first birthday and beyond. There is hope!

According to the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Strengthening Families framework, many of the best ways to help children lead healthy and happy lives involve helping the parent to be more effective at parenting. Nowhere is this more important than in reducing infant mortality. While people living in poverty are often dismissed in today’s society, we at United Way of Greater Cleveland believe just the opposite; because we see programs in the community actively making a huge difference in reducing infant mortality and improving people’s lives.

Infant Mortality Blog

Families in the City of Cleveland’s Moms First program experience half the infant mortality rate of the city at large, demonstrating that with help and advice from professionals who visit the home (to encourage breastfeeding, father involvement, birth spacing and smoking cessation) infant mortality can be reduced.

Beech Brook’s Family Drop-In Center, a United Way-funded program, provides new mothers with supplies (like Pack ‘n Plays) and education about safe sleeping practices to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other forms of tragic accidental death.

More hope comes from the new First Year Cleveland initiative, spearheaded by Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland, which recently received $3 million in state funding to combat infant mortality and partner with community groups that provide education and support for women who are pregnant and considered high risk for poor birth outcomes.

The national best practice Nurse-Family Partnership, with start-up funding from the Mt. Sinai Foundation, provides intensive in-home visits from a nurse to first-time mothers to build essential parenting skills.

Help Me Grow in Cuyahoga County helps pregnant women with their prenatal and early child-rearing concerns by identifying the right program (including many of the above) for them through one easy phone number: (216) 698-7500.

By making infant mortality a priority, governments, foundations and medical providers can make a difference and ensure more children live to see their first birthday.

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Rock the CATWALK model profile: Margaret Bernstein takes passion for literacy to the streets with #WeReadHere http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/rock-the-catwalk-model-profile-margaret-bernstein-takes-passion-for-literacy-to-the-streets-with-wereadhere/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/rock-the-catwalk-model-profile-margaret-bernstein-takes-passion-for-literacy-to-the-streets-with-wereadhere/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 14:51:02 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5776 Editor’s note: This year we are highlighting some of the Rock the CATWALK community models – showcasing their talents, passion and careers leading up to the annual fashion show.

By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Margaret Bernstein

“I think we’ll really win in a community like Slavic Village when the fact that you have to read is echoing from every block,” said Margaret Bernstein, director of advocacy and community initiatives at WKYC.

Describing herself as a “nonstop advocate for mentoring and literacy,” Bernstein has worked to engage staff at WKYC to get behind the cause. As director of advocacy, she was able to get the initiative news coverage. She involved the station’s anchors and staff in the #WeReadHere social media campaign, which invited people to take a picture with their favorite book or for parents to snap a selfie while reading to their children.

“We put somebody on the news for doing something good; it made them feel good about themselves,” she said. “Secondly, they influenced their peers. ‘So-and-so is on the news for reading with their kid, maybe I should do it and get on the news too.’ I tried to create a ripple effect to encourage parents to read. That’s my new superpower, now that I work in television, I can use the power of TV to encourage people to do things that are important.”

This summer, WKYC won a regional Emmy for Community Service for its #WeReadHere campaign, sponsored by Third Federal Foundation. Bernstein’s next project is a neighborhood-centered campaign in Slavic Village, in conjunction with the Broadway P-16 program which supports students from preschool through college in Broadway/Slavic Village. Its key focus includes improved reading, higher attendance and higher graduation rates for local Cleveland schools.

She also adopted Little Free Libraries, which are small, outdoor boxes for readers to leave or take a book. Several have sprouted up across Cleveland and at local schools. One library is even adorned with an illustration from her book “All in a Dad’s Day,” which encourages dads to read with their children.

Finding her tribe

Bernstein is not alone in her crusade to get parents — especially dads — reading to their children. It’s one of the reasons she joined United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) last year. She first heard about the council while attending an event about the impact Sesame Street has on kindergarten readiness.

“I joined last year because I wanted to be a part of [WLC] — that’s my tribe,” she said. “Anybody who’s working in early education and kindergarten readiness and literacy, those are the people I want to hang out with.”

WLC’s signature cause through the remainder of the year is early childhood education. The council works to ensure children in Cuyahoga County have access to quality education.

