Give Where You Live

United We Fight, United We Win

United Way of Portage County funds numerous health and human service programs in our community through our partnership with multiple  agencies. Program review and grant making is governed by a volunteer review team and approved by the United Way Board of Directors.  United Way values accountability, transparency and openness throughout all stages of the decision making process.


Community Impact Grant Recipients

Youth Education

Big Brothers & Big Sisters Portage County - One-to-One Mentoring
Big Brothers & Sisters of Portage County provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.  Children and teens who have the influence of a caring adult are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and to focus on academics. Today's youth face a variety of challenges, and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate these challenges and reach their potential.

Inspiring Portage County - Junior Achievement
The mission of Junior Achievement (JA) is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. JA’s K-12 suite of programs, centered on the pillars of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness, is designed to teach students how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Through our collaborative partnerships with educators, volunteers, and members of the corporate and philanthropic community, JA continues to leverage its organizational infrastructure to connect students to meaningful, life-changing learning opportunities that will prepare them to be competitive in today’s global marketplace.

King Kennedy Community Center Youth Program - Family & Community Services
The King Kennedy Community Center has a vibrant history of dream making and changing the lives of the youth of McElrath Park and Portage County. The center enhances children’s ability to increase confidence, skill building, a sense of belonging, and the opportunity to build adult mentor relationships. The Center has helped empower children since 1978 providing them with skill sets that apply to not only education, but also personal growth. The Center provides children with the opportunity to increase their educational achievement and excellence while engaging parents and family members to identify and become involved in these achievements.  

Skeels-Mathews Community Center Youth Program - Family & Community Services
The Skeels Vernon L. Matthews Community Center is a non-profit community center that serves the residents of Portage County by proving food pantry access, daily lunches for seniors, computer and nutrition classes, community and cultural events, and a general place for residents to gather together to spend their time. While most of the programs and services offered by Skeels are available to residents of all ages, the Center also offers youth-focused programming that helps to promote education, development and literacy.

Youth Led Prevention Portage County - Townhall II
The program is designed to empower youth to take leadership roles in promoting substance abuse prevention as well as mental health awareness in their schools while promoting healthy and fun alternative activities for students.

Critical Needs

Center of Hope & Kent Social Services - Family & Community Services
The Center of Hope and Kent Social Services are committed to feeding the body and the spirit of vulnerable people in their respective communities through the provision of hot meals, groceries and a caring attitude.  This is accomplished through two food programs and ancillary services.  Hot meals provides hungry individuals and families with 6 meals per week.  The nutritious meals are prepared by volunteers using food donated by local individuals, restaurants, Kent State University’s Campus Kitchen program and occasionally purchased food.  The food pantries provide basic grocery staples once a month to economically disadvantaged families and individuals who meet Federal income eligibility requirements. Food distributed through the pantry is purchased by the centers or donated by local food drives and farmers.  

Consumer Credit Counseling - Family & Community Services
Consumer Credit Counseling Services is Portage County’s only local non-profit financial counseling program, and offers assistance to families and individuals that find themselves financially overextended due to loss of income, credit abuse, poor money management, and medical debt.  The program is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and provides education and training in budget counseling, debt management, financial literacy, home ownership, bankruptcy, and payee services to those in need of assistance with financial management.

County Clothing Center - Family & Community Services
The County Clothing Center provides, free of charge, gently used clothing and other personal and  household items as available to families and individuals in need, while reducing the waste stream and promoting a positive experience for volunteers.

Freedom House - Family & Community Services
Freedom House is a transitional housing program located in Kent, Ohio for male veterans who are homeless.  Freedom House can serve up to 14 homeless male veterans.  Veterans share bedroom space and common areas. The philosophy of Freedom House is to give each veteran the best possible opportunity to gain the skills and confidence necessary to play an active role within the community and to move on to permanent housing.  

Housing & Emergency Support Services (HESS) - Family & Community Services
Housing and Emergency Support Services (HESS) has been providing emergency services to Portage County residents since 1941. Guiding the course of service development has been the belief that every person has the right to basic human needs. At the core of this need is safe stable housing, which often consumes the largest portion of a household budget. The program's overarching goal is to provide support to households experiencing housing crisis in order to maximize longer-term housing stability. 

Housing Program - Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity of Portage County gives deserving families a "hand up, not a hand out" by helping them obtain safe, stable housing. It rehabilitates or builds homes for families that are currently in inadequate housing and unable to better themselves by their own means. The families purchase the home from Habitat for Humanity, providing income to help new families. This "hand up" gives hope to families, as well as better health, educational, and work outcomes.

