The Impact Institute

A think thank with an action plan

The Impact Institute looks deep below the surface at the root causes of poverty that are holding back our community. Led by Distinguished Chair Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, the Institute has made significant progress in the fight against poverty through essential community collaborations across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Dr. Delos “Toby” Cosgrove

Distinguished Chair of the Impact institute

Setting Our Sights on Bold Goals

The new Impact Institute brings together thought leaders from across academia, public and private sectors, and health and human services to build strategies to solve the underlying causes of poverty.

Within the Impact Institute are several Solution Centers, each charged with identifying and critically assessing new approaches through multiple lenses.

The Equity Leadership Council is a joint effort between United Way and the United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland that provides one such lens. With a mission to address race, equity, diversity and inclusion issues, the Equity Leadership Council shares a deep and clear understanding of how systemic racism contributes to generational poverty. That knowledge is used to build upon the initiatives we are taking within each Solution Center.

Through collaboration with a wide range of experts, The Impact Institute and its Solution Centers are creating long-lasting solutions that challenge the status quo to improve the lives of future generations of Greater Clevelanders.

Solutions Centers within the Impact Institute

A safe home is a fundamental necessity for every family – but, for so many, it is not a possibility.

Right to Counsel

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 24 evictions happened every day in Cleveland alone. Evictions trigger costly and traumatic instability for families and lead to homelessness, job loss and decreased academic performance and school attendance.

United Way of Greater Cleveland is proud to co-lead the Right to Counsel program with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and other community partners who are at the forefront of a national movement to provide a right to counsel to tenants with children who are facing eviction.

Goal: Balance the resource scales for low-income renters in Cleveland to avoid displacement and stabilize families and their housing.

Right to Counsel Program Details

Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition

In Cleveland, children are four times more likely to have lead poisoning than the national average. Though the issue of lead poisoning has afflicted our city for decades, it was the Lead Safe Home Summit, led by the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, an organization comprised of over 300 members representing more than 100 cross-sector organizations, including United Way, and the City of Cleveland that solidified an action plan.

Shortly after the Summit, Cleveland City Council passed key legislation as a first step toward creating a lead-safe Cleveland.

Goal: Significantly reduce childhood lead exposure.

The Lead-Safe Cleveland legislation and Right to Counsel are examples of how cross-sector efforts strengthen our collective goal to create a better future – one issue as a time.

Community Collaborators Include:

  • Cleveland City Council
  • Enterprise
  • Environmental Health Watch
  • The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
  • Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation
  • United Way of Greater Cleveland

Family members don’t succeed or struggle in isolation – take, for example, a mother without the job training necessary to secure a living wage who is holding down three part-time jobs. Her children grow up without the opportunities they deserve, like high-quality, early learning education and are often pulled into the same cycle of poverty.

Scholar House

Through Scholar House, a low-income single parent enrolled in college or a professional training program will receive affordable housing at a facility known as Scholar House. While living at Scholar House, their child is enrolled in onsite high-quality childcare, making the impact of this program multi-generational.

Goal: Break the cycle of poverty by supporting single parents in attaining post-secondary education to achieve employment

Community collaborators partnering to develop the Scholar House model include:

  • CHN Housing Partners
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Association
  • Cleveland State University
  • Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • United Way of Greater Cleveland

Health goes beyond medical care alone – it’s a cumulative measure of many factors, including socioeconomic status, social support network and employment. Improving these factors can alter the course of a person’s health and ultimately their quality of life.

Accountable Health Communities

Through the Accountable Health Community Project, a pilot model supported by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, our 2-1-1 Navigators are stationed at local hospitals and have connected over 55,000 patients with screening and/or navigation for health-related social needs since November 2018.

Goal: Improve coordination between clinical care and community services in the current health care delivery system

Our healthcare partners with the Accountable Health Community Project include:

  • Cleveland Clinic
  • MetroHealth
  • St. Vincent Charity Medical Center