COVID-19 Update: Resources for Central Families

COVID-19 Update: Resources for Central Families

During these uncertain times, there are several support resources available in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as links to online activities for families with children:

Support Resources for Cleveland Central Promise

We know this is a difficult time for everyone, especially our neighbors and friends who have children home from school. Our team has been speaking with families throughout the Central Promise neighborhood to better understand the immediate needs in our community, and we are working on the best ways to support one another. In the meantime, we are sending along a few helpful community resources.

To stay informed on COVID-19, receive local updates and understand the practices to stop the spread of germs, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Public Health and the Cleveland Department of Public Health.

FREE MEAL ACCESS – as of March 23, 2020

The COVID-19 Cleveland Community Hub has posted an interactive map of all food pantries and free meal sites across the city of Cleveland.


Clicking on the location icons will bring up the address and phone number for each location, as well as dates & times for meal service.

Locations in our immediate neighborhood include:

  • Marion Sterling School
  • Anton Grdina School
  • Friendly Inn Settlement House
  • Triedstone Community Care Center
  • St. Vincent de Paul – Woodland Ave.

Children’s Hunger Alliance is supporting ready-to-eat meal distribution to children outside most of Cleveland’s recreation centers while the centers remain closed during the emergency shutdown. The grab-and-go meals are available Saturday, March 28 from noon to 1 p.m. and Monday through Fridays from 4 to 5 p.m.

In our community:

Central Recreation
2526 Central Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
Phone: 216.664.4241
Meals served: 4 – 5 p.m.

Lonnie Burten Recreation Center
2511 E 46th St.
Cleveland, OH 44104
Phone: 216.664.4139
Meals served: 4 – 5 p.m.

CHILD CARE CENTERS – as of March 23, 2020

All early learning centers in the Central Promise neighborhood are currently CLOSED as part of the State of Ohio’s mandatory shutdown.

Several area early learning centers are in the process of acquiring licensing to provide care during the pandemic, and we will share those resources with you as soon as they are available.

Activities for Families with Children

  • Starfall Learning’s website is full of educational activities to help students of all ages develop literacy skills and keep minds active.
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District has an entire page dedicated to learning resources, both from the district and from national & international resources. Click here to access the full list.
  • The Music Settlement has developed a comprehensive listing of tools and activities available for young children and families throughout this period of isolation. Click here for the full list.

Examples include:

The Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood is a collaborative initiative led by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visits Friendly Inn

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown visits Friendly Inn

On Monday, Oct. 9, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a legislative update at Friendly Inn Settlement for the Central-Kinsman community. During the event, Senator Brown moderated a panel discussion with community stakeholders from the Central and Kinsman communities.

“We are facing awful budget cuts and the message is always that it will trickle down and create jobs. Well, it never trickles down to Central,” Brown said.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown hosts a legislative update at Friendly Inn.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown hosts a legislative update at Friendly Inn.

Central resident and community leader Dwayne Browder coordinated the discussion with the goal of giving residents and members of disadvantaged communities a platform to voice their concerns.

“I want all of us to step up and get the message out about what is going on in our community and how federal budget cuts are going to impact our lives,” Browder said.

Panel participants Jeffery K. Patterson, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Chief Executive Officer, Councilwoman Phyllis E. Cleveland, Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood director Lowell Perry Jr., Promise Neighborhood engagement manager Joe Black, Promise Ambassador Delores Gray and others spoke with Senator Brown about a number of issues impacting the quality of life in Central.

“We are now faced with the decision to provide safe and affordable places for people to live or early learning and youth enrichment programs because we can’t do both. At the end of the day we want everything to be done and shouldn’t have to make choices,” Patterson said of how the federal budget cuts will impact CMHA.

In addition to housing, the panel was able to speak with Senator Brown about healthcare, education, job creation and criminal justice reform.

“We keep asking people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but forget that we first need to make sure people have boots,” Black said.

Cleveland takes next steps to be considered for Say Yes to Education

Cleveland takes next steps to be considered for Say Yes to Education

Cleveland and the Say Yes to Education non-profit have begun working to offer free college tuition to all graduates of the city school district by 2019. Say Yes to Education, a national nonprofit organization that partners with communities around the goals of college readiness and affordability, announced today that Cleveland has satisfied some of the earliest milestones on the extensive path to becoming a Say Yes chapter.

