The Community Hub for Basic Needs

Amongst the largest U.S. cities, Cleveland is the worst in child poverty, the second worst for working age adults, and the third worst in older adult poverty.

We Provide Basic Needs Because

population - 51% of our city's children in poverty
population - 30% of our city's working age adults in poverty
population - 22% of our city's seniors in poverty

Poverty in our region is at a critical level and our neighbors are counting on us to act.

Simply put, what we’ve done in the past is no longer enough to create a future where everyone in our community has an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive. With Cleveland now the worst among large U.S. cities in child poverty, the second worst for working age adults, and the third worst in older adult poverty, this is an urgent moment that calls on us to do better. That’s why we reimagined the way we serve those in need and those who give by taking a more active role in reducing poverty and focusing on results.

We’re responding to Greater Cleveland’s poverty crisis with a new, bolder approach.

Since 1913, United Way of Greater Cleveland has convened, connected, and activated our community to reduce poverty. Our innovative thinking has never been needed more. Today, we’re analyzing our region’s needs to identify ambitious and specific poverty reduction goals. Then, working with select community partners and leaders like you, we’re designing and implementing anti-poverty solutions that make a meaningful difference. In this way, we’re no longer an umbrella organization that funds a wide swath of agencies. Instead, we’re a hands-on, roll up our sleeves, get the job done leader.

The Community Hub for Basic Needs is made up of three components:

Community Hub for Basic Needs


An essential part of the work we do at United Way is our 2-1-1 HelpLink service, 2-1-1 HelpLink is a free and confidential 24/7 helpline that connects people in need with more than 2,500 area agencies to ensure they receive essential resources such as utility, food and shelter assistance.

Public accessibility to

Center of Excellence for Social Services

We continue to grow our educational programming for all agencies and organizations that serve the community, not just those we fund. We’ll host and lead community conversations about the most pressing issues we must work together to solve.

open to

Strategic Investments

In partnership with the agencies with which we work, we will establish realistic and measurable goals to serve those living in the deepest poverty in our community in the most meaningful ways possible. And then we’ll work together to meet those targets.

Strategic investments in

Our Goals

Priority 1

Priority 1: Children in poverty

SCHOOL READINESS is our focus.

For every $1 million that we raise, 5,000 children will be ready for school through early education.

Priority 2

Priority 2: Working Age Adults


For every $1 million we raise, 1,000 adults will be connected to a path to a living wage job.

Priority 3

Priority 3: Seniors

ISOLATION RELIEF is our focus.

For every $1 million we raise, 5,000 seniors will receive services that provide Basic Needs and decrease harmful effects of isolation.