United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink connects people and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with the resources they need

Top caller needs include food, income and housing assistance

CLEVELAND, March 24, 2020 – United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink, a free and confidential 24/7 service, serves as an important resource for people in need across the community, including those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 3,000 calls handled each week across 14 counties.

Since the pandemic began, the top five resources that 2-1-1 HelpLink callers have requested assistance with include:

  1. Food and meal help
  2. Income support and assistance
  3. Housing
  4. Utility assistance
  5. Health Care

Callers can dial 2-1-1 from any phone to connect with a 2-1-1 HelpLink Navigator who works directly with them to understand their unique individual or family needs and make referrals to a wide range of available resources from food and shelter assistance to tax preparation services.

2-1-1 HelpLink Navigators help callers develop customized plans tailored to the urgency of their needs, proximity to resources, physical abilities and more using United Way’s Community Resource Database of more than 16,000 government, health and human services programs.

Since the pandemic began, 2-1-1 HelpLink has worked closely with service agencies to ensure accurate and up-to-date information is shared with all callers.

“2-1-1 HelpLink provides an important community service and now, more than ever, the 2-1-1 team stands ready to respond to and assist those in need of essential services such as food, shelter and employment assistance, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Augie Napoli, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland.

Last week, 2-1-1 HelpLink experienced double the call volume compared to the previous week. In light of expected, ongoing increases, callers may experience unusual hold times and are asked to please be patient as 2-1-1 HelpLink Navigators work to answer their call. Callers can also use the “Call Back” feature where they enter a virtual queue, disconnect from their phone to return to other activities and await a call back from 2-1-1 HelpLink once it is their turn.

“2-1-1 HelpLink simplifies the complex health and human services system for individuals and families unsure of where to seek and find help, handling more than 900 calls a day last week alone,” Napoli continued. “People who need help are only three numbers away from the resources they need with 2-1-1 HelpLink available 24/7 to assist during this crisis and beyond.”

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink is committed to answering every call to ensure those in need receive essential resources during these unprecedented times.

Those who wish can also chat online with a 2-1-1 Navigator by visiting https://www.211oh.org/#.

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink serves as a further resource for those looking to help the community through the COVID-19 pandemic by providing information on organizations in need of volunteers and how to donate to the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Relief Fund, a philanthropic, community-wide effort which is led by the Cleveland Foundation and includes United Way of Greater Cleveland.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, 2-1-1 HelpLink has also partnered with both the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and the Cleveland Department of Public Health to establish the Coronavirus Helpline where 24/7 callers can dial 1-855-711-3035 to receive general information on COVID-19 and important contact information.

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink serves seven counties in Ohio: Allen, Belmont, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lawrence, Medina and Ross.

United Way of Greater Cleveland has expanded its 2-1-1 Helplink support to include seven additional counties across Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic to help as many people as possible, including Coshocton, Crawford, Darke, Erie, Huron, Van Wert and Wyandot.

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.           

 
Media contacts

Katie Connell
(404-895-5513)
kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org

Savannah Heck
(440-281-3934)
sheck@unitedwaycleveland.org


A Letter of Support for Issue 33

Support Issue 33!

As Clevelanders, we’re fortunate to have outstanding health care institutions in Cuyahoga County, yet the overall health of our residents is poor due in large not to health care access but rather the social determinants of health.  Social determinants are the forces, systems and policies that shape daily life.  In 2018, Cuyahoga ranked 64th out of Ohio’s 88 counties in health outcomes.  The worst health outcomes are in Cleveland and many of the inner-ring suburbs, where the impacts of high poverty rates, racial segregation and community conditions create barriers to health and well-being.

In order to achieve better health outcomes and reduce health disparities for children and families, it is widely recognized that addressing the social determinants of health plays a pivotal role. Economic and social conditions, such as stable, affordable and healthy housing, reliable transportation, and access to healthy foods are all factors that can make a difference for moving upstream to prevent many health conditions like diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

Cleveland is part of five year model test through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and implemented by United Way of Greater Cleveland to help connect health care with upstream social services in order to prevent disease and promote health.  Through Accountable Health Communities (AHC), we are connecting individuals to help address the health-related social needs of Medicaid and Medicare patients at designated sites at Cleveland Clinic, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, and MetroHealth.  Through the 3,500 patients who have been screened since late 2018 by AHC, we know that two-thirds struggle with food security and more than one-third grapple with housing stability and access to transportation.  The AHC creates a customized plan to address patients’ health-related social needs, linking them with community services that often rely on funding through the Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services levy.