The bold promise of Say Yes is to bring together an entire community to ensure each of its children has the opportunity –and the support – to go to college. Using last-in-dollar scholarships as a catalyst, Say Yes partners with communities to create systems intended to help every child progress along the pathway to post-secondary success. If the school district and several local agencies clear key benchmarks in the next year to 18 months – including raising large amounts of money – Cleveland will become the fourth city to partner with Say Yes to provide scholarships that allow graduates to attend public colleges, trade schools and a few private schools without tuition bills or loans.

girl_chalkboard“If selected as a Say Yes city, we can create an opportunity for Cleveland students, regardless of economic circumstance, to go to college. Say Yes would help support their growth and aid in high-quality educational opportunities for those who traditionally would not have access. This is an excellent example of community partnerships contributing to equitable prosperity for all Clevelanders,”City of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said in a statement.

For more than two years, an exploratory group in Cleveland has been working to secure an affiliation with Say Yes for Cleveland’s youth. Six partners – City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), Cleveland Foundation, College Now and United Way – are leading the effort. These partners are seeking to make the case that Cleveland would be a good fit for the Say Yes approach, leveraging the ongoing success of the Cleveland Plan, the region’s strong history of collaboration as demonstrated by innovative and committed public sector leaders, and an organized and robust philanthropic and nonprofit sector committed to enhancing the lives of all Greater Clevelanders.

Already, the public-private partnership that submitted the application has participated in extensive vetting, including on-site visits in Cleveland, by Say Yes’ senior management and advisory board.

“Under the Cleveland Plan, CMSD is graduating more students, and students who are better prepared for college; however, the number of Cleveland students enrolling in postsecondary education is declining. If we succeed in being selected, Say Yes can help Cleveland reverse that trend through scholarship access and support services students need from kindergarten through 12th grade. The potential of Say Yes provides hope and opportunity for the people of Cleveland to play a significant role in the revitalization of the city and the region,” Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon said in a statement.

The Cleveland group, along with others, will now spend the next 12 to 18 months working with Say Yes to determine the possibility of Cleveland becoming a community-wide affiliate. This work includes, but is not limited to, determining scholarship parameters and criteria, raising a significant portion of the funding required to support the scholarship endowment, and identifying necessary in-school and out-of-school supports and services and related public and philanthropic funding sources to meet the development needs of every child.

This next phase will require input and work from all aspects of the community – parents, children, teachers, school administrators, social-service organizations, businesses, government officials, residents, and more. Cleveland’s potential selection as a Say Yes partner community would enhance the work already being done to improve all the factors that influence Cleveland children’s academic success and to ensure they are ready for college or career.

Read more about how Say Yes work on

Job opportunity for grassroots organizers

Job opportunity for grassroots organizers

Greater Cleveland Congregations is currently seeking to recruit, train, and develop the next generation of grassroots organizers. Greater Cleveland Congregations is a multi-faith, multi-racial, county-wide organization made up of congregations, community organizations and schools from across the county organizing poor, working and middle class families on issues like education, jobs, criminal justice, healthcare, and gun violence. The organization is looking for people from community organizations, colleges, graduate programs, seminaries, business and law schools, political campaigns, and other professions who are interested in exploring careers in organizing. Candidates selected will primarily focus on key issue areas of Education and Criminal Justice.

Qualities of a Successful Organizer:

    1. Native intelligence – not necessarily degrees, but the ability to think, reflect, communicate, challenge the conventional wisdom, make judgments in complicated situations, and show flexibility.
    2. Anger and edge – not temper, not ideological fervor, not an abstract commitment to “the people,” but a clear sense of what’s wrong, impatience in the face of that wrong, and a drive to address it.
    3. Relationality, especially across race and culture – ability to build deep trust with people, especially people unlike oneself, people of other races, classes, orientations, faiths, etc.
    4. A track record – some evidence, in high school, college, the local community, the workplace of attempting to relate to people and to respond to situations that seemed to demand responses; and some success in whatever field, career or endeavor has occupied the individual’s time.
    5. HUSTLE

Bilingual applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. Successful candidates will participate in an organizer training period before being offered a position as an organizer. Greater Cleveland Congragations trainees and organizers are full-time, salaried positions with health care benefits.

