Become An Advocate
for our community
Advancing public policy is crucial for our success as a community
Our work doesn’t stop at understanding our community’s needs and connecting individuals and families with the direct services they need to achieve long lasting success. United Way of Summit & Medina advocates at the local, state and national level for policies that advance our Bold Goals for 2028, including the basic needs of our community. Our longstanding community connections and firsthand experience help guide policy makers as they tackle the problems that face Summit & Medina counties.
Public Policy Engagement
Engaging in public policy is a powerful way to support the mission of United Way of Summit & Medina and address the effects of poverty and inequity throughout our communities. Advocacy is core to our mission and goes beyond volunteering and donations to sustain long-term change. Public policy and advocacy are essential to drive our impact in the community and a critical part of our transformation.
We engage in public policy and advocacy because we recognize that our experience, knowledge, partnerships and influence can help inform policymakers’ decisions regarding the policies that impact our community. We provide a unique, nonpartisan platform where our engagement with policymakers can make a meaningful difference.
We Achieve Results By:
• Partnering with local, state and federal government to address community needs in Summit and Medina counties.
• Educating and mobilizing people in our community to help advocate on behalf of those in need.
• Engaging community partners in policy and funding opportunities.
United Way of Summit & Medina’s
2023 Policy Priorities
Support policies that holistically support families to become and remain healthy.
a. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
• Advocate for the continued access to SNAP benefits for families in Summit and Medina counties.
• Educate legislators about the importance of these benefits to individuals and families in our communities.
• Advocate against any policy changes that restrict access to essential benefits such as food, housing and health care.
b. Medicaid and Access to Health Care
• Advocate for access to quality health care and resources to address social determinants of health.
• Continue to raise awareness of community members who experience disparities in care, treatment and access to quality care.
c. Infant Vitality
• Advocate for policies that address the stark disparities between the White and Black infant mortality rates in Ohio and Summit County, as well as advocate for programing that improves maternal vitality.
d. Mental Health
• Support mental health initiatives that provide access to preventative care and implement a structure to support the growing need of mental health services in our communities, especially among our youth.
• Support “Reduce the Stigma” initiatives and long-term supports for mental health issues, especially in minority communities, diversify industry professionals and improve access to quality care.
Support policies that empower individuals and families to become financially secure and self-sustaining.
a. Financial Empowerment
• Educate legislators on the work of our Financial Empowerment Center and its impact on individuals and the community.
• Advocate for additional funding to support community programs focused on financial empowerment and assisting individuals with banking services, budgeting and eliminating debt.
• Advocate at the federal level for continuous support of VITA at $30 million in the final FY24 budget and for a refundable state EITC and extended CTC.
b. Benefits Cliff
• Advocate for policies that ensure working families do not lose essential public supports faster than they can earn income to replace them
• Support policies and legislation that removes disincentives to wage progression and gainful employment, implements transitional periods off of benefits.
• Support a refundable state EITC and/or increases the eligibility thresholds for childcare subsidies.
Community Focus and Services
Support policies that assist struggling individuals in the community access needed resources, improve their circumstances and achieve self-sufficiency.
• Support request for state funding to leverage the 211- resource database and promote its positive impact on addressing social determinants of health.
• Educate legislators on the key role the 211-resource network plays in stabilizing individuals by addressing social determinants of health, quickly linking individuals with needed resources such as food and housing, and directing individuals to mental and behavioral health services.
b. Housing Services
• Advocate for local expansion of eviction mediation programs which allow landlords and tenants to minimize the adverse effects of evictions.
• Advocate for policies that promote development of safe and affordable rental units for low to moderate income households in Summit and Medina counties.
Supporting Children and Ohio’s Future through Quality Learning
Support policies that promote early learning initiatives designed to give our children the best opportunity to learn and succeed.
a. Quality Early Learning
• Advocate for strengthening our childcare system through continued investment to ensure families, regardless of socioeconomic status, have access to high-quality, affordable childcare and preschool.
• Support policy, funding and other efforts to expand equitable access to quality early childhood learning programs.
• Continue to advocate and support Step Up to Quality, Ohio’s early learning quality rating system, to ensure when kids are not with family, they are in supportive, nurturing and safe environments.
b. Wrap-Around Services
• Advocate for continued funding of wrap-around services for school-aged children and their families and the need for equitable access to these resources.
• Educate legislators on the increasing need of wrap-around services and the positive impact wrap-around services has on educational achievement.
• Support policies and funding to expand after-school high-quality tutoring and programming to address reading loss and improve education inequities.
Be an Advocate For Change
Make Your Voice Heard
There are many ways to be an advocate and to educate yourself, members of the community and local, state and federal legislators. Two simple ways to become involved are ensuring you’re registered to vote and knowing who your elected officials are. Make your voice heard!
Have questions, or are you looking for more ways to advocate for your community? Email us to start the conversation.
Register to Vote
Find Your Elected Official
“The judgment free zone made me feel comfortable and confident. We were able to buy a home, save money, and break down debt.”
In our community. With our community. For our community.
Invest where it matters
Your donation directly benefits the people of Summit and Medina counties.