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United Way Delivers on Its Promise to Build a System to Fight Systemic Poverty

Diversified fundraising model attains $45.4 million for present and future years;
$31.2 million invested into our community in 2018


Mark Miller, PR/Communications Mgr.
216-436-2120, 206-795-9958 cell

Cleveland (June 27, 2018) United Way of Greater Cleveland is entering year two of its three-year strategic plan, successfully fulfilling three major goals in rebuilding the organization: enhancing how it raises funds and how it distributes money back to social service agencies and innovating solutions to help nearly 400,000 people in need each year in the region.

More than $45 million in gifts and pledges was raised this year through the generous support of more than 50,000 donors in Cuyahoga, Medina and Geauga counties, including $25 million from United Way’s annual workplace fundraising campaign. A more diversified fundraising strategy expands revenue streams to generate funding for not only current needs but for long-term programs that fuel future innovations.

To support today’s programs that are helping alleviate the immediate effects of poverty, United Way enhanced its allocations process to add more rigor and transparency and will invest $31.2 million in 2018 in the community, including:

  • $10.1 million into Greater Cleveland’s health and human service sector to address education, financial stability, health and basic needs in our community [includes Cuyahoga, Geauga and Medina counties].
  • $3.1 million to our federated partners that support programs aligned with our poverty relief goals—Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland, Jewish Federation of Cleveland and United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland.
  • $18 million to donor-specified causes and programs associated with United Way’s mission.

United Way-funded agencies are an integral part of United Way’s two-pronged “Community Hub Model,” which focuses on cross-collaboration to increase impact in the community. This system leverages the incredible thought leadership of the 87 supported nonprofit organizations in Greater Cleveland to hone in on processes, strategies and procedures that most successfully address community needs today and in the future.

Another important component of the Hub Model is United Way’s newly launched Impact Institute, which is charged with innovating next-generation social systems that can overcome barriers to combatting poverty. Much like a startup accelerator, it assembles advanced talent and experience from many thought partners from varied areas of our community.

President and CEO August Napoli shared that the Impact Institute will convene best-in-class stakeholders, bringing together organizations, volunteers, corporate and academic partners, local government and others to formulate an actionable plan to solve social issues.

“Imagine bringing together the brightest minds from all aspects of the community to work together as a specialized ‘task force’ or work group to uncover and solve the root cause of a specific issue, rather than multiple organization simply trying to alleviate a surface symptom of poverty through uncoordinated and sometimes even duplicative efforts,” added Napoli.

In the first phase of the Impact Institute, United Way will focus on early learning, family-sustaining employment, violence prevention and housing stability. These are key components that, with the right programs in place, can provide solutions to poverty.

Napoli continued, “The United Way has a dual purpose – we have already distinguished ourselves as the best in our community when it comes to serving the most basic needs of greater Cleveland.  No one gets that done better than we do. And now, we are finding new avenues to leverage our strength to convene and to bring the best and brightest minds to solve the complexities of systemic poverty.

“In other words, we are creating systems to combat systemic poverty,” Napoli concluded.

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United Way of Greater Cleveland is committed to addressing the effects of poverty throughout our community. Through the work of our 87 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


Editor’s Note: United Way of Greater Cleveland was honored with an official Proclamation in recognition of “United Way of Greater Cleveland Heroes Unite Day” from Mayor Frank Jackson and the City of Cleveland. For more information on this Proclamation, or to set up one-on-one interviews, please contact Mark Miller at 206-795-9958, or Ralph J. Davila, APR, at 330-207-5167,

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