Miller Community House - Family & Community Services
The M. Marie Miller Community House (MCH) provides emergency shelter and supportive services to men, women and children experiencing a housing crisis and accommodates up to 22 residents at a time.  A 30-day shelter stay includes on-site case management, 24/7/365 support from staff, advocacy and referrals to encourage self-sufficiency and movement towards permanent housing, including linkages to Family & Community Services’ Portage Area Transitional Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing programs. MCH is the only generalized population emergency shelter serving Portage County (not Domestic Violence or Veteran specific), and serves as one of three Access Points to those experiencing a housing crisis, with its 24/7/365 crisis line.

Pantry and Free Clothing Room- Salvation Army
This food pantry assists low- income individuals in the Windham, Garrettsville, Hiram, Nelson, Freedom, Palmyra and outer Mantua areas with emergency food and a free clothing room, as well as seasonal assistance to alleviate the financial burdens on families.  Water and prescription assistance is also be provided through this food pantry.

Safer Futures - Family & Community Services
Safer Futures is the only domestic violence shelter and resource center in Portage County. Safer Futures offers multiple services to meet the needs of those experiencing intimate partner violence. There is a 24-hour crisis line available 24/7, we offer a safe, undisclosed location for those who feel they need to escape to a safe place and hide, we offer case management services once someone is at the shelter, and we provide Legal Advocacy services for those who are seeking Civil Protection Orders for domestic violence, stalking and/or sexual assault.

The Haven of Portage Homeless Shelter
The Haven of Portage County is a rescue mission and warming center in Portage County that addresses each stage of homelessness and provides holistic healing through the power of the gospel. The Haven of Portage County is a place where the vulnerable can find not only a meal and a bed, but also hope and long-term healing.

Transportation Assistance Program - Kidney Foundation of Ohio
The Transportation Assistance Program provides financial aid to pay for safe, reliable and affordable transportation to and from dialysis or transplant appointments. A bi-monthly check is distributed to approved program participants. In emergency situations, bus passes and cab vouchers are issued to patients. 

Public Health

Addiction and Recovery Services - Family & Community Services
Family & Community Services’ Services include treatment services across a full continuum of care for those struggling with alcohol and substance use. The programming includes individual and group counseling, outpatient services, residential services, and diversion programs in Portage County.

Adult Day Services - Coleman Health Services
Coleman Adult Day Services offers a safe, inviting and supportive place for seniors with physical or cognitive challenges to socialize and engage in a full range of activities designed to be accessible. We also offer engagement in community-based activities for younger adults with a developmental disability. The only medical-level adult day facility in Portage County, Coleman ADS provides family care-givers with respite and peace of mind that their loved one is receiving a high level of care during the weekdays while they work or attend to other needs. Coleman ADS provides nutritious meals, medical monitoring and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) including bathing. Care is provided in a professional, secure, clean and welcoming environment.

Children's Advocacy Center
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Portage County provides a coordinated response to allegations of child sexual abuse.  So that they are not further traumatized during the investigation, children receive specialized interview and medical services in a safe and child-friendly setting.  Information, education, referrals, advocacy, and support continue for them and for their non-offending caregivers throughout investigation and prosecution.  The program coordinates its response with investigators and service professionals to further reduce trauma, to help the child recover, and to improve investigations. 

Healthy & Resilient Girls in Portage County - Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using an experienced-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.  The physical activity-based youth development program is designed specifically to meet the physical, emotional, mental and social needs of girls in 3rd – 8th grades.  Girls on the Run is effective and appropriate for girls of all races, ethnicities, social standing, fitness level, family or economic situation.  The format affords all girls the opportunity to be successful and girls with special physical and emotional needs are able to be involved.

Helpline & Counseling - Townhall II
Townhall II promotes the health, wellness, and recovery of individuals and communities through prevention, education, advocacy, intervention, and treatment. The vision of Townhall II is of a community with the support, resources, and skills to choose, achieve, and maintain the optimum health, safety, and security of all its citizens. Townhall II Emergency Services provides 24-hour services designed to respond to immediate needs of people in the Portage County area and to sustain the support systems of communities throughout Ohio.

King Kennedy Community Center Adult Program - Family & Community Services
The King Kennedy Community Center (KKCC) is a nonprofit community center that serves residents of Portage County and has operated in the McElrath Park Community since 1978. The Center is located in a predominately African American, rural community and is geographically isolated from the services and programs the city of Ravenna has to offer to those in need. The Adult and Family Program is a vital place for the adults and families in the community. It provides access to health education, medical screenings, senior services, food assistance, and nutrition information, and is a safe place to those to participate in education activities, recreational activities, and special events.