“I think the [event] is awesome, but when I got to see the council actually bring together really high level women to talk about this topic, I knew I wanted to be a part of that,” she said.

As for Rock the CATWALK, it is Bernstein’s first year participating. While she attended last year, she doesn’t know what her boutique has in store for her. Currently, she loves accessorizing with “Little Library baubles.”

“I’m delighted to be getting a makeover because sadly my favorite accessories are literacy buttons and Little Free Library ball caps,” she said. “I think it will be fun to Rock the CATWALK.”

This year’s Rock the CATWALK is Thursday, November 3 at the Global Center for Health Innovation. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact Megan Shadrach at mshadrach@unitedwaycleveland.org.

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Rockwell volunteer pays forward personal history with United Way in giving, activism http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/rockwell-volunteer-pays-forward-personal-history-with-united-way-in-giving-activism/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/rockwell-volunteer-pays-forward-personal-history-with-united-way-in-giving-activism/#respond Thu, 15 Sep 2016 18:33:39 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5790 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

Headshot of LeticiaLeticia Prado, an administrative coordinator at Rockwell Automation, has spent the past 10 years giving back to the organization that helped her decades ago. She has always been heavily involved in her community, through volunteering and activism, but Prado felt she needed to pay it forward by working with United Way.

“When I was younger I was married, divorced and my child was little,” she said. “It was a hard time for me – raising a child on my own, working and trying to maintain a home. I didn’t get any help, financially or emotionally. It got so bad at times, I wanted to run away. The only thing that kept me going was my son.”

Prado’s employer, at the time, ran a United Way campaign, and her manager suggested she turn to the organization for counseling.

“He was a very instrumental counselor, he helped me so much,” she said. “He helped me get through what I needed to get through, and I have never forgotten it.”

Prado has worked at Rockwell for most of that time, but many of the companies she has been involved with have run United Way campaigns. Rockwell contributes to Greater Cleveland’s campaign, but also participates in its own Days of Action, large-scale volunteer events organized for companies and community members by United Way’s Engagement Center.

Prado tries to take part in Days of Action twice a year, she said. She has done three Days of Action so far, including volunteering at the Holden Arboretum, Hospice of the Western Reserve and Providence House Inc.

“It’s nice Rockwell allows us time to help the community this way,” she said.

At the Holden Arboretum and Hospice, volunteers helped with spring cleaning. They cleaned Hospice of the Western Reserve’s kitchens for families and “spruced up” overgrown areas of the arboretum.

“My first ‘gig,’ as I like to call it, was at the arboretum,” she said. “They needed help with cleaning, weeding, that type of thing. My second gig was with Hospice [and] we assisted in cleaning inside and outside. I enjoyed it very much.”

organizing diaper room

Prado especially enjoyed working at Providence House, where volunteers cleaned the building inside and out. Providence House Inc. is a crisis shelter that helps children who have been victims of abuse and neglect. They receive donations, which volunteers helped sort into age and size categories for staff to distribute.

“Their basement is full of all their donations, so we went in and organized,” she said. “I went in the corner where they have pampers and wipes and training pants. We had to organize it by age group — thousands and thousands of them. We got to meet some of the kids, it was very, very enjoyable.”

Prado also volunteers with Forbes House, the Moose Association, Elks and Harvest for Hunger. She plans to continue activism for children affected by substance abuse, veterans suffering from PTSD and has a growing interest in communities’ access to clean water.

But her connection with United Way has never waned. She has strived to engage others at Rockwell in giving and volunteerism, be it with United Way or in their local communities.

“I had to use United Way, at one point in my life, and I did get the help I needed. And now, I need to pay it forward,” she said. “United Way helped me, and you never know in your lifetime when you’re going to need them.”

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Staff Profile: DJ Reichel designs the branding and heart of United Way of Greater Cleveland http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/staff-profile-dj-reichel-designs-the-branding-and-heart-of-united-way-of-greater-cleveland/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/staff-profile-dj-reichel-designs-the-branding-and-heart-of-united-way-of-greater-cleveland/#respond Mon, 12 Sep 2016 16:13:32 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5683 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.

DJ Reichel United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Publications Manager, DJ Reichel designs art for every campaign, fundraiser, event and promotion. From Pancake Flip banners to the simplest of nametags, his work can be found throughout Greater Cleveland, Geauga and Medina United Ways.

