What We Do

United Way of Central Ohio’s Community Impact Fund supports a network of more than 80 local nonprofit partners that provide opportunities in these four critical areas:

Basic Needs Ensuring people in crisis get food, shelter and assistance.

did you know?

1 in 3 central Ohioans lacks the income to meet basic needs without assistance.

2,000 young adults in central Ohio are homeless.

partners

  • Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio
  • American Red Cross of Greater Columbus
  • Catholic Social Services
  • Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio
  • CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Clintonville-Beechwold CRC
  • Columbus Urban League
  • Community Development for All People
  • Community Kitchen
  • Community Shelter Board
  • Equitas
  • Furniture Bank of Central Ohio
  • Gladden Community House
  • HandsOn Central Ohio
  • Homeport
  • Huckleberry House, Inc.
  • Legal Aid Society of Columbus
  • LifeCare Alliance
  • Local Matters
  • Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio
  • Mental Health America of Franklin Ohio
  • Mid-Ohio Foodbank
  • NNEMAP
  • OhioHealth I AM
  • OSU Moms2B
  • The Salvation Army
  • Serving Our Neighbors Ministries
  • Stable Families
  • Star House
  • YMCA of Central Ohio
  • YWCA Columbus

Lamar: Beating the Odds to Come Full Circle.

The bone-cold night that Lamar crawled into an unlocked church van to sleep was the same night he knew he had to ask for help. At age 22, his days were spent trying to find food and shelter, and he had little time or energy for anything else. Then he found the 24/7 drop-in center for homeless youth funded by United Way, where he could eat, shower and rest, get connected to resources, and receive support and encouragement.

Five years after the program changed his life, Lamar is back at the drop-in center changing the lives of homeless youth in the community as an outreach specialist. His true passion in life, he says, is to help others find theirs.

achieving
results:

Good jobs Teaching people the skills they need to get and keep a job.

did you know?

Full-time employment significantly reduces the likelihood that someone lives in poverty. Only 2.2% of people who work full time for the entire year have incomes below the poverty threshold in Franklin County.

From 2009 to 2015, the number of temporary jobs in Franklin County grew by 49%, nearly five times the rate of overall job growth.

partners

  • Alvis
  • Center for Employment Opportunities
  • Columbus Chamber of Commerce
  • Columbus Speech & Hearing Center
  • Columbus Works
  • Community Development for all People
  • Community Properties Impact Corporation
  • DOMA International
  • E3 – Educate, Empower, Elevate
  • Economic and Community Development Institute
  • EmpowerBus
  • Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services
  • Faith Mission
  • Godman Guild Association
  • Goodwill Columbus
  • Homeport
  • Homes on the Hill Community Development Corporation
  • i.c.stars
  • Jewish Family Services
  • Per Scholas
  • The Salvation Army
  • Tax Time of Central Ohio
  • Westerville Area Resource Ministry

Heath: Moving Forward Toward Financial Stability

Heath had a great paying job he loved doing closed captioning for hearing impaired students at a local university. When the recession hit, he lost his job and spiraled into a depression. He had little choice but to take several low-wage jobs that eventually crippled his self-esteem even further.

After discovering a free workforce development program funded in part by United Way, Heath found the support he needed to get back on track. His career counselor helped him focus and polish his resume, practice his interview skills and encouraged him to apply for jobs even when Heath was ready to give up. Today, he has another closed captioning job he loves, has regained his confidence and is financially stable.

achieving
results:

Strong neighborhoods Engaging residents, businesses and government in revitalization efforts.

did you know?

There is a 20-year difference in life expectancy between certain Columbus ZIP codes. Opportunities are enhanced or limited by where you live, depending on:

  • Neighborhood safety
  • Quality of schools
  • Availability of services
  • Proximity to jobs

Columbus is the 2nd most economically-segregated city in nation.

partners

  • Center for Employment Opportunities
  • Community Development for All People
  • Community Development Collaborative of Greater Columbus
  • Community Mediation Services
  • Goodwill Columbus
  • Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio
  • Hamilton STEM Academy – CCS
  • Legal Aid Society of Columbus
  • Mid-Ohio Foodbank
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Neighborhood Partnership Center
  • Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT)
  • Reeb Avenue Center Collaboration
  • St. Stephen's Community House
  • Stable Families
  • Neighborhood Partnership Center
  • United Way of Central Ohio Neighborhood Leadership Academy – Central, Linden, South Side and Near East

DeLena: Connecting the Community

Born and raised in Linden, DeLena has fond memories of growing up surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Neighbors knew you and looked after you, she recalls, and everybody knew everybody. Everything she needed was right there in her community.

Today, she says, there are many great organizations offering services, but too many people don’t know about them. Through her roles as chair of the South Linden Area Commission and program manager of the new Linden Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA), DeLena is focused on engaging and connecting residents in her beloved community. She knows the challenges and problems in Linden can be solved, but only if and when organizations, community leaders and residents work together to solve them.

DeLena is an NLA graduate herself, applying her skills to connect the disconnected in Linden. United Way has helped her go from being a student then a mom in Linden to being a leader in Linden. But she’s not content with just honing and using her own leadership skills to build a brighter future for Linden, she’s also looking for and training tomorrow’s leaders. Her goal is to reach and involve children and youth early, and to transfer what she has learned about leadership to them.

achieving
results:

Student success Helping children succeed from cradle to career.

did you know?