Over 5 years, Great Cleveland Congregations has organized victories to help pass three Cleveland Municipal School District levies. These three levies will bring over $100 million dollars for operational purposes and build/renovate over 40 schools. Greater Cleveland Congregations led the fight to reduce low-level nonviolent crimes charged as felonies which resulted in a 25 percent overall reduction over four years. In 2013, GCC was the leading organization to form the Northeast Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition made of hospitals, foundations, community organizations and faith communities. GCC pushed for Medicaid by door-knocking in key neighborhoods, organizing statewide actions, and gathering thousands of signatures for support. In 2014, the state of Ohio expanded Medicaid and as a result over 750,000 Ohioans now have access to healthcare.

Greater Cleveland Congregations is an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the nation’s first and largest network of faith, community and civic organizations. IAF has seven decades of experience winning tough battles across the nation including: winning the first living wage ordinance in Baltimore, establishing crisis intervention centers in Chicago to decriminalize mental illness, expunging hundreds of records to allow citizens a fresh start in NYC, building 39,000 affordable housing units along the East Coast and nearly $1 billion in school construction financing in Baltimore.

If interested in this opportunity, please send one-page or less story of self that tells why you want to be an organizer or why you became an organizer and a short (1 page or less) resume. Include your contact information (address, email, mobile number) and send to: James Pearlstein, GCC Leader Organizer at

Cleveland schools pass levy renewal

Cleveland schools pass levy renewal

Cleveland residents voted to pass the school district levy. Cleveland voters support the direction the Cleveland Metropolitan School District is heading, as shown by their 67.8 percent approval of Issue 108. Renewal of the 15-mill levy gives CMSD another four years to continue progress evident under The Cleveland PlanThe levy was initially passed in 2012. It was the first time in 16 years that voters had provided the schools with additional money for operating expenses.

Since 2012, student attendance and enrollment have increased, scores on the Nation’s Report Card showed improvement and CMSD’s graduation rate increased 17 percent to a record high.

The CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Eric Gordon, says the extension of the levy will allow the district to move on from what he called a period of disruption in the schools.

“I’m really interested in expanding our arts and music programming. I didn’t get to do that in the last four years, extra curriculars, more technology for kids, but all of those things in service to improved results.”

“I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the last four years,” Gordon said, “and I’m grateful that the community has recognized the improvements and given us another four years to accelerate these gains.”

Cleveland schools progress (Source: CMSD)
Cleveland schools progress (Source: CMSD)

The revenue provided by Issue 108 is critical to carrying out reforms charted by Cleveland’s Plan for Transforming Schools, better known as The Cleveland Plan. The 15-mill levy generates up to $69.7 million a year, or 10 percent of the District’s operating budget, without raising taxes. CMSD shares 1 mill, or about $4.6 million, with charter school partners.

CMSD’s enrollment has been rising after decades of decline.  Surveys showed that as many as 75 percent of citizens surveyed believe CMSD is improving and rate their public schools as fair or better. Once on the verge of insolvency, the District is now on a long run of financial stability.

The Cleveland Teachers Union sent out a news release late Tuesday thanking the city for passing the levy.

“When students have stability in their schools and classrooms and educators have the materials necessary to teach with – we will see results in academic outcomes. The gains will continue as long as the stability continues,” union president David Quolke said in the release.

Read about the progress CMSD is seeing under The Cleveland Plan here.

Word from Lowell: Locked in, locked up, and locked out

Word from Lowell: Locked in, locked up, and locked out

Lowell Perry Jr., Executive Director

Ever since I embarked on my own personal journey over a dozen years ago to do my part to make a significant difference in the world in which I live, I have been both intrigued and incensed by a phenomenon primarily affecting children and families facing significant adversity in our cities. Too many of our young people in communities like the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood were born into, and are growing up in, a generational cycle of poverty that is much akin to an ever spinning hamster wheel which becomes increasingly more difficult to get off of with each successive generation.