Recently celebrating his 10-year anniversary, he came to United Way after being self-employed as a freelance designer for 16 years.

“I really wanted to go somewhere to be around other people. I was sending out resumes and United Way called back,” he said.

Designing for events

In his decade at United Way, Reichel has designed for Fall Ball, Rock the CATWALK, the Campaign Kickoff and Pancake Flip and the now defunct golf tournament and Ride United bike ride.

“We used to do a golf tournament, we probably did that for 15 or 16 years in a row,” he said. “And that raised $2 million for the community.”

For Ride United, Reichel designed signs to mark trails and levels — the longest of which was a ride to the University of Akron and back, close to 100 miles.

“People would pledge money to sponsor riders,” he said. “That was a big project; I made all kinds of signs to mark the course, commemorative t-shirts, signage for vans and things like that.”

Recently, he helped with this year’s Campaign Kickoff and Pancake Flip, as it moved from several Cleveland schools back to its traditional location in Public Square. He hopes to visually rebrand it for next year, including redesigning logos.

He also lays out all the campaign and fundraising material and literature.

“As we move into the future, we’ll probably have more companies opt to do digital campaigns,” he said. “But at the same time we’ll probably still do paper [campaigns], because not everybody has access to the internet in their jobs — some factories and places like that don’t.”

Artistic process

Reichel works with project managers and committees to design their promotional materials. Taking cues from committees members, he creates proofs, giving them multiple ideas to pick from.

“I’ll assess their ideas and add what I can to make it better and move forward with what they’re after,” he said. “Sometimes multiple ideas lead to a new hybrid.”

Handling printing costs, Reichel said United Way typically gets a discount from vendors. Foote Printing, a Cleveland-based printing and design company, typically trades the printing of Pancake Flip items in exchange for free breakfasts.

“They’re very generous with us, their pricing is always good and we try to give them as much work as possible,” he said. “We like to hire a union printer because unions support United Way so we like to support the union and they always have the best price and they do good work. So it’s a win-win.”

A mighty task

Outside of work, Reichel said he enjoys spending time with his wife of 21 years and his 11-year-old son.

He grew up in Lakewood, and was always the artist in his classes. Beginning by drawing illustrations for his middle school newspaper, he continuously elected to take art classes before pursuing it as a college major. After high school and ready for a change of scenery, he attended art school in Fort Lauderdale. Afterwards, he returned to his childhood city, drawn to its urban qualities.

“This is where I belong,” he said.

Now, he owns an almost-century year-old home and often spends weekends working on it. This summer, with help from his father and wife, he has undertaken the task of meticulously repainting and repairing the aging façade.

“I spend a lot of time working on [the house,] and I enjoy that kind of stuff,” he said. “This summer I decided to paint it and I’m four weekends and some weeknights into that and I’m about half-way done. It’s a mighty task.”

Fostering friendships

Ryan Platten has worked closely with Reichel for the year-and-a-half he’s been at United Way – handling the website and other online media.

“When you envision a great coworker, he’s who you see,” Platten said. “He’s one of the nicest, funniest, most genuine guys you’ll ever meet.”

Sharing interests, including music and pop culture, Platten and Reichel are friends outside of work.

“DJ was one of the first people to greet me when I walked in,” he said. “He is true to himself in every aspect of his life, whether its work or personal, it’s all the same.”

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Stellar Campaign Co-Chairs encourage companies to increase annual contributions http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/stellar-campaign-co-chairs-encourage-companies-to-increase-annual-contributions/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/stellar-campaign-co-chairs-encourage-companies-to-increase-annual-contributions/#respond Wed, 07 Sep 2016 15:29:31 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5672 By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer

United Way of Greater Cleveland officially kicked off its annual fundraising appeal on Wednesday, August 31, but some companies have been running their Stellar Campaign since March.

Stellar Campaigns consist of participating companies and organizations who commit to increase their corporate or employee gifts by five percent, as well as run their campaign early.

Co-Chairs Terry Szmagala, senior vice president of public & community affairs for Eaton; and James Dougherty, partner at Jones Day, have both been involved with United Way for the majority of their professional careers, but it is their first time as Stellar Campaign co-chairs.