That’s why we firmly endorse passage of Issue 33, the Cuyahoga County Health & Human Services levy.  Residents in every corner of Cuyahoga County access health and human service programs.   The levy not only provides direct access to health care, including mental health and addiction treatment, but it also helps families put food on the table, protects children from abuse and neglect to keep them safe, and helps seniors stay strong, independent, and in their homes and communities for long as possible.   We value the health and well-being of everyone in our community so they can build better lives.  Issue 33 is a critical investment to ensure all people in Cuyahoga County have the opportunity to be healthy.

-Mitchell Balk and Helen Forbes Fields

Co-Chairs, Accountable Health Communities Advisory Board

Mitchell Balk is president of the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation

Helen Forbes Fields is executive vice president and general counsel of United Way of Greater Cleveland

 

*Accountable Health Communities is supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS-1P1-17-001 from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


United Way of Greater Cleveland Sharpens Focus to Address the Region’s Poverty Crisis through Partner Network

United Way’s Community Hub for Basic Needs to create focused network to help Cleveland’s in-most-need

CLEVELAND – Feb. 26, 2020 – United Way of Greater Cleveland announced today its plan to help people living in the deepest poverty across Cleveland through the creation of a concentrated network of public, private and nonprofit sector partners under the Community Hub for Basic Needs (“the Hub”).

The Hub marks the final step in the organization’s three-year strategic plan to maximize United Way’s impact within the community by targeting specific, measurable goals and outcomes to address the city’s most challenging issues.

The Poverty Crisis in Cleveland

Fifty-one percent of children in Cleveland live in poverty, the highest poverty rate in the nation, according to data from the Center for Community Solutions (CCS), a nonpartisan think tank focused on solutions to health, social and economic issues.

“Cleveland is one of the most generous philanthropic communities in the nation, yet we are the worst in the country when it comes to childhood poverty” said Augie Napoli, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland. “We are second worst when it comes to working age adults and third in the nation in senior poverty. What we are doing is not enough. United Way’s long-standing practice of funding good ideas and intentions clearly is not working – we must do better for our city’s citizens, and we will work with a concentrated group of partners to tackle this issue head on.”

Going forward, United Way of Greater Cleveland is departing from being a pass-through funder of agencies to a network leader. The Hub’s network will set realistic and meaningful goals over the next three years to assist those living in the deepest poverty in the community.

Through the Hub, United Way of Greater Cleveland will engage and fund partners whose services, capabilities and missions best match this approach. The new funding strategy relies on focused investments in a smaller group of partners to reduce poverty rates in Cleveland.

Community Investments and a New Funding Model

“We have a staggering problem with poverty in Cleveland,” said Paul Dolan, Board Chair at United Way of Greater Cleveland. “This crisis is a call to action for bold change. We realize this is a significant sea change for United Way of Greater Cleveland, but the issues at hand require a disruption to the system and refocus on the urgent needs of our community. So, we are revolutionizing the way we work, invest and partner.”

This past year in 2019, United Way of Greater Cleveland invested $33.2 million in the community. This included: 2-1-1 HelpLink and other direct services, the Impact Institute, federated and regional partners, agency grants specified by donors and agency grants determined by United Way’s RFP funding process.

Only the last category of agency grants determined by United Way’s RFP process, which totaled $6.5 million in fiscal year 2019, will see change.

For this category, the organization will implement a new funding process focused on specific goals. Reaching these goals will be the effort of a concentrated group of funded partners who will collectively impact the effects of poverty so many face each day.

While changing its funding process, United Way of Greater Cleveland will continue to honor its grants to agencies through the end of this RFP period, July 1, 2020.  In addition, the organization will provide transitional funding for these current agency partners for a 15-month period, from July 1, 2020 – October 1, 2021.

United Way will also continue its investments in the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition and with partners at Legal Aid on Right to Counsel which will both have significant, long-term impact on Clevelanders who live in the city’s deepest poverty.