Cleveland has the dubious distinction of erecting the first public housing project in Central, when some city “genius” had the bright idea of trying to jam as many poor families into a roughly 1.3 square mile radius. There are approximately 10,000 residents in this area, 43 percent of whom are children under the age of 18. Of the families in the neighborhood with children, 89% are female-headed households, 82 percent of children in Central live in poverty, and only 32 percent of residents are high school graduates. Decades of intentional and structural racism have served to keep many members of Central locked in to their current circumstances. Eventually, any of us would become weary of the daily battles, and without some form of hope at the end of the tunnel, start to accept those circumstances.

This induced complacency can lead to other difficulties that make the hamster wheel nearly impossible to escape. In these communities, too many young African-American men in particular are inserted into the juvenile justice system and ultimately the criminal justice system. This is not by accident.  In her book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”, Michelle Alexander recounts  how Ronald Reagan’s escalation of the so-called “war on drugs”was a primary catalyst behind why there is such a disproportionate number of men of color locked up in this country, primarily for non-violent drug related offenses.

We have an apparent affinity for incarcerating people in this country. A Washington Post article done in July of 2015 confirmed that we lock up more of our fellow citizens than any other country in the world. This national disgrace is bad enough on its surface, however, the way we permanently disenfranchise these individuals after they have “paid their debt to society” is equally despicable. Having a felony on your record, means you are unlikely to ever be able to get a decent paying job, to buy a house or car, or to even exercise your right to vote. For those who enter juvenile and criminal justice systems which have historically not been equitable for all people, this becomes a life sentence.

The new Scarlet Letter is now “F” for felon, signaling that you have been locked out of society. The pursuit of the American Dream,which is supposed to be a right of citizenship in this country, is dead.  This amounts to a form of cultural genocide for communities of color in particular. When we also overlay unequal access to a quality education, it is probably fair to say that the likelihood of being permanently locked out is significantly increased.

The good news is that there is something we can do to change this sad situation.  It begins with the kids.  Children and families in danger of suffering the fate of being forever locked in a cycle of poverty, and part of a cradle to prison pipeline, must be instead introduced into a collaborative cradle to college and career pipeline like the one being fostered by the Promise Neighborhood initiative. If every child is involved in early learning and has access to quality K-12 education, it increases their chances for success.  If residents lead the change in these communities and parents are supported to engage in the academic journey of their kids, and the neighborhoods are healthy and safe, we all ultimately win.

If we have the moral and political will to actually do something about it, we might then perhaps enact more common sense policies,and eliminate the Prison Industrial Complex which has fostered a form of profit that preys on the misfortunes of those locked up in the criminal justice system. The answer is definitely not to embrace more punitive measures.  This philosophy has shown to be grossly ineffective and costly to us as taxpayers.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some who need to be behind bars.  But those who have been locked up and locked out of society for a non-violent mistake should not be permanently branded with an “F” and therefore denied their “certain inalienable rights” to a fair shot at pursuing life, liberty, and happiness.

The bottom line is that we might virtually eliminate a world in which too many of our fellow citizens are locked in, locked up, and locked out as adults by asking ourselves a very important question when making decisions and policies in this country – will it benefit our children?  We have to set aside greed run amok where shareholder dividends have become more important than whether each of our neighbors, no matter their current circumstances, is able to access the path leading to their reaching their full God given potential.We must be of great courage and not waffle on what needs to be done if we are to live up to the ideals of what this country claims to have been founded upon.

This is not about red or blue, conservative or liberal, or Republican or Democrat.  It is a responsibility of our basic humanity to work together for the good of all of our citizens to ensure that everyone has his or her fair chance to succeed in this world.

Are you up to the task of doing your part?

Promise Director Discusses Youth Violence at Cleveland City Council Forum

Promise Director Discusses Youth Violence at Cleveland City Council Forum

Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed hosted “Community Conversation: Solutions for Addressing Violence” on Thursday, October 27. The day-long event that brought together members of the community and healthcare and community organizations to talk about ways to prevent youth violence in Cleveland.

Promise director Lowell Perry Jr. participated in one of the event’s panels to discuss current programs addressing ongoing violence in the Central community. Led by moderator Wayne Dawson, news anchor for WJW Fox 8, the group talked about the importance of reaching kids at a young age to try to break the cycle of violence. They also discussed how jobs and creating opportunities for those people formerly incarcerated can provide a more appealing option than returning to the same cycle of criminal activity.

Perry talked to the group about how residents leading the change has been a successfully strategy for Promise and how that could translate into violence prevention. He also focused on Central’s strong schools and early learning centers.

