NONPROFIT COALITION COMMENDS CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL FOR PASSAGE OF RESOLUTION TO DECLARE RACISM A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS

Next steps will address structural racism issues and poorer health outcomes affecting people of color through community-wide efforts supported by public and private sector advocates

CLEVELAND, OHIO: A coalition of six nonprofit organizations, representing Racism is a Public Health Crisis Working Group, today commended Councilman Blaine Griffin and Cleveland City Council for unanimously passing a resolution earlier this week declaring racism a public health crisis. Racism is a Public Health Crisis Working Group is led by six partner organizations, including Birthing Beautiful Communities, First Year Cleveland - a public/private coalition at Case Western Reserve University, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Cleveland Branch (NAACP Cleveland Branch), United Way of Greater Cleveland, Urban League of Greater Cleveland and YWCA of Greater Cleveland. These organizations worked closely with Cleveland City Council for more than a year to advance the declaration which Mayor Frank Jackson is expected to sign soon.

“For too long, systemic racism has been a public health crisis in Cleveland and, as a community, we have a shared responsibility to do something about it,” said Blaine Griffin, Cleveland City Councilman and one of the resolution’s main sponsors. “This resolution acknowledges racism exists and has caused irreparable harm to African Americans which is a good first step but there is a lot more work to be done to ensure all Clevelanders see and feel real change. I look forward to building out our internal and external partnerships with Racism is a Public Health Crisis Working Group and the community to ensure this declaration is more than just words and becomes entrenched in the soul of the city of Cleveland.”

The legislation requires the city to create various working groups to develop and implement inclusive strategies to promote equity and eliminate structural issues that create racial disparities. Such disparities include reduced access to education, jobs with living wages, earning power, stable housing, health care and overall quality of life. These disparities contribute to poorer health outcomes overall among African Americans, including higher rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, infant and maternal mortality. The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention also recognizes that discrimination has a negative impact on health in a community. The coronavirus pandemic has served to further magnify these disparities as the latest overall mortality rate for African Americans is 2.4 times as high as the rate for Whites and 2.2 times as high as the rate for Asians and Latinos, according to the non-partisan APM Research Lab.

"The question now is, will our white allies step up to the challenge?” said Margaret Mitchell, President and CEO of YWCA. “It is going to take black, white, and brown people coming together to push back against 400 years of systemic injustice."

“As everyone is asking what they can do, let’s examine our consciences, our organizations, our business and personal practices to ensure we’re acknowledging and addressing racial inequity wherever we see it,” said Marsha Mockabee, President and CEO of Urban League. “When faced with the ugly that may surprise us, let’s summon the courage to transform.”

“Racism is a pandemic of the worst kind that has plagued our city for too long as broken systems and indifference have allowed these injustices to perpetuate,” said Augie Napoli, President and CEO at United Way. “We have a significant opportunity to right many wrongs perpetrated against the African American community to ensure inclusive prosperity exists for all.”

Racism is a Public Health Crisis Working Group’s advocacy efforts over the last year include significant milestones that led to Cleveland City Council’s official declaration this week, including:

  • The 400 Years of Inequity Summit hosted by First Year Cleveland and YWCA in November 2019. Nearly 600 attendees committed to eliminating racial disparities. The Summit memorialized the legacy of slavery, connecting the history to modern day racial inequities and outlining the tools necessary for local governments to act on creating a more equitable future. The action of declaring racism a public health crisis in Cleveland was first called for at this Summit.
  • During a presentation to Cleveland City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee in January 2020, leaders of the organizations representing Racism is a Public Health Crisis Working Group requested the Declaration of Racism as a Public Health Crisis.
  • Ongoing educational efforts by the Racism is a Public Health Crisis Working Group continued throughout 2019 and 2020 among public health officials, including the Health Commissioner for Franklin County Public Health and the President and CEO of National Institute for Children’s Health Quality, to recognize the adverse effects of racism and join a growing body of officials willing to declare racism a public health crisis.

Mitchell and Mockabee co-lead the Racism is a Public Health Crisis Working Group, working alongside their nonprofit partners and Cleveland City Council to advance the initiatives outlined within the resolution.

