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Tall tale: United Way measures up for Cleveland Heights social group

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You could say Tim Gruscinski has his head in the clouds. Standing at 68, he has heard that comment and just about every tall joke there is.

“How’s the weather up there?” Check.

“Do you play for the Cavs?” Check.

“Here comes an airplane. Duck!” Check.

Gruscinki has a towering sense of humor about his height. He has formed a social group for tall people, Cleveland Heights, to create networking opportunities and gatherings. He is elevating fun into philanthropy by aligning Cleveland Heights as an affinity group with United Way of Greater Cleveland. Affinity groups have an exclusive philanthropic relationship with United Way through giving, advocating and volunteering to advance education, income and health in our community. Other affinity groups include Young Leaders and the Women’s Leadership Council.

“If we are going to gather and commiserate, we should find a way to give to the community at the same time,” Gruscinski says. “United Way helps so many people across so many areas of need, we thought it would provide endless opportunities to pitch in.”

That’s no stretch. United Way motivates 70,000 donors to support its goal to create a healthy community where every kid graduates and every family and individual is financially stable each year.

“United Way has an inclusive culture, and new, spirited groups like Cleveland Heights to present an exciting, fun opportunity for us to literally scale new heights in our community,” says Bill Kitson, United Way president and CEO, who stands at nearly 6 feet tall. “Our affinity groups help people rally around causes and issues that motivate them to stay involved, and we welcome Cleveland Heights and its high-reaching leaders.”

Gruscinki says Cleveland Heights, which offers the motto, “We don’t look down on anyone,” is open to families, does not collect a membership fee and does not have a height requirement. He co-founded the group with his brother, Kevin, and friend Shawn Sedlak.

“Anyone can join, just like anyone can volunteer and help the community,” he says. “It’s just a fun way to meet people who share a certain perspective.”

For more information on Cleveland Heights, visit facebook.com/CLEHeights

For more information on United Way affinity groups, contact Shenise Thomas at sjthomas@unitedwaycleveland.org

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