What to expect next

United Way’s next large-scale report will be held on September 10, 2020 at the organization’s Annual Meeting, where United Way of Greater Cleveland will reveal the details of the framework for the Community Hub for Basic Needs.

The organization will continue to host and lead other community conversations to drive awareness about the poverty crisis in Cleveland and the work being done with partners through this new network to tackle the issue head on.

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to the root causes of poverty. For more information or to donate, please visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.

 

Media contacts

Katie Connell (404-895-5513) kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org

Savannah Heck (440-281-3934) sheck@unitedwaycleveland.org


United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink Marks 16 years of Community Service

More than 160,000 people use free, confidential 24/7 helpline each year

CLEVELAND—Tomorrow, on national 211 Day, United Way of Greater Cleveland celebrates 2-1-1 HelpLink’s 16-year history of serving the Cleveland community, helping more than 160,000 people in 2019 and averaging more than 400 calls per day.

United Way’s 2-1-1 HelpLink successfully connects callers with resources, including housing support, utility assistance and access to food more than 90 percent of the time.

“2-1-1 HelpLink is the only resource of its kind in Greater Cleveland and an essential part of United Way of Greater Cleveland’s commitment to connect those within our community with the services and agencies they need,” said Augie Napoli, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland.

“Through 2-1-1 HelpLink, we simplify the complex health and human services system for any Clevelander unsure of where to find help,” Napoli continued. “Those who need assistance are just three numbers away from the resources they need with 2-1-1 HelpLink professionals available 24/7.”

When a person in need of assistance dials 2-1-1, she or he is connected with a trained 2-1-1 HelpLink specialist who asks a series of questions about the caller’s personal story. In one of every three calls, specialists identify multiple needs.

The specialist develops a customized plan tailored to the caller’s urgency, proximity to resources, physical abilities and more using United Way’s Community Resource Database of more than 16,000 government, health and human services programs.

Once the caller understands how to access these resources, the call ends, yet the 2-1-1 HelpLink experience continues. The specialist follows up with the caller to ensure success and verify the information provided was accurate—a logistical feat that 2-1-1 HelpLink specialists accomplish with more than 100,000 unique data checks and entries to the Community Resource Database each year.

The top 5 needs 2-1-1 HelpLink responds to in Cuyahoga County:

  1. Housing services like rent payment assistance and shelters
  2. Utility Assistance like help with electric, gas and water bill payment
  3. Food or Meal Assistance at food pantries and soup kitchens
  4. Legal, Consumer and Public Safety Needs like help with birth certificate fees
  5. Information Services such as the gambling addiction line, which 2-1-1 HelpLink operates for the State of Ohio. Beginning this month, the 2-1-1 HelpLink team will also handle calls for the Cleveland Department of Public Health.

The future of 2-1-1 HelpLink

Through the Accountable Health Communities* (AHC) project, funded by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, trained 2-1-1 Navigators are active at Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center to support patients in connecting with 2-1-1 resources.

The AHC model test works to improve clinical community linkages to support patients’ health-related social needs, including housing services and access to food. The AHC project began in 2018 and is funded through 2021.

United Way of Greater Cleveland is developing additional partnerships to create more 2-1-1 HelpLink programs within the community. One such program begins with the Cleveland Department of Public Health later this month.

“Meeting people where they are is a crucial step in serving our community,” said Franco Formacelli, Director of 2-1-1 HelpLink at United Way of Greater Cleveland. “2-1-1 HelpLink is available at the tap of a finger and by increasing our physical presence within the community in innovative ways, including at local hospitals and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, we can help more people than ever before access the resources they need. That’s what United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink is all about – helping people.”

A trusted expert across Ohio

United Way of Greater Cleveland currently operates 2-1-1 HelpLink services for counties across the state, including Allen, Belmont, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lawrence, Lorain, Medina, Summit and Ross, which joins tomorrow.

For each county, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s data specialists coordinate with local area agencies to ensure that information within the 2-1-1 HelpLink database is accurate.

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink became an official part of the national 2-1-1 network in 2004.