Dougherty has been with Jones Day for 12 years and was first introduced to United Way’s campaign by John Macintosh — this year’s campaign co-chair and managing partner at KPMG.

“I spent some time with John in the fall and thought it would be a really great way to get involved and help out, particularly on the corporate side where I’ve got a lot of connectivity with a number of the companies that work with United Way regularly,” he said. “So it seemed like a pretty good fit.”

Dougherty is trying to promote Stellar Campaigns by connecting with company CEOs to relay the importance of early, sustained giving and United Way’s work.

“I think United Way has the ability to do what other organizations would have a really hard time doing, which is to have extremely broad-based participation across the community,” he said. “When you think about a lot of great charities out there, they really don’t have the network and system United Way has to get a significant amount of participation.”

Szmagala has been at Eaton for the past 10 years, and has been involved with United Way since long before he came to the company, but it is his first year taking an active role in the campaign. He has donated at a leadership level since he started his career, as well as volunteered with the organization and has been able to see firsthand what United Way does.

“In my new role at public and community affairs, I’ve been able to see firsthand what United Way does and I wanted to get more involved,” Szmagala said.

He said the importance of running the campaign early is to set the bar high and encourage companies to get better every year. Eaton has been the top Stellar Campaign company for the last two years and they plan to defend their title, he said.

“Two things would be really great,” he said. “To see our traditional campaigns continue to grow at a healthy pace is important. But for me, adding new campaigns that might be smaller would be great to see. The reason I say that is if we can get more companies involved in holding campaigns, they’re setting a culture where, down the road, the campaigns might get bigger. “It’s really important to get Cleveland companies committed to the Stellar Campaign program, so we can add to the ranks of the KeyBanks and Eatons in the city that are already very generous.”


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A flippin’ fun morning http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/a-flippin-fun-morning/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/a-flippin-fun-morning/#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2016 07:48:43 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5634 United Way of Greater Cleveland’s annual campaign kickoff brought a long-standing tradition back to Public Square this year. The Campaign Kickoff and Pancake Flip, held August 31, 2016, served more than 1,000 breakfasts in the newly renovated square, where guests enjoyed local celebrities, entertainment and a serious amount of pancakes with the end goal of addressing serious needs in Greater Cleveland.

“There is a depth and complexity to the needs in the community that even the most engaged of you may not realize,” said Augie Napoli, United Way president and CEO. “There are crisis-level shortfalls in basic needs, education and financial security that would shock you. And that must be addressed by the one organization in Greater Cleveland that has the ability to innovate, convene agency leaders, gather community feedback and reflect that in donor investments on the scale only United Way can.”

Ricky Smith Pancake
Ricky Smith learning how to make the perfect pancake

Napoli was joined by United Way board chairman Marc Byrnes, Oswald Companies chairman; United Way’s 2016 campaign
co-chairs Heidi Gartland, University Hospitals vice president of government and community relations, and John MacIntosh, KPMG managing partner; as well as Ricky Smith – United Way advocate, comedian and founder of #RAKE (Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere).

Byrnes reflected on his personal connection with United Way as an infant adopted into a loving family, and reminded the audience that by working together we can accomplish our goals to create opportunity, safety and security for all.

Gartland and MacIntosh spoke of the work already being done in support of the 2016 campaign, and highlighted the positive impact United Way donations make in our community — from the hundreds of thousands of Greater Cleveland families and residents who received help to meet their basic needs, to the more than 252,000 calls for help that were answered through 2-1-1.

“Together, we can make a difference and create the change we want in our community,” said MacIntosh. Added Gartland, Together, Clevelanders have tremendous power.”

Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a pancake breakfast and to all the volunteers who helped out during the Pancake Flip. We had a great time and hope everyone who had an opportunity to spend a little time with us enjoyed themselves!

View the photos from the event →

Special thanks to Northern Haserot and Renaissance Cleveland Hotel, sponsors of the 2016 United Way Campaign Kickoff and Pancake Flip.