The poverty rate and the unemployment rate for people who do not have a High School diploma is twice as high as for people who have graduated.

72% of disadvantaged preschoolers in Franklin County struggle to meet the skills needed for kindergarten.

partners

  • Action for Children
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus
  • Central Community House
  • Childhood League Center
  • City Year
  • Columbus Early Learning Centers
  • Columbus Speech & Hearing Center
  • Columbus Urban League
  • Communities in Schools of Central Ohio
  • Community Development for All People
  • Communities Properties Impact Corporation
  • Directions for Youth & Families
  • Dominican Sisters of Peace
  • Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services
  • Gladden Community House
  • Godman Guild Association
  • Groundwork Ohio
  • Junior Achievement of Central Ohio
  • Kaleidoscope Youth Center
  • South Side Learning & Development Center
  • St. Stephen’s Community House
  • St. Vincent Family Center
  • Stable Families
  • The Center for Healthy Families
  • The Salvation Army
  • YMCA of Central Ohio
  • YWCA Columbus

Allyson: Building a Solid Foundation for Avett’s Future

When Allyson’s son Avett was born, there were several things she was not prepared for: a broken leg, surgery, a diagnosis of Down syndrome and the high cost of child care. Thanks to family support, Allie got through those first months. And thanks to her discovery of an affordable high-quality early learning program funded by United Way, she can confidently focus on Avett’s future.

“We live paycheck to paycheck. We have medical bills from my broken leg and Avett, and a lot of debt from being off work so long. What if we didn’t have Columbus Early Learning Center? I really, really don’t know,“ says Allyson.

achieving
results:

Why We Fight Poverty

The ZIP code you are born in or live in shouldn’t determine your destiny. But opportunities and access to resources vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Knowing how residents are doing in meeting basic needs, achieving student success and finding good jobs helps United Way craft the most effective solutions to our community’s biggest challenges.

How is your neighborhood doing? EXPLORE OUR MAP TO FIND OUT.

  • Shadena’s Story

    Shadena always loved school and loved to learn. She dreamed of obtaining her college degree, but found it impossible to balance everything when she became a single mother. She withdrew from college, with the hope that she could return someday. Today, at age 39, Shadena is a full-time student at Ohio Dominican University and has…

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  • Donna’s Story

    Donna faced enormous challenges when she decided to raise her deceased sister’s children in addition to her own. A single mom who had just launched her own catering business, she had unlimited determination and love but limited resources. “I know what it’s like to feel rejected. I know what it’s like to not have what…

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  • Braylon’s Story

    Jim and Molly have opened their hearts and home to numerous children. Four of their six kids have joined the family through adoption, including Braylon. At 16 months old, Braylon didn’t make eye contact, pull up, crawl or speak. Jim and Molly knew he was not where he should be developmentally so they set out to…

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  • Alphonso’s Story

    Alphonso couldn’t imagine a future beyond the drugs and violence he saw in his neighborhood. He was angry with everyone and everything, and was regularly suspended from school. At one point, Penny, Alphonso’s mom, almost gave up on him. “I always told him, ‘if you don’t get it together, you’re going to be in jail or…

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  • April’s Story

    April is a survivor who has battled and overcome poverty, addiction and human trafficking.  “I was trafficked on the west side of Columbus for many years.” April said. “I was in and out of jail. I came from poverty. I just had this poverty mindset that kept me stuck. I didn’t strive for more.” The…

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  • Emi and Tia: The Power of Art and Friendship

    When Emi and Tia are together, an extraordinary amount of energy and joy fill the room, whether they are dancing, drawing or just hanging out. They like being together, and it shows. The teens clearly recognize and appreciate one another’s strengths, and they’re quick to point those strengths out to anyone who is listening. Tia,…

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  • Allie: Caring for Avett

    When Allie’s son Avett was born, there were several things she was not 100% prepared for: a broken leg, surgery, a diagnosis of Down syndrome and the high cost of childcare. The young family got through those first months by deciding to just “roll with it,” she explains with a calm smile directed at Avett,…

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  • Joseline and Zoraida: Matched for Success

    For as long as 18-year-old Joseline can remember, she wanted to go to college. At times, though, she didn’t feel like all her studying and hard work would be enough to get her there. Her Big Sister Zoraida, on the other hand, had no doubt Joseline would overcome any barriers she encountered, and succeed in…

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News

  • The Power of Giving to Fuel Early Childhood Education

    Knowledge is power. But not every family has the resources to give their kids a strong start in education. United Way of Central Ohio helps improve access to high-quality early childhood education — one of the critical cornerstones of successful communities. And this year, you can help power education by joining us for Giving Tuesday….

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  • Helping Our Community’s Children Succeed

    United Way of Central Ohio is focused on fighting poverty by investing in the most effective partners that get results. In the critical area of Student Success, we’re investing in more than 38 local programs that provide opportunities to our at-risk kids and youth, from cradle to career. These programs have been highly successful in…

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  • ABC6 Stories Highlight Work of United Way and Partners

    Thank you to ABC6 and Maria Durant for featuring four stories throughout October showing United Way of Central Ohio’s work in our community. Sponsored by our partner Fifth Third, the segments were wonderful examples of how our more than 80 nonprofit partners are creating opportunities for people to succeed every day. To watch any of the four ABC6 segments,…

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