To listen to a conversation between a person in need and a 2-1-1 HelpLink specialist, visit: https://www.211oh.org/how-we-help/process.

For more information on the calls that 2-1-1 HelpLink answers each month, visit: https://www.211oh.org/reports.

How to access 2-1-1 HelpLink

Those in need can dial 2-1-1 to reach a specialist 24/7 or chat online Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at https://www.211oh.org/#. All conversations are free and confidential.

* Accountable Health Communities is supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS-1P1-17-001 from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.

Media contacts
Katie Connell (404-895-5513) kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org
Savannah Heck (440-281-3934) sheck@unitedwaycleveland.org

 


UNITED WAY OF GREATER CLEVELAND ANNOUNCES NEW MEMBERS TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

CLEVELAND: United Way of Greater Cleveland today announced new members to its Board of Directors including: 

  • Matt Carroll, Chief Economic Growth and Opportunity Officer for Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, overseeing the departments of Health and Human Services, Economic Development, Public Works and Sustainability. Carroll serves on the Executive Committee of First Year Cleveland and on the boards of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation, the Group Plan Commission, the Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Development Corporation, the Say Yes to Education Operating Committee, the Towpath Trail Management Committee and the Cuyahoga County Community Improvement Corporation.
  • Nabil C. Chehade, M.D., MSBS, Senior Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer of MetroHealth, responsible for leading MetroHealth’s efforts to transform its clinical and operational approach to a population healthcare model. Dr. Chehade previously worked at HealthSpan Physicians and the Ohio Permanente Medical Group, where he served as Chief Executive officer and market president.
  • Joe DiRocco, Regional President of Fifth Third Bank, Northeast Ohio. He is Treasurer of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, a Board Director at Tri-C Foundation, Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Team NEO, as well as an Advancement Council Member at the University of Akron College of Business Administration.
  • Len Komoroski, Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which includes the Cleveland Monsters (AHL), Canton Charge (NBAGL) and Cavs Legion Gaming Club (NBA2K) as well as a principal in JACK Entertainment, which operates JACK Casino Cleveland and JACK Thistledown Racino. Komoroski is a Trustee at Cleveland State University and Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital, as well as Board Director at Downtown Cleveland Alliance and at the Greater Cleveland Partnership. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of Destination Cleveland and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Mary Ogden, founding partner of the Ogden Post Consulting Group, a strategic advisory firm focused on nonprofits. Ogden serves as a Trustee at United Way of Medina County and a member of the Community Impact Committee, Secretary on the Medina County Bar Association Grievance Committee, Executive Committee Member and Treasurer of the Sierra Club Portage Trail Group, Vice Chair and Finance Committee Chair for the Sierra Club – Ohio Chapter, Trustee at Medina County District Library and a member of the For-Profit Ventures at North Coast Community Homes.
  • Andrew “Randy” Paine, President of Key Institutional Bank, which includes KeyBanc Capital Markets, Key’s Institutional and Healthcare Real Estate platform, and Key Equipment Finance and a member of KeyCorp’s Executive Leadership Team. Paine currently serves on the Board of Directors at the KeyBank Foundation. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, Chairman of KeyBank’s corporate-wide United Way campaign, on the Board of Visitors for DePauw University, and on the Board of Directors for Special Olympics Indiana and Meals on Wheels in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Jeffery K. Patterson, CEO and Safety Director of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority. Patterson is also Vice President of the Council for Large Public Housing Authorities and serves on the Board of Directors of many nonprofits, including American Heart Association, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, Cleveland Transformation Alliance, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, St. Luke’s Foundation and Unify Labs.
  • Tara Samstag, Associate Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Cleveland Clinic. Samstag is Co-Chair of United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Young Leaders Cabinet and has served the community as Volunteer Captain for VeloSano, Events Co-Chair of Providence House PHriends Group and a Mentor for Refugee Response.
  • Carter E. Strang, Partner with Tucker Ellis LLP. His community involvement includes serving as Leader-in-Residence at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Chair of the Kent State University Honors College Advisory Committee, and Board Chair of The Center for Community Solutions. A past president of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, he is the principal author of its nationally acclaimed 3Rs curriculum, which provides Cleveland and East Cleveland high school students insights into the law and career goal setting. Strang is also a past president of the Federal Bar Association Northern District of Ohio Chapter and President-Elect of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation.
  • Mary Ann Stropkay, Independent Consultant with Bridgeforce LLC since February 2019. Stropkay is Chair of the United Way Services of Geauga County Board of Directors, Director on the Torchlight Youth Mentoring Alliance board of directors, former Board President and Treasurer of MoCA Cleveland and the former Director of St. Clair Superior Development Corporation.
  • Vanessa Whiting, President of A.E.S Management Corp. and an attorney with extensive experience in real estate and small business enterprise law focused on affordable housing as well as community and economic development. Whiting serves as Chair of the MetroHealth Board of Trustees and chairs the Board’s Legal and Government Relations Committee as well as the Governance Committee. She also serves on the boards of the Tri-C Foundation, the Fairmount Presbyterian Church and the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Whiting co-chairs the Karamu House Capital and Sustaining Campaign and is a Life Member of the NAACP.

