Uniting Communities to Change Lives

Photo provided by United Way of Greater Cincinnati


United Way of Greater Cincinnati is on a mission to unite communities to change lives so that everyone has the opportunity to thrive. For more than 100 years, United Way has represented the Greater Cincinnati region’s largest mobilization of people coming together to build a stronger community. We are tens of thousands of volunteers, nearly 85,000 donors, more than 1,000 partnering companies, 140 leading social service agencies, and a workforce of over 100 committed people – all coming together to do more than any of us can alone.


Our Impact

  United Way improves the lives of 330,000 people every year – that’s 1 in 5 of every one of us.

  United Way partners with 140 best-in-class agencies that provide proven services that deliver outcomes in four key areas: basic needs, education, financial stability, and health.

  United Way is uniting our partners around a family-centered approach to tackling poverty. Families in poverty face complex challenges, and this approach serves families better through more holistic, more coordinated, and more client-focused supports for the whole family to help them achieve their goals.

  Last year, more than 1,300 families were served through this new approach and their progress tracked.


Our Work In Education

Educating our youngest community members has been a top priority for United Way for decades. United Way continues to invest in local efforts to ensure access to quality and affordable Pre-K through the work of United Way Success By 6®. Success By 6® is a regional effort that brings together a cross-sector of partners to ensure that children and families have the resources needed to enter kindergarten prepared. Research shows that for kids in poverty, kindergarten readiness is a strong predictor of reading proficiency in elementary school and on-time high school graduation.

On the K-12 front, United Way invests in community learning centers and quality youth-serving programs. These programs provide key wraparound supports that help children and families thrive inside and outside of the classroom. Through our partnership, children and families have access to school-based health centers, quality after school tutoring and enrichment, summer learning opportunities, and other social services geared towards reducing barriers to learning and high school graduation.   

We are proud to highlight our partnership with the following K-12 School Districts across our three-state (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana), 10-county region (Boone, Brown, Campbell, Clermont, Dearborn, Grant, Hamilton, Kenton, Ohio, and Middletown).


Kathy Burkhardt, Superintendent

Erlanger-Elsmere Schools

Q. How important is effective learning for students, from Pre-K to graduation, when it comes to reducing poverty in our region?

A. High-quality learning opportunities are essential for all children, cradle to career. This includes opportunities that focus on academic, behavioral and social emotional learning. Any learning experience that does not take the whole student into consideration, no matter what the age, is ignoring essential life-skills learning that all students need to be successful.

Q. How has your partnership with United Way’s Success By 6® helped in the advancement of your early learning initiatives?

A. United Way Success By 6® has provided support and guidance as we have worked to develop a community model that can be replicated across our region and our state. The Me and My School Summer Program for incoming kindergartners – developed by United Way and partially funded by United Way across our region – has also assisted many children with kindergarten transition in many school districts.

Q. How would you encourage other communities in our region to embrace some of the Early Learning strategies that have worked for you?

A.  I would say we are always better together, and if everyone understands the importance of early learning for all children – birth to career – and truly invests in ALL children’s early learning, we can prevent many future problems for our students. If we want to have students college- and career-ready, we should not wait until they
are behind.


Beth Hendricks, Amanda Elementary

Middletown School District

Q. How important is effective learning for students, from Pre-K to graduation, when it comes to reducing poverty in our region?

A. Our District Strategic Plan has a strong focus on closing the equity gap for all students. We are modernizing our approach by leveraging technology with all educational platforms to create opportunities for all K-12 students to invent, explore and grow as creative problem solvers. Our district also has a focus on recruiting and retaining staff who possess diverse cultural appreciation and who represent a similar diversity to our MCSD community. We hosted an Urban Educator Night where college students from across the region came to our 7-12 campus to experience our district culture and, hopefully, discover a passion for working in an urban environment.

Q. How has your partnership with United Way’s Success By 6® helped in the advancement of your early learning initiatives?

A. Middletown’s partnership with United Way’s Success By 6® allows for continued support for our family community engagement. Without United Way’s financial support, these programs would not be able to be maintained or offered annually. This summer, United Way’s Success by 6® will partner with us on our Home-Blitz program to identify children who are 3-, 4-, and 5-years-old, and introduce them to the MyPre-K program, providing activities and resources to prepare them
for kindergarten.