In May 2019, Milwaukee, WI became the first U.S. city to declare racism a public health crisis. Since then, other county, city and statewide resolutions have passed in Illinois, Missouri, and Pennsylvania with more expected to follow across the nation. In Ohio, declarations were made on May 12, 2020 by Franklin County Public Health and on June 2, 2020 Columbus Public Health and the Columbus City Council declared racism a public health crisis. At the time this news release was issued, Democratic lawmakers in Ohio have also proposed legislation to declare racism a public health crisis at the state level.

Media contacts:
Birthing Beautiful Communities – Jazmin Long at 216.307.1538 and jlong@birthingbeautiful.org
First Year Cleveland – Valerie Grace at 440.241.1391 and valerie.grace@case.edu
NAACP – Aliyah Debose at 216.231.6260 and ClevelandBranchNAACP@gmail.com
United Way of Greater Cleveland – Katie Connell at 404.895.5513 and kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org
Urban League – Marsha Mockabee at 216.622.0998 and mmockabee@ulcleveland.org YWCA - Paige Robar at 216.509.4388 and probar@ywcaofcleveland.org


PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS COLLABORATE ON FACE MASK DONATION AND DISTRIBUTION AS PART OF COVID-19 RESPONSE EFFORTS

Nearly 100,000 KN95 face masks provided to 100 Greater Cleveland nonprofits to help address shortage

CLEVELAND, OHIO: Seven public and private sector organizations partnered together to fulfill the need for protective face masks on behalf of local service organizations as they continue to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This initiative was coordinated by Marc Byrnes, Cleveland civic leader, Chairman Emeritus of Oswald Companies and previous Board Chair at United Way of Greater Cleveland, and Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation, in cooperation with the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Factory Direct Health, Jewish Federation of Cleveland, MedWish International, Oswald Companies and United Way of Greater Cleveland.

MedWish International volunteered to warehouse, sort and distribute the face masks to the agencies. United Way worked directly with MedWish and the team to coordinate distribution of the 100,000 masks to 100 local agencies. Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Cleveland Foundation, Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Oswald Companies and United Way funded the mask donations. Factory Direct Health, a California-based supply chain management company, focused on cost reduction and quality assurance, sourced the masks on a pro bono basis.

B-roll, including partner organization and agency interviews, photos and videos about this collaborative response to the needs of nonprofit agencies serving the community can be accessed at vimeo.com/user/8481302/folder/1968374 by entering the password masks. Interview opportunities are also available.

 

B-roll and video interviews include:

Marc Byrnes, Chairman Emeritus of Oswald Companies and previous Board Chair at United Way of Greater Cleveland

David Heller, Board Chair at Jewish Federation of Cleveland

Rick Kemm, Executive Director at May Dugan Center

Carolina Masri, Executive Director of MedWish International

Nancy Mendez, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Greater Cleveland

Ryan Moreau, Co-Founder of Factory Direct Health

Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation

Michael Sering, Vice President of Housing and Shelter at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry

 

Media contacts:                                                                                

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland – Jim Armstrong at 216-696-6525 X 3290 and jarmstrong@dioceseofcleveland.org

Cleveland Foundation – Alan Ashby at 216-615-7591 and aashby@clevefdn.org

Factory Direct Health – Ryan Moreau at 714-883-4007 and ryan@rypath.com

Jewish Federation of Cleveland – Rebecca Golsky at 216-593-2877-o | 440-476-6875-m and rgolsky@jcfcleve.org

MedWish International – Sakina Kapasi at 216-692-1685 X44 and skapasi@medwish.org

Oswald Companies – Christina Schmitz at 216-658-8540 and cschmitz@oswaldcompanies.com

United Way of Greater Cleveland – Katie Connell at 404-895-5513-m and kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org


UNITED WAY OF GREATER CLEVELAND COMMITS $3 MILLION OVER THREE YEARS TO PROMOTE HOUSING STABILITY DURING CRISIS UPON CRISIS IN CITY

United Way of Greater Cleveland and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Co-Lead Program
that Provides Families Facing Eviction with Free Legal Counsel in Housing Court

CLEVELAND: United Way of Greater Cleveland today announced a $3 million commitment over three years to promote housing stability and accelerate Right to Counsel – Cleveland (RTC-C) during the COVID-19 pandemic. RTC-C will provide eligible families living at or below the federal poverty line and facing eviction with free legal representation in housing court beginning July 1, 2020.

“Cleveland now has a crisis upon a crisis within our community,” said Augie Napoli, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland. “Given our city already had some of the worst poverty rates in the nation for children, working adults and seniors before the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring Right to Counsel - Cleveland moves forward as planned is more important than ever. United Way of Greater Cleveland is proud to commit $3 million over the next three years to the program as part of our work within the Impact Institute, a cornerstone
of our business transformation.”