Give today for a better tomorrow →

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Meet the United Way 2016 Campaign Co-Chairs http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/meet-the-united-way-2016-campaign-co-chairs/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/meet-the-united-way-2016-campaign-co-chairs/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 16:37:00 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5617
Heidi GartlandHeidi Gartland
Vice President of Government & Community Relations
University Hospitals
2016 United Way Campaign Co-Chair
John MacintoshJohn MacIntosh
Managing Partner
2016 United Way Campaign Co-Chair


United Way of Greater Cleveland 2016-17 Co-Chairs Heidi Gartland and John MacIntosh are gearing up for a bold and exciting new United Way campaign. We recently visited with them to gain insight on their inspiring and motivational work in the Greater Cleveland community.


Q: How long have you been involved with United Way?

Heidi Gartland, VP of Government Relations at University Hospitals: I’ve been at University Hospitals for 22 years, and I’ve been involved with United Way for most of that time. Back in my early years here, I was director of child advocacy for Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, and Rainbow was one of the major health care providers receiving United Way funding. The fact that the dollars I gave to United Way were recirculating back into our work at Rainbow excited me. Also around that time, Rainbow ran an organization called Voices for Ohio’s Children, which convened agencies addressing issues such as child abuse and neglect, and food insecurity. Many were United Way agencies. So United Way was a natural extension of the work I did every day.

A big reason I still give today, and a reason I chaired our UH campaign last year, is that United Way really invests in the community. United Way agencies ensure that those vulnerable patients we care for at UH continue to receive services they need after they’re discharged from the hospital.

John MacIntosh, Managing Partner for KPMG: My first involvement dates back to over 30 years ago. I first started in our Los Angeles office and at the time, and like a lot of companies, they ran a traditional United Way Campaign, so that was really my first exposure.

I was in LA for 10+ years and then I transferred to our Atlanta office. That was when I went deeper into United Way. At the time there was a big Atlanta-based company that was running a matching program to try to get people up to the de Tocqueville status (donors of $10,000 and more). That caught my attention and was the catalyst to becoming truly meaningful in terms of my personal involvement from a financial standpoint.


Q: What aspect of United Way’s work is most important to you?

JM: We are really trying to move the needle in certain areas, and the area that’s most important to me is on the preventative side. Certainly having a safety net after challenges and issues happen — that’s incredibly important — but always trying to be on the preventative, and proactive, side captures my unwavering support. So where United Way focuses in on a support organization that truly values people to make the right decisions and wise choices, that’s what’s most impactful.

HG: United Way is really our community’s safety net – neighbors helping neighbors. United Way’s health and wellness work is, from my perspective, the most important in the here and now. And United Way’s focus on education improvement is an investment into the future of our community and its kids – making sure they graduate from school, have connections to careers, and have the inspiration and opportunity to go on to higher education if they choose. This work is about more than the children – it’s about the future economic health of our region and our nation.


Q: Describe the engagement in your workplace for United Way campaigns.

HG: I chaired our campaign at University Hospitals last year, which gave me the chance to see the engagement of our physicians and employees up close and personal. We have 18 hospitals, our system headquarters and many outpatient health centers, and our campaign runs system-wide. Yet what is so interesting and inspiring is how people at each entity embrace the campaign locally with local events, challenges and projects. So at the local level, the campaign really takes on each entity’s individual identity. We can all work together toward the same goal, but each entity has its unique spirit – and we all learn from each other.


Q: Will there be any tie to UH’s 150th anniversary with your current campaign?

HG: We’re doing a lot of really cool things to commemorate UH’s 150-year relationship with our neighbors, and one of the neatest is our partnership with United Way for our Days of Caring volunteer drive. By the time our anniversary year ends in May 2017, we hope to have provided 150,000 hours of volunteerism to our community – 150,000 hours for our 150 years. Our physicians and employees have joined with United Way for literacy events at Harvey Rice Elementary School, and we and the Browns paint locker rooms at James F. Rhodes High School. We’ve done things to benefit the Boys & Girls Club. And we have a number of other group events coming up, in addition to all the individual volunteerism by members of our UH family in their own community organizations, schools and churches. This volunteerism emphasis reminds our physicians and employees that UH and Northeast Ohio have a very unique relationship. And United Way makes it easy for us to do good and have fun.

