United Way of Greater Cincinnati

United Way of Greater Cincinnati

The United Way of Greater Cincinnati, the Strive Partnership and other funders, will address the needs of low-income children and youth from “cradle to career” in the Greater Cincinnati-area though investments in early education, mentoring and literacy programs, college access, career pathways and other innovations.

Grantee Information
Federal Awards: 
$2 million over two years (2010-2011) $1 million in 2012
Focus Area: 
Economic Opportunity
Geographic Focus: 
Cincinnati, OH; Covington and Newport, KY
Collaborating Partners: 
Strive Partnership; INNOVATIONS; Institute for Nonprofit Capacity
Collaborating Funders: 
Greater Cincinnati Foundation; Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. / U.S. Bank Foundation; P&G Fund; KnowledgeWorks Foundation

The United Way of Greater Cincinnati, in collaboration with the Strive Partnership, supports a strong community-rooted effort dedicated to addressing the needs of low-income families in the urban core of Cincinnati and northern Kentucky (Covington and Newport) from “cradle to career.” The SIF grant builds on years of collaborative work to identify what children and youth in the area need to succeed, measure progress through an annual report card, elevate nonprofit performance through the use of new management tools, and replicate tested programs. Its priority strategies include early childhood education and home visitation, mentoring, service learning, arts education, dropout recovery, children's health, college access, and career pathways.

Track Record before Social Innovation Fund Grant:

  • The United Way of Greater Cincinnati and Strive Partnership, working with other community stakeholders, developed several documents to guide community investments:
    • The Cradle to Career Roadmap, a document that identifies what children and youth in the area need to succeed; the document has focused nonprofit work and philanthropic investments around a common set of activities; and
    • The Striving Together Report Card, an annual report card that documents education and youth development data for the Greater Cincinnati area, providing a snapshot of the challenges facing low-income communities and tracking progress toward identified outcomes.
  • Replication of effective programs by the United Way and partners, including, Books in Action, which improves pre-literacy skills through a focus on books with social and emotional development content, and Health Career Pathways, a workforce initiative that engages employers, educators and others to provide training and support to unemployed or underemployed individuals.


  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Strive Partnership have provided training and technical assistance – both programmed and one-on-one – to sub-grantees to build their organizational capacity to support scaling impact;
  • Moved forward in establishing a funder’s collaborative to attract match funding and encourage community funders to participate in the SIF at both intermediary and sub-grantee levels; and
  • Seen success in the SIF’s goal of encouraging cross-sector collaboration as their sub-grantees have toured each other’s facilities and begun discussing how to share best practices, collaborate in data collection, and overlap program services.

Nonprofits Receiving Social Innovation Fund Awards from The United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Cincinnati Arts and Technology CenterEaster Seals Work Resource Center
Cincinnati Museum CenterEvery Child Succeeds
Cincinnati Public Schools Early Childhood EducationThe Children's Home of Cincinnati
Covington Independent Public SchoolsUniversity of Cincinnati

Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center
Cincinnati, Ohio
Annual Award Amount: $150,000

The organization is a replication of Bill Strickland's successful Manchester Bidwell Corporation. It will build upon this model by implementing career cluster focus for a segment of their students who are not college-bound. Approximately, 30 students in Year 1 will participate in services that prepare them for entry-level employment at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The project connects CATC's successful high school completion services with the community's career pathways focus. Evaluation will focus on measuring the effectiveness of sustaining employment with the youth served versus those who enter employment without similar training. The evaluation should contribute knowledge to similar high school-based programs looking to provide career training.

Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati, Ohio
Annual Award Amount: $110,000

The ECSITE program focuses on building skills of Head Start teachers to effectively teach science and inquiry activities in their classrooms. The science activities integrate with classroom curriculum to help build not only inquiry skills but vocabulary and communication skills in three and four-year-olds. The Cincinnati Museum Center will expand the program from Northern Kentucky Head Start to Hamilton County Head Start and expects to serve a total of 91 teachers and approximately 1,000 students. The project has moderate evidence that the program increases teachers' skills and will look to establish moderate evidence of impact on preparing children for kindergarten entry. The project has the potential to inform the field on the importance of science and STEM curriculum in preschool while also informing effective practices in delivering that curriculum.

Cincinnati Public Schools Early Childhood Education
Cincinnati, Ohio
Annual Award Amount: $180,000

The organization will expand its existing preschool program to 80- 100 additional students and expand its Books in Action and Summer Bridge programs to another 45 students within the city of Cincinnati. Each program has shown to deliver higher than typical results in helping students be prepared for kindergarten as assessed by Ohio's Kindergarten Readiness Assessment - Literature. While serving additional children through the program, Cincinnati Public Schools will also provide training and professional development to staff at community child care centers to replicate the effective Books in Action and Summer Bridge programs.

Covington Independent Public Schools
Covington, Kentucky
Annual Award Amount: $220,000

The Covington Independent Public Schools will transform its Holmes High School campus to an early college high school with each of its 900+ students receiving 15 hours of college credit upon graduation. The school will build into curriculum career clusters (starting in the health care field) to engage students in technical skills. Covington Independent will partner with Gateway Technical and Community College to provide dual enrollment classes and certify teachers to deliver community college course.

Easter Seals Work Resource Center
Cincinnati, Ohio
Annual Award Amount: $240,000

Easter Seals Work Resource Center will replicate its successful transitional deconstruction employment program to its packing social enterprise. The replication will train individuals to work in the packing enterprise while also receiving employment skills training and working towards MSSC certification. The project will directly tie into the communities career pathways model for the advanced manufacturing sector. The program expects to serve 22 individuals a year, helping to place and retain them in entry level positions within an industry with a clearly defined career track. The project will help inform the field on how organizations with social enterprise can better connect those transitional work opportunities with employer-focused training and hiring initiatives.

Every Child Succeeds
Cincinnati, Ohio
Annual Award Amount: $100,000

Every Child Succeeds provides high quality home visitation services to first time mothers. Every Child Succeeds is a collaboration of 15 service providers. The Social Innovation Fund will help expand the Transition Program, which helps families leaving the program transition their children into high-quality child care programs. The program will further evaluate the service to determine how the developmental gains experienced by children in the program translate to kindergarten readiness and how transition plays an important role in maintaining those gains. Every Child Succeeds is a national model program in home visitation services and has potential to inform the field on the importance of transition services.

The Children's Home of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio
Annual Award Amount: $325,000

The Consortium for Resilient Young Children focuses on the social and emotional development of preschool children. The Consortium combines assessment, professional development for preschool teachers, clinical services and parent engagement to address these needs. The program is a collaboration of eight key partners including child care providers, Head Start providers, mental health providers and the child care resource and referral agency. The program will expand services in Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky and replicate the program in Newport, Kentucky. The program intends to expand services to an additional 610 children, ultimately serving 1,460 annually. The program has already received national recognition as a best practice. The proposed evaluation will strengthen evidence of effectiveness and provide information on best practices to address early childhood development and mental health issues.

University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio
Annual Award Amount: $275,000

Two programs will be expanded through the Social Innovation Fund: the Gen-1 House and HEMI. The Gen-1 house is a unique residential-based program that provides support service to first-generation college students. HEMI works with youth aging out of the foster-care system to identify their college goals and help them transition to the University. Each program has the potential to inform the field on best practices in working with the vulnerable college populations.

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