“We are thrilled to welcome United Way of Greater Cleveland’s new Directors to the Board,” said Augie Napoli, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s President and CEO. “United Way is fueled by the volunteerism of accomplished and dedicated community leaders like these eleven individuals who have shown tireless devotion and commitment to Greater Cleveland both in their professions and through their philanthropic work. United Way of Greater Cleveland’s new directors bring vast experience from across the public, private and nonprofit sectors which will be essential in helping further enhance our strong cross-sector partnerships and most importantly, our work together to create a better life – one which affords equity and opportunity – for all Clevelanders.”

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Board of Directors is led by Board Chair Paul Dolan, First Vice Chair Enid B. Rosenberg and Second Vice Chair Ira C. Kaplan and comprised of private and public sector leaders from across Cuyahoga, Geauga and Medina counties dedicated to eliminating the cycle of poverty for people in need throughout Greater Cleveland.

For a complete listing of United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Board of Directors, please visit: https://www.unitedwaycleveland.org/who-we-are/leadership-in-action/our-board-of-directors/.

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.        

 

Media contacts

Katie Connell (404-895-5513) kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org

Savannah Heck (440-281-3934) sheck@unitedwaycleveland.org


UNITED WAY OF GREATER CLEVELAND AND THE BOARD OF UNITED WAY SERVICES OF GEAUGA COUNTY APPOINTS KAREN PERKO DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

CLEVELAND: United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Board of United Way Services of Geauga County today announced Karen Perko’s appointment as Director of Community Engagement to develop the organization’s integrated philanthropy and fundraising strategy, increase community engagement and invest in initiatives to serve people in need throughout Geauga County in the most meaningful and lasting ways.

“Karen is an active member of Geauga County. Her passion to help her neighbors and experience in the non-profit community is a wonderful match with United Way Services of Geauga County. I look forward to working alongside her to improve the quality of life for this community,” said Mary Ann Stropkay, board chair of United Way Services of Geauga County.

Perko will work closely with the United Way Services of Geauga County’s advisory board and the leadership team at United Way of Greater Cleveland to continue the two organizations’ 50-year plus partnership to optimize resources and measurably improve the self-sufficiency of individuals and families living throughout Geauga County.

“United Way Services of Geauga County is a constant for this community, providing vital support for our county’s residents, and creating a community where everyone can thrive,” said Perko. “I look forward to a seamless transition and I’m eager to continue the great work already underway at United Way because I love Geauga County. There is nowhere else I would rather live or work.”

Perko will report to Helen Forbes Fields, Executive Vice President of Regional Initiatives and General Counsel at United Way of Greater Cleveland.

“Karen is a tremendous addition to the United Way of Greater Cleveland and United Way Services of Geauga County teams,” said Fields. “Her knowledge of the Geauga county community and her collaboration and leadership skills will ensure that Geauga County residents receive the ongoing support they need.”

Perko was previously Director of Member Impact at Geauga YMCA and is the Head of Personnel at Christ Presbyterian church and a member of the Chardon Local School District Levy and Bond Issues Committees.

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.


UNITED WAY OF GREATER CLEVELAND APPOINTS MARIA BURK DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

CLEVELAND: United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Board of Trustees of United Way of Medina County today announced Interim Director Maria Burk has been appointed Director of Community Engagement to advance partnerships, identify philanthropic investments and coordinate community-wide solutions to improve the lives of individuals living within Medina County.

