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

  • 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**

learn more

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

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  • Joseline and Zoraida: Matched for Success

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  • DeLena: Connecting a Community

    More than 20 Linden agency leaders dropped everything in the middle of a work day and enthusiastically responded to DeLena Scales’ request to join her for a quick group photo during our interview. That tells you a lot about DeLena, a passionate leader in the community, who others trust and look to for guidance. “I’m…

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  • Rachael: Changing Her Trajectory

    After moving back to Ohio from Louisiana, Rachael was struggling to find a job that would pay her bills. After finishing a contract job running a summer youth employment program, she watched her small savings account dwindle. She knew her struggle would become insurmountable if she didn’t find help soon. “I had a couple of…

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  • Heath: Grateful for a Life Support

    Heath had a great paying job he loved and took pride in, providing closed captioning for hearing impaired students at a local university. When the recession hit, though, 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. “All…

    Read More Watch Video
  • James: Finding a Pathway to Work

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  • Lamar: Helping Teens Beat the Odds

    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, he had recently discovered a passion for politics, but he had also become homeless. His days were spent trying to find food and shelter, and he had…

    Read More Watch Video
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News

  • Meet Katy Burrier, our new Senior Vice President of Resource Development

    We have great news to share!  Katy Burrier will be joining the United Way team as Senior Vice President of Resource Development. Katy is currently Director of Advertising at Columbus Business First. She is an experienced leader who has achieved excellent results over the course of her 20-year career.  Katy is well known in our…

    Read More
  • 2017 Results Report

    At United Way, success is measured in the number of lives changed. That’s why we’re laser focused on supporting a network of 84 local partners that are most effective at fighting poverty and getting results. And we want to make sure YOU see those results. See for yourself what your gift, no matter the size,…

    Read More
  • $262,244 Raised to Knock Out Poverty!

    Just like the real deal, our Knock Out Poverty bracket challenge came right down to the wire. A last second 3-pointer tossed to the skies brought one nonprofit from behind to win BIG BUCKS. That heart-stopping throw came from a donor who made an $8,000 gift at the buzzer to Columbus Early Learning Centers (CELC),…

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