JM: If you look at the profile at KPMG, we have over 30,000 people across the U.S, including several hundred in Cleveland. And, if you look closer at the demographics, a high percent of our profile is under 30-years-old. So what we’re trying to do is instill in them a desire to give back to the community. Every one of our 80 offices across the US focuses in on that and it’s really part of the culture that we’ve built. In any given year, we have 85 to 90 percent participation; very few people choose to opt-out. And what we’ve really been doing in the past few year is make it real, not just ‘this is something we want you to do,’ but for people to want to do this and understand the why.

This includes handpicking a number of our junior level personnel every year to go out and spend time at a United Way agency and report back on what it is that agency does, and tell their peers about it. We also make sure to socialize those learnings across our entire office through our own KPMG version of a pancake flip, which is a big kick-off every year in our office.

We are also hyper-focused this year on exploring ways that United Way locally supports improving literacy for children in our neediest communities. KPMG nationally has a program called KFFL, which stands for “KPMG’s Family for Literacy,” and this is something we’re working very hard on, trying to move the needle and get new books in to the hands of elementary school children.

This summer, we partnered with the Cleveland Public Library, focusing on the Sterling Branch in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood, to support their Summer Reading Club. Every week for eight weeks, we sent in KPMG volunteers to read with the children and provided those children with new books to build their personal library at home. In this coming year, we’re really going to try to tie in KPMG’s national initiative with KFFL and the significant momentum that we have built with the Cleveland Public Library to incorporate more broadly into the efforts of United Way of Greater Cleveland and make this even more impactful.


Q: What are your plans for the campaign and how do you plan to encourage giving?

JM: We are really trying to articulate in a passionate way the value proposition of United Way and the benefits of a federated giving model. People should want to embrace United Way and all of the things that United Way does in terms of qualifying and evaluating programs, etc., and that you can have impact if you give to United Way. Historically, we assumed people understand that, but with the millennial generation and ability for people to give to anyone in any way they want, we have to reemphasize the why. Heidi and I are really out to help enhance the message that’s already existed, so that when we’re out talking with companies, they understand why to give to United Way.

HG: We’ve created an amazingly great campaign cabinet with team leaders who really inspire. We have the best and brightest, most passionate, civic-minded leaders, and they can really get out across our region. They inspire people who are already doing an amazing job and they can uncover companies that we haven’t reached out to in a while.

The United Way here has dynamic new leaders, with Marc Byrnes as board chairman and Augie Napoli as president and CEO. They have passion, vim and vigor, and John and I are really committed to helping them and the organization succeed by growing participation across the community.


Q: Heidi, talk about something good about working with John.

HG: He’s fun to be with. I love his laugh. And he’s brilliant in his insights about people and process. He can really be a strategic force for the United Way.


Q: And John? Something good about working with Heidi?

JM: Heidi is equally passionate. She is creative, has a lot of energy and is terrific. Heidi is also excellent at articulating United Way’s value proposition. I think we make a good team.


Q: What is your hope and goal for the 2016-17 campaign?

JM: One of the goals would be to get people to reconnect with United Way, to broaden the base. There’s certainly companies that have been there year in and year out, but there are too many companies that have fallen by the wayside. We need to attract new companies, corporate contributions, and further inspire involved companies to increase their level of participation within their employee base.

HG: When the Republican National Convention came to town, everybody knew it. Now, we want everybody to know that the United Way campaign has come to town. We want to spread the word that United Way has fresh, innovative, motivational leadership at the top of the organization and at the top of its board. We want to elevate the campaign’s visibility, and inspire people to want to be on the winning United Way team.


Q: What impresses you about Greater Cleveland?

HG: The fact that people have such a strong, outsized sense of community – and I do believe we are a very giving community, in terms of our philanthropy. We have more foundations, and larger foundations, than most other cities. And from a philanthropy standpoint, we are the envy of many other communities.

JM: People in Cleveland have grown up here and want to be here and it’s a small enough community where there’s great relationships with not a lot of anonymity and I actually see that as a positive.


Q: Tell me something about you personally, do you volunteer with other organizations, your family life, etc.

HG: My husband, Dan, and I have been married for 26 years and we have two grown children. One just graduated from college and is living with us while working for AmeriCorps; the other one lives in Chicago. Now that our kids are older, Dan and I like to travel and be outdoors, whether that’s golfing or gardening or going to a concert at Blossom. I really enjoy people, so we’re always doing something social. I love photography. And I’m on nine nonprofit boards – local, state and national. I really enjoy getting involved in the larger community.

