Recent News

October 13, 2016

Investing in a Strong Start and Strong Future for Our Children


On November 8, Cincinnati has a unique and historic opportunity to accelerate Cincinnati's progress by passing Issue 44 and renewing Issue 53, investing in current and future generations of children.

United Way of Greater Cincinnati endorses both Issue 44 and Issue 53 as it is a vital opportunity to build the communities we want for ourselves, our neighbors and all of our children.

United Way was also selected by Cincinnati Public Schools as the local, established, nonprofit “Trusted Entity” to manage the preschool expansion initiative if Issue 44 passes.


Issue 44

Issue 44, a 5-year emergency levy for Cincinnati Public Schools is a groundbreaking, community-designed levy which combines much needed support for K-12 education with funding for quality preschool access and expansion. It will generate $48 million per year toward creating a strong start and strong future for our children. Of the funds generated:

  • $33 million annually will provide much needed support to continue the growth and momentum CPS has made in recent years.

  • $15 million annually ($75MM total) will directly fund access to and expansion of quality preschool for three and four year old children in the district, benefiting as many as 6,000 annually.

Issue44-KidsInvesting in Issue 44’s passage will accelerate work in United Way’s highest priority for our community – kindergarten readiness. High quality early childhood education is a proven strategy to increase readiness. Expanding preschool will be a major step toward achieving the Bold Goal of having 85% of children ready for kindergarten by 2020.


The current rate is 58%, up from 44% in 2006.

 The $15 million annually generated by the levy will leverage, accelerate and more than double United Way’s annual $13 million investment in early childhood education. Investing in preschool expansion increases investments in young children at the point in their lives when it can maximize brain development and strengthen school readiness.

The Cincinnati Enquirer recently endorsed Issue 44 saying, “The plan they (CPS) are bringing before voters is one informed by data and objective examination, and it is one that will make Cincinnati a better city. Every child in Cincinnati deserves an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe it is a worthy investment.”

The Enquirer joined a list of endorsers including the AFL-CIO Labor Council, African American Chamber, Child Poverty Collaborative, The Cincinnati Herald, Cincinnati Democratic Committee, Cincinnati NAACP, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Cincinnatus Association, Equality Cincinnati, Faith Community Alliance, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area and Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, among many other local organizations.

Two recent studies by two different organizations show further benefits to passage. A RAND Corporation study concluded that the ROI of the preschool model being developed in Cincinnati is $2 to $4 for every $1 invested. Returns are especially high for children from economically disadvantaged families. An EY (Ernst & Young) study determined that CPS revenues were only growing by approximately 1%, while expenses due to increased enrollment were quickly growing despite staff and building reductions. Unless Issue 44 passes, EY projects CPS will face a $50 million annual deficit.

To learn more or to get involved in supporting Issue 44, visit

Issue 53

Issue 53 is the Hamilton County Children’s Services renewal levy which generates about $40 million annually. These funds are critical to ensuring the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in our community through the support of public and private agencies including Hamilton County Job and Family Services and Hamilton County Juvenile Court. The county uses these dollars to leverage another $40 million in state and federal funds.

To learn more about the Issue 53 levy renewal, visit