United Way of Greater Cleveland works closely with United Way of Medina County to address the ongoing needs of Medina County residents, optimizing the collective resources within Cuyahoga and Medina Counties to make a more impactful difference in each community—with all funds raised in Medina County staying in Medina County.

Burk has worked with United Way of Medina County since 2013 and most recently served as Interim Director. In her role, Burk will continue to work alongside the United Way of Medina County Board of Directors and United Way of Greater Cleveland’s leadership team to advance the organization’s strategic regional partnerships across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

“Maria’s leadership is key to United Way of Medina County’s continued success in this community,” said Nick Hanek, Board Chair of United Way of Medina County. “She understands the needs in Medina County and, working closely with United Way of Greater Cleveland and United Way of Medina County’s Board, will create a better future for families living throughout Medina County.”

“I’m honored to accept this role and continue the important work of United Way within Medina County.  Ensuring our children and youth have access to services and programs will remain a focus for the next several years.” said Burk.

Burk reports to Helen Forbes Fields, Executive Vice President of Regional Initiatives and General Counsel at United Way of Greater Cleveland.

“Maria has a valuable perspective that enriches our regional partnership,” said Forbes Fields. “I’ve enjoyed working with her for the past few years to advance our mission. Now, I look forward to continuing to partner with her to strengthen our partnership for the good of every person we serve.”

Burk earned a master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology at Purdue Calumet University.

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.


United Way of Greater Cleveland Congratulates President and CEO Augie Napoli, Named a 2019 “Difference Maker” by Cleveland Jewish News

CLEVELAND: United Way of Greater Cleveland congratulates Augie Napoli, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland, who was named one of 2019’s 18 Difference Makers by Cleveland Jewish News (CJN) for demonstrating outstanding leadership within the Greater Cleveland philanthropic community.

Cleveland Jewish News created the CJN 18 Difference Makers with the mission of highlighting individuals making significant contributions throughout Northeast Ohio’s Jewish community. The Cleveland Jewish News held its fifth annual 18 Difference Makers Awards Ceremony on Sunday evening where Napoli and the 17 other honorees’ significant contributions were recognized.

“Leaders among us like Augie Napoli, and the significant role he and United Way of Greater Cleveland play in serving so many in need throughout our community, are what makes this recognition so meaningful,” said Kevin S. Adelstein, publisher and CEO of the CJN and president of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company. “We couldn’t be more proud to honor Augie and our entire 2019 class of CJN 18 Difference Makers.”

United Way of Greater Cleveland is fighting harder than ever to end poverty across Greater Cleveland through two interconnected approaches. The first is the Community Hub for Basic Needs, a network of wrap-around services, addressing the basic and immediate needs of those in poverty such as food and shelter. The second is the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan which brings together thought leaders from across the city and the nation to form data-driven Solution Centers. These Solution Centers are dedicated to developing long-term solutions to address the root causes of poverty, including racism and childhood abuse.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors at United Way of Greater Cleveland, I congratulate Augie on being named one of Cleveland Jewish News’ 2019 Difference Makers,” said Paul Dolan, United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Board Chair.

“This is a well-deserved honor as Augie is fearless in his leadership and tireless in his devotion to United Way of Greater Cleveland’s mission to end poverty and create a better life for those living in need across our city.”

United Way is leading the charge by partnering, endorsing and advocating for those in need alongside other nonprofit, public and private sector partners. Last year alone, United Way helped 320,000 people through the Community Hub for Basic Needs and answered 276,000 calls through 2-1-1 HelpLink, a free and confidential service, successfully connecting 90% of individuals with the resources they need.

“Every person in Cleveland deserves a chance to succeed,” said Napoli. “I was blessed with a lifetime of support from family and friends which resulted in many opportunities and successes.”

He added, “Given the magnitude of the poverty issues we face in our city, my focus now is to make support and opportunities available to all those within the communities we serve who have not been as fortunate. United Way of Greater Cleveland is the culmination of my career – the most important opportunity to make our city a better place in the most meaningful and lasting ways possible for the people who need it the most. I thank Cleveland Jewish News for this honor.”