Winton Woods School District

Kevin Jones, Primary North Principal

Danielle Wallace, Primary South Principal

Elizabeth Styles, Preschool Principal

Corina Denny, Community Engagement Coordinator

Q. How important is effective learning for students, from Pre-K to graduation, when it comes to reducing poverty in our region?

A. The playing field for children across the country is not level. Unfortunately, the zip code in which you reside has a large impact on access to educational opportunities. There are many factors in the life of a child outside the school walls that educators cannot control. However, we can control what happens inside the building, including our pedagogy, delivery method, culture and the degree to which we trust, believe in and empower our students.


Q. What has your district done to make this a priority for families in your area?

A. We offer programs and opportunities that support students in facing a variety of challenges, such as lack of technology, home internet
access, nutritious meals and academic support outside the school day, just to name a few.

  As of 2019-20, five college credit courses will be taught on our high school campus including algebra, precalculus, calculus, leadership and English.

  We eliminated general school fees and other various barriers to curricular and co-curricular opportunities.

  Envision Children provides additional academic support for students in grades K-6 outside the school day.

  Four years of offering a Jumpstart event (funded by United Way’s Success By 6®), giving preschool and kindergarten students a school orientation experience that includes bus rides, engaging with new peers and more, all before the first day of school.


Ife Bell, Community Partnership Manager

Cincinnati Public Schools

Q. What approach has Cincinnati Public Schools taken to address the needs of families in our community and help reduce poverty in our region?

A. I want to share a quote by Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.” Education is often seen as the key to the exit out of poverty. For families in poverty, Cincinnati Public Schools’ Community Learning Center addresses some of those needs through partnerships with our communities and our families. It’s thinking about the success of the school and the success of the community being inextricably linked. United Way has been a significant partner of ours in that space for many years, as well as a cornerstone in the community for many years. They’ve been able to bring partnerships to the table that serve our students and families through health and wellness, enrichment, youth development, basic needs and other integrated supports.


Vera Brooks, Interim Director of Early Childhood

Cincinnati Public Schools

We are the foundation that, with the help and the collaboration of many partners, also provides assistance to families prior to them enrolling or registering in our classrooms. We’re also partnering with organizations such as Project Connect, so if a family comes to enroll or is enrolled in our preschools and becomes homeless, the parents can focus on addressing critical issues with a United Way partner, knowing their child is safe in one of our schools and receiving a quality education. We look at strong programming and we make wrapping services around families a top priority.

Q. How do you see this work continuing, moving  forward?

A. As we look toward the future, we embrace the My Tomorrow movement that is focused on how we ensure that students are exploring careers while also being prepared to take advantage of opportunities that lie right on the other side of graduation. Our partnership with partners like United Way has been a significant part of that work.


Stacie Strotman & Scott Alter

Covington Independent Schools

Q. How important are quality out-of-school time and family engagement when it comes to reducing poverty in our region?

A. High-quality out of school time can be one of the most essential programs to help reduce poverty in our region and throughout the country. Glenn O. Swing Elementary – as all schools in the district – has embraced using out-of-school time opportunities (before, after and summer) to extend the school day for many students who are struggling academically, and to also serve as an enrichment for academically strong students.


Q. How has your partnership with United Way helped you prepare your students for success in school and after graduation?

A. The funding provided through United Way and this community has allowed Covington Partners to provide a Community Learning Center (CLC) approach in each of the seven schools in Covington Independent Public Schools. Covington Partners believes that learning has no boundaries and our students have the potential for greatness. Covington students are at promise – NOT at risk. When we as a community commit to transform our school buildings into CLCs, we create a place where coordination of services is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., all year long.

We invite you to join United Way as we work to break the cycle of poverty for families in GreaterCincinnati by participating in our 2019 Community Campaign, set to kick off in August. To learn more about our campaign, or how you can get involved, please visit us at www.uwgc.org; Instagram, @unitedwaygc; and Twitter, @unitedwaygc.