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United Way partners with Lyft to provide free rides

Service available across Cuyahoga County

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

Cleveland (July 11, 2018) – Many people who struggle financially need transportation. Whether it is to get to a doctor’s appointment, pick up a life-saving medication or attend a job interview, thousands of people throughout Greater Cleveland need a ride to survive.

United Way of Greater Cleveland announced that it is partnering with Lyft, the fastest growing rideshare company in the U.S., to help those in need by providing limited free rides to individuals and families in Cuyahoga County with specific non-emergency healthcare transportation, employment and veterans’ needs.

The program is being piloted in Cleveland and 11 other cities across the country.

Through this partnership, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 navigation specialists will assess each person’s situation and arrange Lyft rides to callers in need. I 2-1-1 is a free service that connects people to essential services in their community, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone and on the Web.

Last year, United Way Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 received more than 278,000 calls. Roughly 33 percent of its transportation calls could not be met with existing community resources.  More than 70 percent of people in need of transportation services are 50 years old or older, according to UWGC’s 2-1-1 client data.

“This is truly a fantastic opportunity to help hundreds of people in need throughout the Greater Cleveland area,” said Diane Gatto, director of United Way 2-1-1. “By having Lyft as a partner, we’ll be better able to address our unmet transportation needs – getting veterans to the VA, individuals to a job interview, older adults to a medical appointment or to pick up a prescription and so much more.”

In addition to Cleveland, free rides will be offered to qualifying individuals in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Denver, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco. Following the program’s success in these markets, Lyft and United Way Worldwide will look to expand the program into more cities across the country.

“United Way is a worldwide leader in addressing the complex challenges faced by vulnerable communities,” said Lyft Co-founder and President John Zimmer. “Their dedication and ability to reach thousands of individuals in need through 2-1-1 makes them an ideal partner for Lyft Relief Rides.”

President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland, August Napoli, added that this is a “great opportunity in this partnership, forged by United Way Worldwide, to expand our capacity to help people in need. I’m thrilled we’re one of the 12 cities across the country tapped to be included in this partnership with Lyft. Finding scalable and long-term solutions to address and solve critical social issues is directly tied to our mission … so this partnership makes perfect sense.”

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About United Way of Greater Cleveland

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

United Way Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 Help Center is a free, confidential service that connects individuals to resources and services in their local communities by phone and on the web. Last year, the national 2-1-1 network responded to over 14 million requests for assistance. Nationwide, the 2-1-1 service is available to 94 percent of the U.S. population, including in Puerto Rico and Washington, DC, and in parts of Canada. Individuals in need or who are looking for information for someone else can call 2-1-1 from a cell phone or landline and be connected to their local provider, or visit for more contact options.

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