Impact Institute

Studying Causes, Effecting Change


Traditional thinking hasn’t solved Greater Cleveland’s poverty problem. It’s takes a thorough examination of poverty’s root causes and investments in innovative, long-term solutions to make a real difference. The best chance at finding lasting solutions to our community’s chronic poverty is United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Impact Institute.

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

The Impact Institute started in 2019 with a $1.5 million gift from Sally and Alexander M. Cutler and the appointment of Dr. Toby Cosgrove as its inaugural distinguished chair. Dr. Cosgrove served as Cleveland Clinic’s CEO for 13 years, holds 30 patents for new medical devices, pioneered groundbreaking surgical techniques, and revolutionized health care best practices by focusing on patient outcomes.

Dr. Toby Cosgrove

United Way of Greater Cleveland is going beyond treating the effects of poverty. It’s going after the causes of poverty. It’s building innovative partnerships to promote economic growth and secure regional prosperity. If we united to create the conditions that lead to better lives, we cannot fail to make our region a model of success for all Americans.”

Dr. Cosgrove’s involvement with United Way includes chairing United Way’s 2019 campaign, serving as part of United Way’s board leadership, and sharing his views on important issues regarding generational poverty in local publications:

“Personal view: Housing crisis looms large over Cleveland.”

Crain’s Cleveland Business – Dec. 13, 2020.

Impact Institute Programs

The Impact Institute programs are aligned with United Way’s Community Strategies: Economic Mobility, Health Pathways, and Housing Stability.

Accountable Health Communities

United Way’s 211 provides comprehensive on-site and remote screening to help people access services that address the social determinants of health. 

Collaborative Investments + Health

United Way brings together hospital networks and insurance companies to invest in programs that keep people healthy.

Family Spaces

Family Spaces provides neighborhood hubs of information and for families with preschoolers. 

Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition

The Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition is committed to reducing lead exposure among Cleveland’s families and children.

Right To Counsel-Cleveland

Tenants facing eviction in Housing Court now have an ally in their corner. Right to Counsel provides free legal representation.

Scholar House

Cleveland Scholar House removes barriers to economic opportunity by providing housing and wrap-around services for single college students and their children.

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