Collective Impact & Collaborations

United Way has evolved from its roots as a fundraising organization to a critical community impact organization.

We mobilize local partners – including businesses, community leaders, public officials and community residents – to expand opportunities for people to succeed. As resources become increasingly scarce and needs become greater, we are working to propel our community forward through powerful collective effort. 

Collective Impact

United Way is a leader in the Collective Impact approach in Summit County. Solving complex community issues requires that many partners work together in a purposeful and systematic way. Collective Impact promises broader community involvement and more powerful results.



These collaborative initiatives are accelerating United Way’s efforts to create results in Education, Income, and Health.


Summit County First Things First

A comprehensive “system plan” for early childhood development to address the areas of early childcare and education, health, behavioral health, family support, maternal depression, special needs and early intervention. The plan strives to address systems gaps and identify improvements needed to ensure the greatest opportunity for children. The plan also seeks to broaden existing efforts by expanding scope or extending their focus. 

Find out more about First Things First >

This City Reads!

An alliance of more than 90 organizations to champion and leverage the power of reading to promote the future success of families, individuals, and businesses in Summit County. This City Reads! sponsors the Annual Day of Reading and the Family Reading Festival in February of each year. 

Find out more about This City Reads! >

Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake

To bring comprehensive learning opportunities and increased self-sufficiency to one of Akron’s most economically challenged neighborhoods. The focus of the center’s work is adult education, job readiness and early childhood learning and development. The long term goal is to increase economic opportunities for all residents. 

Find out more about the Reach Opportunity Center >


Income, Education & Workforce Development

To provide employers with a competitive and productive workforce. The committee works to improve the work readiness of the current and future workforce of Summit County. It also works to increase employers’ understanding of recruitment and retention initiatives of mutual benefit to employers and their employees. 

Find out more about Income, Education and Workforce Development >

Summit County Continuum of Care

To provide or fund emergency, transitional, permanent, and supportive housing programs. The goal is to identify and fill gaps in the sheltering system, to prevent duplication of services and to accumulate data required to access HUD and other sources of funding. 

Find out more about Summit County Continuum of Care >

Local Housing and Services Cooperative

To address regionally needs that allow senior citizens to stay in their homes (“age in place”). The cooperative also promotes the independent living and integration of individuals with disabilities with a focus on housing, transportation and home modification/assistive devices. 

Find out more about Local Housing and Services Cooperative >


Minority Health Roundtable

To improve the health of minority populations in Summit County through collaboration, advocacy, community awareness and education. More than 40 organizations participate and range from the three area hospitals to grassroots and faith-based agencies.

Find out more about the Minority Health Roundtable >

Prism Health, LLC

A formal collaboration of three leading healthcare providers in Summit County: Community Health Center, Community Support Services, and Portage Path Behavioral Health. The Prism collaboration has captured significant cost savings through increased purchasing power and shared resources including consultation services. It has also opened a 24/7 Call Center and individuals seeking information or help for mental health and substance abuse concerns. 

Find out more about Prisim Health >

Northeast Ohio Regional Indicators and Objectives

To improve quality of life for Northeast Ohio communities across 16 counties as indicated by positive movements in specific measures of health, social, and 
economic conditions. Twenty measurable indicators have been identified. 

Find out more about Northeast Ohio Regional Indicators and Objectives >

Summit County Dental Task Force

To assure all people in Summit County have access to dental care. Oral health care remains the most important unmet health need for children and low-income adults in the county. The collaboration includes private dentists, the three hospitals, the dental clinics at Akron Community Health District and Akron Community Health Resources, several universities and United Way of Summit County. 

Safe Kids Summit County

To advance the health and safety of youth. Safe Kids promotes and implements strategies to prevent childhood injuries. This is accomplished through community awareness, education and public policy changes. The collaborative also develops and evaluates community projects designed to prevent unintentional injuries and serves as a countywide information resource center on childhood injury prevention programs. The collaborative also provide low cost safety equipment (bike helmets, car seats, life jackets, etc.). 

Find out more about Safe Kids Summit County >

Domestic Violence Coalition

To act as a catalyst to protect, support and treat victims, to restrain and treat perpetrators and to implement effective educational and prevention programs to reduce domestic violence in our community. Participating organizations include the Battered Women’s Shelter, Rape Crisis Center, Victims Assistance Program, Summa’s DOVE, OpenM, NAMI, the prosecutor’s office, domestic court, judges and the Akron Police.

Multiple Priorities

Summit 2020

Initiated as Summit 2010 by the Office of the County Executive of Summit County to strengthen collaboration between the major public systems and the effectiveness of services they finance or deliver. The plan called for 10 major goals with 25 measureable indicators. Summit 2020 has refined the effort into five broad initiatives: early childhood, supporting older adults, economic stability & prosperity, health & health disparities and government efficiency & effectiveness. 

Find out more about Summit 2020 >

Neighborhood Leadership Institute of Summit County

To train residents in Summit County’s diverse communities to improve quality of life through grassroots collective engagement, advocacy and action. Classes cover a variety of topics ranging from criminal justice to communication and engagement. Institute participants learn a wide variety of skills including how to serve as an advocate for their families and communities, find and utilize resources and work with government agencies and social service providers. Participants also gain insight into community development, coalition building and how to assess their neighborhood and their own potential as leaders. (Link to content under Income)

Find out more about Neighborhood Leadership Institute of Summit County >

Families & Children First Council

To improve access to and delivery of education, health, and social services for children and families in Summit County. The council’s emphasis is on the safety of children, prevention and early intervention and integration of these services so that families have the understanding and knowledge needed to access help. 

Find out more about Families & Children First Council >

Summit County Fatherhood Initiative

To improve the wellbeing of families by increasing the number of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers. The initiative offers assistance in fathers gaining access to their children, child support and custody legal issues and placing fathers in sustaining jobs. Training and placement of participants in jobs has been a very successful program and also intersects with work done for ex-offenders reentering the community. 

Find out more about Summit County Fatherhood Initiative >

Youth Emancipation Task Force & Summit Permanency Collaborative

To reduce the number of special needs children that have aged-out of the foster system in permanent custody of Summit County Children Services. “Special needs” includes any child over 12 and sibling groups who are difficult to place. The goal is to find permanent families for children currently in custody. More importantly, the goal is to change the process to vastly reduce the number of children who enter foster care.

Find out more about Youth Emancipation Task Force & Summit Permancy Collaborative >

Summit Food Policy Coalition

To improve healthy food access for all Summit County residents and spur economic opportunities for existing and beginning farmers in the Akron foodshed. Focus areas include policy, advocacy for healthy food access, entrepreneurial and market development and education. 

Find out more about Summit Food Policy Coalition >

Resources to Promote and Support Collaboration