A New Day at United Way of Greater Cleveland

Reinventing how we invest in and serve the community to upend poverty across Greater Cleveland

16 agency partners selected to receive Community Hub for Basic Needs funding for the 2022-2023 cycle

This article was updated on December 7, 2023.

As a native Clevelander, I have dedicated most of my career to bringing much-needed change to our community to ensure racial justice and social-economic potential is available for everyone. United Way of Greater Cleveland shares that mission. More than three years ago, United Way embarked on a significant transformation designed to completely change how the organization invests in and serves those who live in the deepest need across our community. The potential behind these important advancements is what brought me to United Way, including the creation of the Community Hub for Basic Needs and the Impact Institute.

Entering this new era of work within the Community Hub is truly exciting as United Way aims to continue leading novel and innovative approaches to nonprofit management which are strategic game-changers in addressing both the symptoms and root causes of poverty. Enormous potential exists to achieve significant, long-term results which will uplift those in need across our community.

United Way believes that by working together on targeted initiatives, we can make the most meaningful impact on people living in poverty. Focused investments in specific agency programs, in concert with one another, align with one or more of United Way’s three community strategies: Economic MobilityHealth Pathways, and Housing Stability.

And now, I am pleased to share with you the results of our new investment strategy. After a rigorous Request for Information (RFI) process, we have selected 16 agencies within Cuyahoga and Geauga counties to receive $2.68 million in grants from United Way’s Community Hub for Basic Needs for 2022, with options to renew in the subsequent year, based on agency performance and workplace campaign totals. The amount for 2022 includes a $20,000 stipend per organization to participate in United Way’s Center for Excellence program for nonprofit capacity building. The agencies include the following:

The 16 agencies are examples of exceptional, coordinated work within our community. I invite you to learn more about each one by clicking the links above.

Throughout the application process, these agencies have put forth aggressive, measurable plans to address and alleviate the symptoms of poverty and its root causes – with each plan submitted through a Race, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (RDEI) lens. Our entire team at United Way congratulates these agencies, and we look forward to working closely together to make the lives of every Greater Clevelander better.

Beyond these investments in the Community Hub, United Way continues to invest the additional funds our donors so generously provide in other critical programs and partners across Greater Cleveland.

In fact, in just the first six months of this fiscal year, we have already announced or invested $20 million in community programs and partners such as United Way’s Impact Institute, 211, and our Federated Partners, including Catholic Charities, Jewish Federation and United Black Fund, among many others. We plan to continue to invest even more as additional funds are raised throughout the year. You can view the investments we have made to date in the fiscal year 2022 (see above).

To all the agencies who participated in United Way’s new RFI process, we thank you. If you believe your organizational goals align with the investment principles we have laid out in the RFI, we encourage you to consider participating in the next RFI grantmaking process, which opens in summer 2023 for the 2024-2025 funding cycle.

Particularly important, I am also delighted to announce that all members of the nonprofit community in Greater Cleveland are invited to participate in United Way’s Center for Excellence – LIVE, a capacity-building series tailored to the most pressing needs of Northeast Ohio’s nonprofit sector. This refreshed program track will offer quarterly virtual sessions on diverse topics impacting nonprofits and our community, including Build and Engage a High-Impact Board (Q1), Interpreting and Building YOUR Financial Statements (Q2), Uncovering the Nonprofit Landscape (Q3), and Leading Equity: Continuing our Conversation on Race, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (Q4). We will post a calendar with the dates of each session early next year.

We are also designing a dedicated studio in our offices at 1331 Euclid Avenue to broadcast these important sessions, which we welcome all nonprofits to schedule and use on a space-available basis. The studio will open in March 2022. By partnering with all our agency partners to identify and solve the many challenges we face as a community, together, we will further strengthen Cleveland’s nonprofit sector.

Congratulations, once again, to our 16 Community Hub for Basic Needs partners for the 2022-2023 grantmaking cycle, and our deepest thanks to the entire nonprofit community for the incredible work you do every day on behalf of your fellow Greater Clevelanders – work that so often determines the ultimate trajectory of their lives and livelihoods. I look forward to working with you all in addressing the needs of our community.

Editor’s Note: The inaugural 16 grantee partners in Cuyahoga and Geauga counties selected and announced by United Way of Greater Cleveland in December 2021 received an initial $2.68 million in grants in 2022. This included a stipend of $20,000 per organization to participate in United Way’s Center for Excellence programming for nonprofit capacity. The grants were renewed and organizations received another $2.36 million in 2023 based on agency performance and workplace campaign totals. A total of $5.04 million was invested by United Way in the partner agencies during the 2022-23 funding cycle.

Media contact:

Katie Connell, United Way of Greater Cleveland: 404.895.5513 and kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org

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