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United Way of Greater Cleveland Initiates Grant Eligibility Process for Health and Human Service Organizations throughout Region

Ralph J. Davila, APR
Director, News & Community Content
216-436-2205, 330-207-5167 cell


CLEVELAND (Nov. 10, 2017) – United Way of Greater Cleveland has released its Request for Qualifications (RFQ) grant eligibility requirements to agencies throughout its geographic footprint. Today it will begin to accept documentation to determine which of those health and human service organizations will be qualified to submit full funding proposals in January 2018.

“Based on data, identified trends and feedback from our agency partners during our community assessment of the needs of people in Cuyahoga County, we realized we had to reform our funding model to focus on qualifications, versus ideas and numbers,” said Vice President, Community Impact and General Counsel, Helen Forbes Fields. “This new mindset, which is rooted in our extensive Community Assessment work, is what led to our new Community Hub Model. The model will allow us to provide funding for program capacity, while creating opportunities for programs to collaborate. Our goal is to create a more effective social service network by convening people and resources to better impact poverty and its underlying causes.”

United Way will roll out its Community Hub Model and allocation of funds with the new fiscal year beginning July 2018. The model is designed to bring together organizations and people across various industries and geographic locations that best align in terms of issues, challenges and potential solutions. By aligning interests and intent, United Way and its partners will be better able to address Greater Cleveland’s most pressing needs.

“We need to ensure there is even greater transparency and accountability in our funding methodology,” explained United Way President and CEO, August A. Napoli. “We have done a good job of ensuring we were allocating resources to quality programs in the past, but it is time we take the process and procedures to a whole new level.”

He added, “Our funding priority going forward must be on solutions that address people’s needs, not simply fueling the system delivering the services. This new approach will be laser focused on solving problems by convening around a common cause, with agencies providing high-performing services, corporations, foundations, volunteers, government and clients, who will work together toward solutions.”

In the past, United Way allocated funds based on a partner agency status. Funding was given to agencies, not specific programs delivered by those agencies. United Way then evolved into an open and competitive grantmaking process that funded programs. United Way volunteers have made it a priority to make the allocation process more equitable and transparent. To that end, an algorithm has been developed which follows past funding patterns and eliminates funding outliers. The use of the algorithm points to continued improvement of the United Way allocation process.

The Community Hub Model will change how United Way responds to community needs within the organization’s four impact areas: Education, Health, Financial Stability and Basic Needs by:

  • Using a new standardized algorithm to compute levels of funding along with continuing to have volunteers perform qualifications review and make recommendations about which programs to fund
  • Requiring programs to participate in quarterly Hub meetings and ad-hoc work groups convened by United Way to address critical community issues through a solutions-focused process
  • Requiring programs to report outcome indicators to United Way every six months; setting and measuring meaningful results
  • Funding for program capacity
  • Leveraging the broad social-service network to convene and amplify the service provider network

Submittal of grant eligibility documentation will occur Friday, Nov. 10, through Friday, Dec. 1. Interested organizations can learn more at Eligible organizations will be notified to submit a full RFQ application no later than Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, and the RFQ will be available Jan. 12, 2018. Those organizations will be notified of funding status in June of 2018.

For more information about United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Community Assessment and Community Hub Model, visit


United Way of Greater Cleveland is committed to addressing the effects of poverty throughout our community. Through the work of our 115 funded programs and the generosity of our community, United Way strives to ensure families and individuals are healthy and financially stable; our children are well educated and on the road to reaching their greatest potential and even those carrying tremendous burdens are safe and provided with resources to become self sufficient. For more information, visit

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