Recent News

April 22, 2016

United Way Early Childhood Partners Recognized for Building Quality

While United Way Success By 6 ® and it’s partners are often in the news tied to Preschool Promise and Pre-K Works, dozens of direct service providers are working every day to increase overall system quality. Two of those efforts – YWCA of Greater Cincinnati’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) and Cincinnati Early Learning Centers (CELC) – are celebrating achievements that impact the lives of the children and families they serve.

preschool promise

In Cincinnati, the Preschool Promise is being developed to accelerate the pace in which we achieve the Bold Goal--that by 2020, 85% of children will be prepared--by providing access to two years of quality preschool for 3- and 4-year old children in the city. In conjunction with numerous partners, including StrivePartnership, 4C for Children, AMOS Project, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. U.S. Bank Foundation as well as a 45-member Steering Committee, United Way Success By 6 ® is defining what the preschool model will offer and how it will work. 

With support and participation from the Cincinnati Business Committee, research from The RAND Corporation and input from countless community conversations and forums, plans are to take the Preschool Promise to the voters in the Fall of this year, with the goal of providing this foundational resource to many of the 9200 3- and 4-year old children in Cincinnati. The impact on the lives of children will be transformative and the long lasting benefit to the community makes it a sound, wise investment.

Local educator wins national award

Maria Meinking, program coordinator for YWCA of Greater Cincinnati’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngters (HIPPY) program, was recently honored with the HIPPY USA Avima D. Lombard Award--a national award given to a HIPPY staff person whose professional services have made a significant contribution to HIPPY and to improving the lives of young children and their families.

HIPPY is supported by United Way Success By 6 ®, and is a national home-based, family-focused program that helps parents provide educational enrichment for their preschool child. By supporting parents, HIPPY’s primary goal is to increase vulnerable children’s success in school and, ultimately, in life. HIPPY is an approved model for federal home visiting.


Maria has worked on the HIPPY In Home Childcare Pilot Program in conjunction with Success By 6 ® in the Winton Woods School District. The goal of the pilot is to have providers using an evidence-based curriculum for all 3- and 4-year olds in their care, and ultimately have all children entering kindergarten ready to learn. 

“To be recognized for the work I do to improve the lives of young children and their families is truly an honor and would have never been possible if the YWCA HIPPY program did not award me with employment 18 years ago,” said Meinking. “As the local HIPPY coordinator I continue to be inspired by the awesome and committed team of family educators we have doing the work!”

5 stars out of 5

Cincinnati Early Learning Centers (CELC), a United Way agency partner, is celebrating a milestone achievement, earning a 5-Star Quality Rating at all seven of their locations. The distinguished 5-Star Quality Rating comes from Step Up To Quality, which is Ohio's quality rating and improvement system for licensed learning and development programs.

Step Up To Quality’s 5-Star Quality Rating for all seven CELC locations means that CELC has the most centers earning top marks in Hamilton County. The 5-Star Quality Rating recognizes key areas like staff/child ratios and group sizes; learning and development; administrative and leadership practices; staff qualifications and professional development; and family and community partnerships.


CELC’s seven 5-Star centers are located in Downtown Cincinnati, East Walnut Hills, Price Hill (two centers), East End, Clifton and Harrison.

“United Way has had the pleasure of partnering with CELC for more than 30 years,” said Stephanie Byrd, executive director, United Way Success By 6 ®. “This recent achievement demonstrates their commitment to quality and to their tradition of offering the best early learning experiences to the families they serve. CELC will help us meet our Bold Goal that 85 percent of children in our community will be prepared for kindergarten.”