Leadership in Action

Defining a New Era of Leadership

Leadership is about action. Action is about change. And change is about how we, as a community, are finding news ways to address the needs of our community.

Now, more than ever, we need leaders to create change in businesses, in community-based organizations and in families to solve poverty-related issues in Greater Cleveland. This is not just in words, but these are the actions required to seek out the root causes of poverty and address the daily need.

Leaders come in many forms. They are your neighbors, your coworkers, and potentially, YOU. All across our region, individuals are leading with actions to unite for a greater Cleveland for all.

Our Board of Directors and Staff

We’re bringing changemakers together to achieve it.

Traditional thinking hasn’t solved the problem of poverty. That’s why, in 2018, we launched the Impact Institute. It’s an ambitious collaboration between government, nonprofit agencies, foundations and the private sector—from
policymakers to the folks on the ground—to seek best practices and profound approaches to tackling the root causes of poverty. These thought leaders will leverage regional data to develop long-term solutions. Proactive, not reactive.

Beyond theory to action.

Funding for this initiative will go above and beyond our annual campaign. We’re adding new sources of transformational gifts through a Major Gifts program to support the development of new solutions—and funding them.
The Impact Institute is the region’s best chance at finding sustainable solutions to the chronic social problems that keep thousands of Greater Clevelanders trapped in a cycle of poverty.


Impact Institute data will provide a clear approach to problem-solving. One source will be United Way’s own 211 HelpLink. What we’re consistently hearing from hundreds of calls every day allows us to begin to detect trends.
A growing volume of one type of call—foreclosures, for example—can signal issues about to become major problems. This information helps inform our public advocacy agenda.

The power of a changemaker.

After 13 years as CEO of Cleveland Clinic and a career as a renowned physician, Dr. Toby Cosgrove brings the compelling experience and insight of a changemaker to the chairmanship of this year’s campaign. Dr. Cosgrove has 30 patents for new medical devices, performed the first minimally invasive mitral valve surgery over a worldwide video network, and reinvented best practices in healthcare to focus on patient outcomes.

Dr. Cosgrove has been known to quote Louis Pasteur to explain his approach to changemaking: “My strength lies solely in my tenacity.” In other words, he’s in it for the long term. And so is United Way.


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 unite to create the conditions that lead to better lives, we cannot fail to make our region a model of success for all Americans.”