Lowell Perry Jr., Promise director, speaks at Community Conversation forum.
Lowell Perry Jr., Promise director, speaks at Community Conversation forum.

“Any meaningful impact on violence prevention in neighborhoods will only come if residents themselves are intimately involved in the thought process around solutions, and execution of key strategies. Our Promise Ambassadors are prime examples of residents taking action,” said Perry.  “Access to quality education is also absolutely critical. Not only does training the mind prepare our young people for a future career, but it also opens up a new world of possibilities that may have appeared unthinkable to them in the past.”

The importance of working with families was also another hot topic during the panel. Andrea Martemus-Peters, MetroHealth and Dr. Edward Barksdale, University Hospitals, talked to the group about a new program that places ‘violence interrupters’ in hospital emergency rooms. The ‘violence interrupter’ meets with and counsels victims of violence while they are in the hospital. They also meet with victims family members to try to prevent retaliation and ongoing violence.

Overall, the event was a great starting point for bringing together the community to start to identify why violence is increasingly happening and what needs to be done collectively to start to turn the trend around.

“We look forward to working with Councilman Reed and others to continue this community conversation in other parts of Cleveland, and hopefully inspire action city-wide around creating a viable cradle to career pipeline that leaves guns and violence out of the mix,” said Perry in his closing statement.

Word from Lowell: Continuing Central’s History of Civic Leadership

Word from Lowell: Continuing Central’s History of Civic Leadership

Lowell Perry Jr., Executive Director

The Central neighborhood has a rich history of local leaders rising from humble beginnings to become successful in Cleveland and nationally. The late Carl Stokes became the first African-American mayor of a major US city. His brother Louis Stokes was an influential US Congressman. The brothers are products of Outhwaite Estates and their stories are an inspiration to many Americans. Current Cleveland mayor, Frank Jackson also grew up in Central.

All three men represent examples of true civic leadership. Mayor Jackson is still carrying on that tradition today. Each understood that the work had to be done from within the political system to bring about positive outcomes for those who have been historically locked out of the pursuit of the American dream. We are still waging that battle today which is why we all need to clearly understand what civic duty is all about.

Civic duty is defined as “the responsibilities of a citizen.” A person’s civic duty can take them as far as Congress, as it did with Louis Stokes, or it can be as simple as voting or attending a community townhall to express concerns and ideas for change.  The late Congressman Stokes was a master at understanding the system and knowing how to work within it to advocate for equality for all of this country’s citizens.

The first African-American to represent Ohio, Louis Stokes chaired several congressional committees (including the Permanent Select Intelligence Committee) and was the first person of color to win a seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He used his own success to try to increase opportunities for millions of African Americans, saying, “I’m going to keep on denouncing the inequities of this system, but I’m going to work within it. To go outside the system would be to deny myself—to deny my own existence. I’ve beaten the system. I’ve proved it can be done—so have a lot of others.”

If you want a say in the decisions that directly impact your neighborhood, Election Day, Nov. 8, is one way to make your voice heard. Voting is a top responsibility of all citizens.  As an African-American male, I feel a special obligation to exercise this responsibility as a way to honor those who came before us who were denied that right.

While the Presidential election has most of our attention this year, it is important to vote in state and local elections – every year.  There is a saying that “all politics is local”. It’s true that local elections have the biggest impact on our daily lives.

Our Promise motto is that residents lead the change in the Central neighborhood. You can be active in your community by voting, volunteering or just learning about your city councilperson and the people who represent your voice in the state legislature. Ensuring that all of our children get a quality education, including understanding the workings of the political system, might be one of the most important ways to lead that change as a resident leader.

If you plan to vote on Nov. 8 here are some helpful resources for Election Day:

  • Find your polling place: Polling location and district information
  • Voting hours for Nov. 8: Cuyahoga County Board of Elections
  • Early voting started Oct. 12, you can vote at the Cuyahoga County Board of Electionslocated at 2925 Euclid Ave. Early voting hours can be found here: Early voting hours
  • Learn more about the elections taking place in Ohio on Nov. 8: Voter Guide
  • What you need to bring to the polls:
    • Voters must bring identification to the polls in order to verify identity. Identification may include:
      • A current and valid photo identification card (e.g., driver’s license or state ID)
      • A military identification
      • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and current address.
      • Note:You cannot use as proof of identification a notice that the board of elections mailed to you. Voters who do not provide one of these documents will still be able to vote by provisional ballot.

