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.
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.
“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 https://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/stuffthebus/
By Carissa Woytach, United Way of Greater Cleveland Staff Writer
A CMSD elementary school has been recognized nationally for its efforts to reduce bullying and isolation on campus. Adlai-Stevenson PreK-8 received an honorable mention for its participation in the “Start With Hello” Call-to-Action Week from the Sandy Hook Promise.
The Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a gun violence prevention organization born out of the 2012 mass shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. The “Start with Hello” program was created to give students at participating schools the tools they need to reach out to peers who are experiencing extreme social isolation and loneliness.
Adlai-Stevenson is one of 25 CMSD schools participating in United Way’s Wraparound initiative. Wraparound works to address the challenges connected with poverty that can impact a student’s academic success by placing a coordinator in each school to provide students and families with the resources they need, including access to food, medical and mental health services and weather-appropriate clothing.
“‘Start With Hello’ teaches our young people how to notice and reach out to each other,” Mark Barden, managing director of SHP said in a news release. “Reducing social isolation starts with our young people and we can empower them to build connections and help others in their classrooms, schools and communities.”
Barden’s 7-year-old son Daniel died in the Sandy Hook shootings.
The campaign ran Feb. 8-12, reaching more than 360,000 students in 564 schools nationwide. It invites participating schools to find creative ways to engage students who are often left out or alone — starting with making sure no one eats lunch alone — then builds with other provided activities and actions to apply the idea to the students’ broader, everyday community. Participating schools’ award applications are then reviewed by SHP staff.
“I can honestly share that members of our team were moved to tears when they heard the stories and saw the impact your work had on empowering young people to reduce isolation, build connectedness and prevent violence before it takes place,” Paula Fynboh, National Field Director for SPH, wrote in her congratulatory email to Nathan Lilly, site coordinator for Adlai-Stevenson.
Adlai-Stevenson will be presented with a certificate at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year by leaders from SHP.