Causes you care about: Creating a lasting impact

United Way of Greater Cleveland Planned GivingWith the holidays in full swing, many of us pause to look inward and explore fundamental questions about our place in the world. Have I achieved what I’ve set out to do in my life? Is my family happy? Am I true to my friends? Have I done enough to make a difference?

After all, as Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” In fact, we give because it makes us feel good.

The Greater Cleveland community has seen tremendous growth and progress, and our donors’ generosity has echoed this success. Yet there are still many residents who struggle to meet their most basic daily needs to survive.

More than 58,000 households in Greater Cleveland are living in poverty.

Cuyahoga County is home to over 245,000 food-insecure people, making it the state’s largest population of people facing food insecurity.

In the City of Cleveland, 66 percent of adults are functionally illiterate. Four-out-of-five fourth graders from low-income families fail to read at a proficient level.*

Can you effect change?

We must preserve and protect our ability to continue to combat these systemic challenges that face so many in our community. One of the most powerful ways to make sure we continue to effect positive change into the future is to include United Way of Greater Cleveland in your will or estate plan.

The prospect of legacy (or estate) planning can be intimidating. You may think you need to have considerable assets to be able to make a gift. The truth is quite different. Many donors contribute and make gifts to the within the limits of their financial ability and life circumstances. But, even with the many barriers we face, many people still give because they believe it is the right thing to do.

Above all else, it is a chance to create a lasting legacy that is a passionate expression of their values beliefs. It is an expression of their most deeply rooted philanthropic spirit; one that can influence others to make the same commitment.

There are quite a few tangible benefits to legacy gifts too: they require no cash outlay and can lower taxes or offer an income for life.

When is the right time to act?

United Way of Greater Cleveland Planned GivingThere is no such thing as being too young to think about creating a will. In fact, making your intentions known, or confirmed now, can ensure you establish a solid estate plan and shape how you want to be remembered through causes and issues you care about.

Whether your calling is making education a right for all; fighting endemic poverty; reducing violence; funding resources to address physical and mental health; or striking barriers that cause chronic unemployment – you can affect real change. Countless families, friends, colleagues and neighbors depend on you.

If you’ve considered making a charitable gift in your will, please contact us directly for a confidential conversation. Our Director of Principal Gifts, Maureen Horton, can help you identify smart giving opportunities that fit your current and future needs. Please contact her at or by phone at 216-436-2193.

*Data from “United Way of Greater Cleveland 2017 Community Assessment

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