JM: I have wide-ranging interests and like outdoor activities such as golfing, boating, hunting and sporting clays. I am just as comfortable at a country-western concert as I am going to see the Cleveland Orchestra. I’m also on a number of nonprofit boards, including the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Boy Scouts, BVU and am now on the Greater Cleveland Partnership as well, so I’m very involved civically. And, like Heidi, I’ve been married a long time. My wife and I are married 28 years and I have two children, one’s 15, the other’s 22.


Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

JM: We feel honored to have been asked to do this and we’re going to put our energy and time behind this to make it a successful campaign. I think that given the challenges and also the transition that United Way’s gone through, there’s a great opportunity to reshape people’s views and build on the success and impact that United Way can and will make in this community.

HG: As John said, this is an honor – and it is also a very big responsibility to be challenged to raise $40.5 million from the community, for the community. The many United Way success stories I’ve heard inspire me to rise to that challenge. And I’m really looking forward to getting to March next year and finding we’ve beaten all of our expectations.


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Staff Profile: Matt Fedak brings an artist’s eye to Community Impact analytics http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/staff-profile-matt-fedak-brings-an-artists-eye-to-community-impact-analytics/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/staff-profile-matt-fedak-brings-an-artists-eye-to-community-impact-analytics/#respond Mon, 29 Aug 2016 20:00:05 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5607 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.

Matt FedakWhile only at United Way of Greater Cleveland six short months, Matt Fedak works behind the scenes to compile and analyze data, create graphs and improve program measurement systems.

Bringing with him experience from Cuyahoga County’s child support and senior and adult services, he is working to find ways to optimally measure a social service program’s success, from social return on investment to quality of life metrics.

Using United Way data, Fedak determines the success of programs including the CMSD community wraparound strategy and analyzes the demographics of clients served. Fedak also combines census and survey information to determine which parts of the community have unmet basic needs.

But some of what determines a program’s success is immeasurable, Fedak said.

For example, someone who is chronically homeless or suffers from substance abuse may utilize emergency medical or shelter resources — which can be quantified in the amount of money their care costs agencies and providers. But it’s harder to place a monetary value on having a home or remaining sober.

“I’m hesitant to pin down monetary returns on everything because it’s hard to put a value on some things,” Fedak said. “What’s the value of sobriety, what’s the value of a life where you’re suffering from fewer PTSD symptoms? What would you pay to be sober, to not have an addiction?”

Measuring the value of impact

“There’s something qualitatively valuable inside the human social work experience and I like to leave room for that,” he said. “There’s certainly a place for outcomes more focused on [measurements] that embody the quality of life issue; and I’ve done a lot of research about quality of life, and it’s very difficult to pin something down into metrics.”

Working with Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services, Fedak tried to use World Health Organization’s (WHO) quality of life measurement to quantify the success of several programs. WHO’s quality of life model was hard to roll over, Fedak said, because it was designed to be applied to developing countries, but still gave him a place to start his research. The goal was to measure the intrinsic value of programs that allow seniors to stay in their own homes rather than live in an assisted living facility.

“I was able to pick up some of those links from WHO,” he said. “Certainly it was a little bit more of a stretch — going from an isolated village with just a medicine man or woman to a lifeline button to make sure the ambulance came when you needed it — but I was able to at least pull some sort of underlying access to medical importance.”

Ben Miladin, director of health at United Way of Greater Cleveland, worked with Fedak at Senior and Adult Services. Seeing the open analyst position at United Way, he suggested Fedak apply.

“I had a great experience working with him and I thought he might be looking for a new, exciting opportunity and he seemed like a good fit that could really benefit our department,” Miladin said. “Matt is a wonderful coworker who is extremely thoughtful, efficient and creative. He’s always been willing to go the extra mile.”

Admiring Fedak’s technical skills, Miladin said Fedak works to make Community Impact’s data presentable to board members and community partners.

At United Way, Fedak is working to develop a system to encompass the broad spectrum of human services impact. Breaking into three parts, he wants to measure the quantifiable, raw basic needs met, the fundamental economic benefit and — to an extent — the qualitative piece of services.


While Fedak is researching how to optimize social services measurement, he is also interested in internal optimization, including the relationship between Community Impact, Resource Development and the Marketing department.