Local Food Access Program - Haymaker Farmers' Market
The Haymaker Farmers' Market provides a connection between producers of local food and the community by creating a vibrant and sustainable gathering place promoting direct access to fresh and prepared food, agricultural and environmental education and the arts. Haymaker Farmers' Market administers Local Food Access programs at the weekly Haymaker Farmers' Market events on Saturday mornings in order to improve access to the healthy, fresh, local food available from our local farmers.

Medication Assistance Program - Kidney Foundation of Ohio
The Medication Assistance Program is designed to assist Portage County patients with renal (kidney) disease to improve their quality of life by providing medication assistance to maximize their health outcomes and live healthier lives. The Kidney Foundation of Ohio Medication Assistance Program provides financial aid to help individuals purchase lifesaving renal medications and nutritional supplements. 

Mental Health Services - Family & Community Services
Family & Community Services offers a wide array of mental health services for families, children and adults of any age who are suffering with mental health or addiction issues. Our mental health services include high quality group sessions, traditional outpatient services, intensive home-based individual and family therapy, and case management services for clients who are diagnosed with mental health and addiction issues.

Mobile Meals - Family & Community Services
Meals in Motion serves elderly and disabled individuals of Portage County by providing home delivered meals and supplements to those who are home-bound, as well as meals at nine congregate sites throughout the county.

Outreach & Education Chornic Disease - AxessPointe Community Health Center
The mission of AxessPointe is to provide a quality, affordable and compassionate health home for every patient, every time – in all communities. Through this program, the organization hopes to provide education and outreach at community events and local social service organizations, nutrition literacy with the help of Kent State nutrition/dietary students, increase access to adequate/healthy food options through referrals to local food banks, community gardens, and enrollment in SNAP benefits, oartner with local farms and the Akron Canton Food Bank to stock our food pantry, offer Door Dash option through the Akron Canton Food Bank when applicable, and refer and enroll residents in Mobile Meals.

Place of Peace - Family & Community Services
Place of Peace is a supervised visitation and safe exchange center. This program assists victims of domestic violence who have protection orders but are still required to allow the non-custodial party to engage in visitation. Place of Peace is designed to allow the non-custodial party to visit with their children in a safe environment and to allow the visiting parent to maintain or restore a positive relationship with the child in a safe setting. 

Re-Entry Program - Family & Community Services
Family & Community Services Re-Entry Program provides intensive peer support services to those who are re-entering society after spending time in jail or prison. Services provided include peer recovery support, transportation to and from appointments, employment, or other needs, assistance in signing up for various types of public assistance, and support in obtaining important documents such as birth certificates, IDs, and social security cards.

Senior Corps & Medication Access - Family & Community Services 
The Senior Corps programs improve the quality of life for individuals over the age of 55 by providing the critical link between retired seniors looking to volunteer to vulnerable members of the community in need. Those 55 and over interested in volunteering provide valuable services through each of the four Senior Corp programs: The Medication Access Program (MAP), Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Senior Companion Program (SCP), and Foster Grandparent Program (FGP). Whether the volunteers are assisting other seniors, or helping children and youth, each program offers unique services that improve the health and wellbeing of those it serves.

Skeels-Mathews Community Center Adult Program - Family & Community Services
The Skeels Vernon L. Mathews Community Center is a non-profit community center that serves the residents of Portage County by providing daily lunches for seniors, congregate meals, twice weekly to non-seniors, computer and nutrition classes, holiday and cultural events, and a  place for participants to gather together to spend their time. While most of the programs and serves offered by Skeels Center are available to residents of all ages, Skeels also offers adult and senior-focused programming and referrals that help to promote overall quality of health and well being.

Student Run Free Clinic - NEOMED
SOAR operates as a student-run free clinic providing high quality, non-emergent, no-cost health care to the uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved residents of Portage County, Ohio. The clinic is 100% run by a dedicated group of NEOMED medicine and pharmacy students who are supervised by trained family physicians and pharmacists. The medical director is John Boltri, MD, Chairman of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). The clinic offers the same services a primary care doctor's office does including chronic disease management, regular routine care, physical exam, basic labs, prescription for medications, medication counseling, and education all for no-cost to the patient.

Youth Mental Health Care - Coleman Health Services
The mission of Coleman Professional Services is to Foster Recovery, Build Independence, and Change Destinies.  The Youth Mental Health Care program provides access to services so that they are truly "universal" and youth can get the help needed to improve resiliency and recovery from trauma and other mental health conditions.  This program helps to provide access to services including individualized school-based counseling, and group services, such as Adventure Therapy.  The goals are to help youth ages 8-18 gain access to quality mental health services to reduce the risk of suicide and other forms of violence, and end school failure.