Napoli added, “Right to Counsel is about empowering people and advocating for stable housing and we look forward to partnering with Legal Aid, Mayor Frank Jackson, Cleveland City Council and the entire community to tackle this root cause of poverty.”

Data available before the COVID-19 outbreak reported that approximately 9,000 evictions were filed against tenants in the city of Cleveland alone. Sixty percent of these evictions were filed against households with children. While new data showing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Greater Clevelanders is not yet available, the number of individuals and families at risk of eviction is expected to dramatically increase as a result of this crisis.

Right to Counsel - Cleveland costs approximately $7 million over its first three years of operation. This $3 million investment from United Way of Greater Cleveland is made possible through principal gifts directed to the Impact Institute’s Housing Stability Solution Center.

The investment will support United Way of Greater Cleveland and Legal Aid’s joint program efforts, which include staffing needed to provide representation to the estimated 3,000 eligible cases each year. $1.5 million of United Way’s $3 million-dollar commitment will be designated to Legal Aid to support this initiative.

In addition, funds will be used to evaluate the program, implement a robust community education and awareness campaign and provide wraparound services for clients.

This Housing Stability funding announcement follows the Cleveland philanthropic community’s swift creation of the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund of which United Way of Greater Cleveland is a partner. Under the Cleveland Foundation’s leadership, the Fund distributes grants to nonprofit organizations serving on the front lines of the pandemic throughout Greater Cleveland. Donations can be made at ClevelandFoundation.org/Response in any amount, and all contributions are tax deductible.

What is Right to Counsel – Cleveland?
The RTC-C Program will provide Clevelanders facing eviction living at or below the federal poverty line with children the right to free legal representation in Cleveland Housing Court. Eviction can create costly and traumatic challenges for families and is a root cause of poverty leading to homelessness, job loss, as well as decreased academic performance and school attendance.

In October 2019, Cleveland City Council, under the leadership of Council President Kevin Kelley, championed and passed legislation that established free legal counsel as a right for families with a minimum of one child in the household who are living at or below the federal poverty line and facing eviction.

Since the legislation’s passage, United Way of Greater Cleveland and Legal Aid have prepared to launch the program, which begins providing services to qualifying families on July 1, 2020.

“Access to free legal representation in housing court helps protect a basic human right – a roof over your head,” said Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley. “Before this legislation, that right only applied to criminal court. We’re confident that Right to Counsel – Cleveland and the partnership between United Way of Greater Cleveland and Legal Aid will make a significant difference in the lives of Clevelanders.”

Cleveland City Council named United Way of Greater Cleveland as the lead organization and selected Legal Aid as the lead provider of legal representation.

“We are eager to launch right to counsel in Cleveland Housing Court in 2020 with the City of Cleveland and United Way of Greater Cleveland,” said Legal Aid Executive Director, Colleen Cotter. “We are proud to be the first city in the United States to launch right to counsel with this unique public-private partnership.”

As the lead organization, United Way of Greater Cleveland strengthens RTC-C through ongoing fundraising efforts to secure the $7 million needed over three years, experience in program development and administration, as well as data collection, analysis and outcome measurement. United Way of Greater Cleveland hired Julie Wisneski who now serves as program manager for RTC-C where she works closely with the lead organizations to ensure the success of the RTC-C.

Beyond the representation by Legal Aid in Cleveland Housing Court, RTC-C will aid families with the additional resources they need, such as food, utilities and rental assistance, through CHN Housing Partner’s Family Stability Initiative, which United Way of Greater Cleveland has funded since 2014. RTC-C also connects clients to wraparound resources they need, including food and shelter, through United Way of Greater Cleveland’s 2-1-1 HelpLink, a free and confidential 24/7 service.

RTC-C is based on a proven model that has supported families and saved millions of dollars in U.S. cities, including New York City, which experienced an 84 percent reduction in evictions for tenants with legal representation and an estimated cost savings of $320 million per year by preventing issues like family homelessness.

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Media contacts:
Katie Connell (404-895-5513 - m) kconnell@unitedwaycleveland.org
Savannah Heck (440-281-3934 - m) sheck@unitedwaycleveland.org
Melanie Shakarian (216-215-0074 - m) melanie.shakarian@lasclev.org


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.