“I like knowing how the whole organization functions,” he said. “There’s a lot of overlap between community impact and marketing and resource development — which are really kind of the three core areas. There’s a financial side, which is doing our budget and I’m somewhat interested in that. But between fundraising, fund distribution and marketing, that’s really the triangle of activity.”

“I’m interested in understanding how those teams interact and how we can align those teams to make United Way better at collecting money, dispersing money and communicating all those successes to the larger community,” he said.

Art and analytics

Bringing an artist’s eye to analytics, Fedak studied studio art as an undergrad after transitioning out of engineering.

He was drawn to art for its immediacy and ability to make ideas tangible, which are some of the reasons he said he enjoys working in analytics. Not making abstract art, but creating graphs that give an immediate picture of a community’s needs.

“It hasn’t been so much ‘this is what I’ve always loved to do,’” he said. “It’s more about what’s a position that fits what I like to do where I can analyze things with numbers but also with pictures. That’s the art piece I try to bring to it — taking all the analysis, what the program is trying to do and has done and get that out to the people.”

Outside of visual art, Fedak studied philosophy, which influenced his art and career path. Wanting to use his time as more than a monetary investment, he worked in government agencies and United Way to make a difference in the community.

“In America, it’s easy to slip into that ‘time is money’ mentality,” he said. “But I disagree with that, I think time is infinitely more valuable. I look at how many hours a week I’m at a job … and what you do during that time? Are you going to be making money for yourself or are you going to do something where you can say I bettered my community. It’s nice that it’s not just about the money, there really is something bigger and better happening here.”

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Fall Ball is almost here! http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/fall-ball-is-almost-here/ http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/blog/fall-ball-is-almost-here/#respond Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:10:13 +0000 http://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/?p=5590 Guest blogger, Bill Donatone is manager, assurance services at EY. He is also a member of United Way’s Young Leader’s cabinet.

Bill and Andrea Donatone

It’s slightly hard to believe (2016 is really flying by), but I recently saved a date on me and my fiancée, Andrea’s calendars for the first week of October. As I set the Tuesday evening event, another entry caught my eye. There it was – October 8 the date of Fall Ball 2016 shining like a beam of light on the screen. I felt a rush of so many memories with friends, colleagues, and fellow Young Leaders (YL) from Fall Balls past. My memories quickly shifted to excitement and anticipation of this year’s event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! It’s been truly amazing to see the growth of this event over the years.

I remember my first Fall Ball like it was yesterday. I had the pleasure of meeting the YL co-chairs that year, Andrea Timan and Carmen Edgehouse. I also met Paul Lepro who was taking over for Carmen as a co-chair the following year. I’m proud to say I’ve been volunteering with YL ever since.

My first Fall Ball experience was really eye opening. While I was still very young in my career, I guess I didn’t realize how many like-minded young professionals cared about Cleveland as much as I did. At that time, Cleveland wasn’t riding the wave it is now. We were trying to build momentum coming out of the recession, and still felt the sting of Lebron leaving the Cavs. But the pride and understanding of Cleveland’s potential still resonated with this group. There was an unwavering confidence that we could make a difference.

Attendees at Fall Ball 2015

Fast forward to 2016 – the Cavs are world champs, the Republican National Convention was a success and the United Way YL group is as focused and determined as ever! I’ve seen firsthand how YL impacts the community – specifically working to eliminate the achievement gap for Cleveland kids who are a part of low-income families.

None of this work is accomplished without the funds YLs raise from Fall Ball. (Shameless plug: Tickets are on sale now. Buy them today!) Fall Ball is a great way to help the Greater Cleveland community. And it’s easy – get dressed up, bid (high) on silent auction and other raffle items, and have a blast with your friends and other like-minded young professionals. I can hear our “official” DJ Steph Floss on the turntables now!

Fall Ball is an event I look forward to 364 days a year, and I can’t wait to see how much fun everyone has again this year. As YLs like Andrea, Carmen and Paul grow in their careers and move on from the group, they can still count on Fall Ball to raise money that will undoubtedly change lives. As it says on the side of the YL van you’ll be seeing around town, “Working as one to improve the lives of many.”

Can’t wait to see you all there!

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