Right now, a diverse group of civic and community leaders are planning a special Stokes 50th Year Commemoration Project highlighting the 50 year anniversary of Carl Stokes’ election as mayor; of the groundbreaking role of his brother Louis Stokes, in the legal and political life of our nation; and of Cleveland’s contributions to civil rights attainments in America. The theme is “Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future of Cleveland.”Many events, tributes, and programs are planned for throughout 2017. I have the honor of serving on the planning committee for this year-long commemoration project.

I invite you to join me in this celebration of “Central born” leadership.  In many ways, it all begins on November 8.

News: Cleveland Teachers Union Rejects Tentative Agreement with School District

News: Cleveland Teachers Union Rejects Tentative Agreement with School District

The Cleveland Teachers Union (CTU) has rejected the three year contract proposed by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). Teachers voted 1,832 to 1,730 to reject the deal. Failure to approve the tentative agreement that was reached on Aug. 30, 2016 means the teachers and school district will continue negotiations to revise the contract.

books-1099067_1920“It was a close vote, but enough of our members clearly do not believe that the Tentative Agreement fixed the broken promises that occurred over the last three years,” David Quolke, CTU President, told “Our members know that there is still too much testing for our students and that evaluations must become significantly more fair.”

According to, the deal, which would have given the teachers a 2 percent raise this school year, called for wages to be negotiated again next year when the result of the tax renewal is known. The 2012 tax increase that is up for renewal in November was a 15-mill tax that raised the city’s property tax rate for schools by about 50 percent. It gives the schools about $65 million a year, or nearly 10 percent of its $700 million operating budget.

The contract also would have eliminated a plan what was reached in 2013 as part of the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools that bases teacher raises on their annual performance review.

“While I respect the decision of CTU’s members, I do believe that the agreement reached between the District and Union bargaining teams was good for our student scholars, fair for our educators, and protected the reforms of The Cleveland Plan,” said Eric Gordon, CEO of CMSD, in an email. “The District remains committed to bargaining a contract that meets these goals and that members can support.  We will be prepared to meet with the CTU bargaining team in the days ahead and continue to work for an agreement that can be supported by all.”

To learn more about the agreement, visit or the Cleveland Metropolitan School District website.

Earned Income Tax Credit Boosts Promise Neighborhood

The Central Promise Neighborhood is $5.7 million more prosperous thanks to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, which helped an estimated 1,900 low-wage working families and individuals in the community make ends meet, according to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio.

But many families in the neighborhood will see no benefit from Ohio’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) because of its significant shortcomings. Ohio lawmakers can help Central Promise’s effort to create a community where every child can have college and career success by making improvements to the state EITC, which supplements the federal credit.

“The federal EITC supports the mission of the Promise Initiative,” said Hannah Halbert, report author and researcher with Policy Matters Ohio. “Kids in EITC families that receive larger EITC credits tend to have higher test scores, higher graduations rates, and higher college attendance rates.”

Policy Matters’ report looks at the impact of the federal and state EITCs on the Promise neighborhood. Tax filers who claimed the federal EITC in the neighborhood got an average credit of $3,001, which will help them afford necessities like childcare and transportation.

The Ohio EITC will have a much more limited benefit for the neighborhood. One of the main reasons is that unlike the federal credit, Ohio’s isn’t “refundable,” which allows those qualifying for the EITC to claim a modest refund if the credit exceeds what they owe in taxes. The median gross income of the Promise neighborhood is barely above the threshold for qualifying for Ohio’s low-income tax credit, which eliminates tax liability for taxpayers with taxable income less than $10,000. Because the Ohio EITC isn’t refundable, many of these families will see no benefit from it.

In addition, Ohio’s EITC is capped for those with taxable income over $20,000 and set at only 5 percent of the federal credit. Making it one of the weakest credits in the nation.

“The state credit should be better targeted to reach low-income working families,” said Halbert. “Making the credit refundable, increasing the amount, and dropping the cap would help keep more kids out of poverty.”

This report was made possible by the generous support of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

Read the report.