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United Way of Greater Cleveland addresses the needs of our neighbors living in poverty

How we view the causes of poverty

Poverty is the result of a complex system. What we see are individuals in hard situations—people experiencing homelessness, hunger, unemployment—but poverty is driven by deeply rooted systems. Decades of unequal access to education, healthcare, affordable housing, and living wages keeps families and communities in or near poverty for generations. 

Understanding the complexities of this system is the first step toward breaking the cycle of poverty. Providing immediate relief to people in crisis is important, but to see lasting change we must also address the underlying drivers of poverty. 

The Poverty Tree

The poverty tree is a graphic that shows how underlying systems result in the visible symptoms of poverty. At United Way of Greater Cleveland, we are addressing both the roots and the branches of poverty through grantmaking, strategic partnerships, and innovative programs.

Watch an overview video

Click to learn about one facet of United Way’s innovative approach toward fighting generational poverty in the Community Hub for Basic Needs. The Hub provides an immediate, coordinated response to people experiencing homelessness, hunger, or any combination of poverty symptoms.

Click to learn how the Impact Institute leverages the expertise of academic, public, private, and nonprofit institutions, thought leaders local data on poverty trends to shine a spotlight on the areas of greatest need in our community.

How we work toward poverty relief

United Way’s investments in programs, services, and agencies reach tens of thousands of Greater Clevelanders who stand to benefit from three community strategies. Each strategy area brings together agencies and innovative initiatives designed to support our neighbors in crisis and move them toward stability. We hold ourselves and our partners accountable for achieving measurable goals in each area.

Click on each icon to learn more:

Increasing access to family-sustaining wages through educational and workforce pathways.

Addressing the social determinants of health to improve health outcomes.

Decreasing homelessness and keeping homes and families safe.

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