Our History

Lifeline was founded on June 19, 1973 with the mission of helping Lake County’s low-income residents by providing assistance and life skills programming that was designed to increase self-sufficiency.

In 1980, Lifeline became a participating agency of the United Way of Lake County. In 1987, Lifeline was designated as Lake County’s Community Action Agency by the Ohio Department of Development. In 2008, Lifeline became certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health as a mental health agency. In 2020, Lifeline received the interim designation from ODSA as Geauga County’s Community Action Agency.

Over the years, Lifeline has helped thousands of local residents who were struggling with basic needs and trying to become more self-sufficient. Poverty affects everyone in some way. Lake & Geauga County residents are facing challenges like job losses, loss of health insurance and home foreclosures and Lifeline, Inc. is proud to provide a safety net for our neighbors in need.


Economic Opportunity Act

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act that creates Community Action Agenices throughout the nation as a part of his War on Poverty


Organization Founded

June 19: Lakeland Economic Development Corporation (LEDC, later known as Lifeline) is founded as a subsidiary of the NAACP.



Lakeland for the Empowerment and Development of Consumers (LEDC) was incorporated as a tax exempt non-profit organization.


Disaster Averted

President Nixon attempts to dismantle the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). If he’d been successful, most Community Action Agencies would have closed. He failed.


Community Services Administration Founded

The Office of Economic Opportunity is replaced with the Community Services Administration, which administers grants directly to the Community Action Agencies.


Partnering with United Way

LEDC becomes a participating agency of the United Way of Lake County.



LEDC becomes an independent agency, and is no longer a subsidiary of the NAACP.


Poverty No Longer A National Priority

The Community Services Administration is closed and poverty is no longer a national priority. Community Service Block Grants become available to the states, which are sub-granted to the Community Action Agencies.


We Become Lifeline

LEDC changes its name from Lakeland Economic Development Corporation to Lifeline to Economically Disadvantaged Consumers, still known as LEDC, to clarify the target population.


Community Action Agency Status Acheived

Lifeline is designated as Lake County’s Community Action Agency by the then Ohio Department of Development, making the agency eligable for the Community Service Block Grant and HEAP program.


Lifeline Helps With Home Ownership

Lifeline begins offering Home Ownership Down Payment Assistance via the Lake County Comminssioners Office and the City of Painesville.


ROMA Developed

Created by a national task force, ROMA was developed to provide resources and reporting for CAAs to provide the most efficient service to their communities while maintaining the highest level of accountability and management oversight.


Lifeline Name Refined

Lifeline to Economically Disadvantaged Consumers changes their name to Lifeline for the Empowerment & Development of Consumers, Inc.


Family Development Program Launched

The Family Developement Program was launched to be proactive and supportive in helping families become self-sufficient.


Security Deposit Assistance Program Launched

Lifeline launches the Security Deposit Assistance Program, using federal Home Investment Partnership Funds granted by the Lake County Commissioners Office.


New Board of Trustees In Place

Lifeline transitions to an all new Board of Trustees: New Board by-laws and personnel policies are adopted, as well as a new stretegic plan.


New Lifeline Offices

Lifeline moves from 85 N. Park Place to 8 N. State Street.


A Tradition is Born

Lifeline holds first ever Annual Dinner & Silent Auction.


Lifeline Helps Katrina Victims

Lifeline is instrumental in helping Hurricane Katrina victims who relocated to Northeast Ohio through donations made to the United Way of Lake County.


New Offices

Lifeline moves from 8 N. State Street to 54 S. State Street Office.


The Foundation of Dancing Under The Stars

Lifeline, in partnership with the Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio, secures a grant from the Cleveland Foundation Lake Geauga Fund to explore partnership and fundraising, which results in the first ever Annual Campaign Drive for Lifeline and the concept of the Dancing Under The Stars event.


Lifeline Helps Flood Victims

Lifeline is instrumental in helping victims of the Lake County floods of July 2006 to relocate and start over.


