Why We Fight Poverty

  • 206,427

    Number of individuals in Franklin
    County living in poverty*

  • 69,647

    Number of children in Franklin
    County living in poverty*

  • $ 5,088

    The monthly income it takes for a
    family of 4 to make ends meet**

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* U.S. Census, American Community Survey 2014 1-year estimates
** The University of Washington, Self-Sufficiency Standard 2015

How We Fight Poverty

  • 1

    We research

    We deeply understand community conditions in Central Ohio and pinpoint the most effective approaches to reduce poverty.

  • 2

    We created a new approach

    We created a new pathway system which ensures families receive services, gaps in services are filled, and positive outcomes are achieved.

  • 3

    We mobilize

    By convening and catalyzing people and systems, we help change community conditions and improve the chances that families will succeed.

  • 4

    We don’t stop there

    We also prioritize neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, serving as a catalyst and organizer for revitalization efforts.

our impact

  • We Fight for Jaylin on the North Side

    When Jaylin and his younger brothers arrived to live with their grandmother, she wasn’t quite sure what to do. “I had girls. I don’t know about guy stuff.” Fortunately, each boy found a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Fifteen-year-old Jaylin has really connected with his Big Brother, Matt. “Having a mentor has changed my…

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  • Destiny

    Destiny’s face lights up when her children run in the room. Like any mother, their happiness is everything to her. But happiness was hard to come by after mold forced her family to move out of their home and close their childcare business. She and her husband, Greg, both college graduates, were suddenly in a…

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  • We Fight for Alexis on the South Side

    Behind 17-year-old Alexis’ shy smile is a poised confidence many teens don’t possess. One of the first to join the South Side Boys & Girls Club, Alexis plays on the volleyball team, is a junior staff member and participates in the Club’s leadership program. She’s a role model who has testified at the Statehouse regarding…

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  • We Fight for Roy in Linden

    Roy grew up poor and couldn’t afford to attend college. For years, he worked low-wage sales jobs, barely making ends meet. Determined to follow his passion for computers, he quit one job but then was laid off a month later from his sales job in the tech industry. At his very lowest point, Roy discovered…

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  • We Fight for Kaylah and Dominick

    North Columbus

    Kaylah’s life has been filled with barriers. She remembers eviction notices and her mother missing meals so she could eat. When Kaylah became pregnant during senior year of high school, she fought through morning sickness and turmoil at home that led to living in her car for several days.

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  • Ken Williams and Allen Carrel

    Hand Raisers and Game Changers on the South Side

    When Ken and Allen moved into and founded the Ganthers Place neighborhood in 2003, the 30-block area was awash in crime, litter, rats, dilapidated housing and overgrown lots.

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How You Can Help

We all have the potential to make central Ohio a better place. If you’re ready to Make Your Moment in our community, we can help you get started. Take the quick five-question quiz, give a gift to reduce poverty or find a volunteer opportunity near you. Whatever you decide, every moment counts.

  • Find out what kind
    of moment maker
    you are
  • Donate
  • Volunteer


  • Heartland Bank: Workplace Campaign Surpasses Expectations

    United Way couldn’t do the hard work of fighting poverty in central Ohio without the incredible energy and support our corporate partners put into their workplace campaigns. These 400+ partners inspire and amaze us with their dedication to improving the community all year round. Even so, Heartland Bank managed to turn more than a few…

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  • Join the Near East Side Neighborhood Leadership Academy

    The Near East Side Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA) is an expansion of the greater Columbus Neighborhood Leadership Academy launched by United Way of Central Ohio in 2012. With an emphasis on Columbus’ Near East Side, this unique leadership program is designed to equip residents with the relationships, knowledge, skills and tools to help this vibrant…

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  • And the winner is…

    Mark Levy never answers his phone while he’s driving. Well, except for that one time when he found out he won United Way’s Drive United raffle. Mark, from Worthington, has been a dedicated United Way donor since 2009. In 2017, however, he didn’t make his usual payroll deduction gift when it became clear his retirement…

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