Since 2016, Napoli has served as President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland, the region’s largest private funder of health and human services. Napoli and United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Board of Directors led a transformative, three-year strategic plan that has diversified the organization’s fundraising streams, ensured increased operational excellence and transformed its investment strategies.

Throughout his career as a nonprofit executive in Northeast Ohio, Napoli has guided numerous programs instrumental in bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in philanthropic investments to Northeast Ohio.

Napoli is an active leader in the Cleveland community. In addition to his role at United Way, he has served as an adjunct faculty member at Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel Center for Nonprofit Leadership. He is also affiliated with numerous professional and community organizations, including the Cleveland Committee on Foreign Relations, the City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland Transformational Alliance, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland – Community Advisory Council, the 50 Club of Cleveland and Say Yes to Education.

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.


UNITED WAY OF GREATER CLEVELAND APPLAUDS RIGHT TO COUNSEL LEGISLATION PASSAGE BY CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL

The first effort of its kind in Ohio and across the Midwest, right to counsel legislation guarantees legal representation in eviction cases for Cleveland families with children living at or below the federal poverty line

Cleveland is the fourth U.S. city to enact Right to Counsel, a proven model which saves millions of dollars in U.S. cities

CLEVELAND: United Way of Greater Cleveland applauds the passage of key legislation today by Cleveland City Council, a city-wide effort that guarantees legal representation for families with children living at or below the poverty line and facing eviction with United Way serving as Lead Partner Organization.

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s Housing Justice Alliance effort, initially funded by the Sisters of Charity Foundation’s Innovation Mission and now led by United Way, marks the first of its kind in the state of Ohio and across the Midwest. Cleveland is only the fourth city in the U.S. to pass this legislation which will stabilize the person in need to prevent eviction and break the cycle of poverty.

“Right to counsel is not about tenant versus landlord -- it’s about stabilizing the person in need to prevent eviction and United Way is proud to work alongside City Council, Legal Aid and the Housing Justice Alliance on this public-private partnership,” said Augie Napoli, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland. “This city-wide effort is exactly what fuels the kind of change we need to permanently break the cycle of poverty in Cleveland. We applaud Cleveland City Council on the passage of this essential legislation and Council President Kelley for his leadership and courage in making right to counsel a reality.”

Approximately 9,000 evictions are filed in the City of Cleveland each year -- 60 percent include households with children. Eviction can cause costly and traumatic instability issues and is a root cause of poverty leading to homelessness, job loss and decreased academic performance and school attendance.

“This legislation was not only the right thing to do, but the moral thing to do and I thank City Council for passing Right to Counsel on behalf of the citizens in our city,” said Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, lead sponsor of the legislation. “We are committed to restoring basic human rights to families in our city and to stabilizing our neighborhoods through our city-wide partnership with United Way and other organizations who have played a vital role in advancing this legislation.”

As the Lead Partner Organization for the Right to Counsel program, United Way brings not only fundraising capacity but also experience in program development and administration, as well as data collection, analysis and outcome measurement. United Way will lead the tracking and reporting of progress made as a result of the passage of this legislation.

For decades, United Way has invested heavily in housing stability and emergency housing. With United Way serving as Lead Partner Organization of the right to counsel legislation, individuals will receive access to legal counsel, as well as access to United Way’s provider network of health and human services nonprofits to connect with wrap-around care, including food, childcare, education, employment opportunities and more. The program will provide legal representation to eligible tenants beginning in June 30, 2020.

The Right to Counsel program is the latest initiative within United Way’s Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan that gathers the brightest minds throughout private and public sectors to create solutions addressing the root causes of poverty.

By the numbers

In Cuyahoga County, 80 percent of landlords cited non-payment of rent as the primary cause for their eviction filing, and 40 percent of homeless families cited eviction as their primary reason for living in a shelter.

An average of $1,200* in rental support would have prevented eviction, according to preliminary research from Case Western Reserve University — a fraction of the cost of a stay at an emergency shelter for a family, which can cost more than $16,000** on average, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Across the country last year, more than half a million people experienced homelessness on a single night.