Diabetic Assistance Program Launched

Lifeline begins partnering with the Bikers Aiding Local Diabetics group to offer the Diabetes Assistance Program.


Mental Health Services Expanded

Lifeline is certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health as a provider of other mental health services.


Federal Government Reinvests In Helping Those In Poverty

President Barack Obama signs the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act that provided increased funding for Community Action programs, including the Community Services Block Grant, HEAP, Weatherization and Head Start.


March Mania Fundraiser Launched

March: Lifeline hosts the first annual March Mania fundraiser – to date it has generated nearly $44,000 in unrestricted revenue for Lifeline.


First Annual Dancing Under The Stars Takes Place

August: In partnership with the Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio, the first annual Dancing Under The Stars fundraiser is held – to date it has generated nearly $170,000 in unrestricted revenue to be shared by Lifeline and the Family Planning Association.


VITA Tax Clinics, Employment/Training Program and Eye Care Assistance Launched

Lifeline is awarded nearly half a million dollars in federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding and launches the VITA tax clinics, the Employment/Training Program and the Eye Care Assistance Program.


HEAP Program Re-Launched

Lifeline re-acquires the HEAP Program Administration.


Lifeline Begins Administrating 211

July: Lifeline becomes administrator of the 211 Lake County Program, begins receiving funding from the Lake County ADAMHS Board, Job & Family Services Title XX and Lake County & Mentor CDBG Programs.


Transitional Housing Program Launched

Lifeline launches new Transitional Housing Program in partnership with the Lake County Planning and Community Developemnt Office.


Lifeline Helps Homeless Transition To Stable Housing

Lifeline becomes the Lake County grantee for the Ohio Development Service Agency’s Homes Crisis Response Program, with allocation of over $150,000 to help homeless residents transition into stable rental housing.


Lifeline Endowment Against Poverty Launched

Lifeline Board, recognizing the need for long-term sustainable funding, launches the Lifeline Endowment Against Poverty in partnership with the Cleveland Foundation.


New Mission

Lifeline Board adopts new mission statement “Lifeline leads the community in the fight against poverty by offering programs and opportunities to empower our residents to achieve self-sufficiency.”


Asset Building Education

Lifeline forms a partnership with the Ohio Community Development Corporation and launches a new asset building education program, Individual Development Accounts – or IDAs – to help low-income residents learn to save towards the purchase of an asset like a home, an education or a new business.


Volunteer Guardian Program

Lifeline is tapped to partner with the Lake County Probate Court to launch a collaborative Lake County Volunteer Guardian Program to ensure the health and well-being of Lake County’s most vulnerable residents.


Lifeline Serves Geauga County

Lifeline is designated by ODSA as the interim Community Action Agency to serve Geauga County and opens an office in Newbury to begin providing services to Geauga residents.



In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lifeline forms new partnerships and develops new ways to meet the needs of Lake & Geauga residents including PPE distribution, WIFI expansion, senior food delivery and distribution of millions of dollars in state and federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for housing and utility assistance.



Lifeline focused on developing new programming to meet the needs of Lake County’s senior citizen population, launching Helping Hands for Seniors and Are You OK? in 2023 and the Senior Housing Navigator Program and Senior Digital Inclusion Program in 2024.


Living The Lifeline Mission

Lifeline has an annual budget of approximately $2 million in expenditures, as well as 20+ employees and 20 programs.

  • 30+ employees and dozens of programs
  • The 2021-22 HEAP Winter Crisis Program served 557 Lake County households.
  • The 2021 HEAP Summer Crisis Program served 364 Lake County households.
  • 2-1-1 Lake County answered over 25,967 incoming requests for information and referral services in 2021.
  • The Lake & Geauga Community Services Office and the Lake County HEAP Office combined to serve 5,701 unduplicated households with health, housing, education & training, energy assistance and transportation services in 2021.