Right to Counsel is a proven model that has saved millions of dollars in U.S. cities, including New York City, which experienced an 84 percent decrease in evictions for tenants with legal representation and an estimated cost savings of $320 million per year by preventing issues like family homelessness. Newark and San Francisco also have Right to Counsel.

Tenants can seek more information by contacting United Way’s 2-1-1 HelpLink, a free and confidential 24-hour lifeline with referral specialists or the Legal Aid’s tenant hotline at 216-861-5955.

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.

 

*approximately two months’ rent

** the approximate cost to stay in an emergency shelter for 68 nights, the average number of nights per stay


United Way of Greater Cleveland Brings the Community Together to Advance Innovative Solutions to End Poverty Among Greater Clevelanders

Delos M. “Toby” Cosgrove, MD, to Serve as Distinguished Chair of the Impact Institute, United Way’s Think Tank with an Action Plan

Panel of Experts Discuss Effective Solutions to the Housing Problems Continuing the Cycle of Poverty for Generations

CLEVELAND -- United Way of Greater Cleveland gathered community leaders together at its Annual Community Luncheon to discuss meaningful change and long-term solutions underway to improve the lives of those in need throughout Greater Cleveland.

Russ Mitchell, anchor and managing editor at WKYC Studios in Cleveland, emceed the event held at the Huntington Convention Center on Friday, September 27 where Augie Napoli, President and CEO of United Way, provided the keynote address, sharing an update about the agency’s business pivot designed to better serve the people in need across Greater Cleveland.

Board Chairman Paul Dolan, Owner, Chairman and CEO of the Cleveland Indians, welcomed the more than 1,000 attendees, reviewed United Way’s accomplishments over the past year and outlined initiatives for the coming year. Dolan recognized the importance of advancing the organization’s mission: “To make sure the person in need is at the center of all we do.” Dolan continued, “No citizen’s zip code should determine the trajectory of their opportunities.”

Dolan also announced Dr. Cosgrove as the first Distinguished Chair of the United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, that brings together the brightest minds from academia, agency, corporate, philanthropic and government organizations. Dr. Cosgrove is the former CEO and President of the Cleveland Clinic and Executive Advisor of Google Cloud Healthcare and Life Sciences.

Local, state and national experts participated in a panel discussion at the event to explore and address an issue that the Impact Institute is working hard to solve for through its Housing Stability Solution Center: the life-long consequences that unsafe and unstable housing have on families and children, including their academic, health and quality of life outcomes.

 

Panelists included:

  • Cosgrove
  • President of Cleveland City Council, Kevin Kelley
  • Executive Director of Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Colleen Cotter
  • Executive Director of CHN Housing Partners Kevin Nowak
  • Chairman of the Siemer Institute, Barbara Siemer

The panel focused on the importance of keeping families in a stable home.

Dr. Cosgrove noted that a healthy lifestyle is only 20% related to the type of healthcare one receives, with another 20% related to genetics and the remaining 60% related to social determinants, including housing, education, food and job security.

Kelley announced an important step forward toward reducing evictions in the city: legislation expected to pass on Monday with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s support that will provide families with children living 100% below the poverty level in the city with legal representation in housing court.

The event closed with Napoli’s keynote address, where he gave an update on the racial equity work the organization has been undertaking within their initiatives, including the Impact Institute, and through community partnerships, including United Black Fund of Cleveland and the Equity Leadership Council, which is comprised of leaders from across the Cleveland community.

“It’s my unwavering conviction that the space United Way of Greater Cleveland occupies when it comes to fighting poverty must include confronting racism,” said Napoli. “All of our efforts and innovations will be for naught if we turn our backs on this epidemic of racial inequity that has been festering for so many years,” he continued.

Napoli reiterated the importance of the organization’s collaboration across the community. “I know we can change the trajectory of families who’ve been hounded by the effects of poverty for generations,” said Napoli. “We’re setting our sights on creating a community that is based on opportunities for all.”

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Founded in 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland is a local, independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty across the Greater Cleveland area. The largest private-sector investor of health and human services, United Way invests in efforts that address poverty using a two-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the daily issues affecting those living in poverty, the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The second drives research and innovation through the Impact Institute, a think tank with an action plan, focused on identifying long-term solutions to break the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit www.unitedwaycleveland.org.