On Friday, Feb. 21, Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors reported a record $181.6 million in assets as of Dec. 31 – an increase of $12.6 million over the same quarter last year. The growth was fueled by more than $5.7 million in gifts received Sept. 1-Dec. 31 and investment returns of 5.8 percent for the same quarter.
Additionally during that quarter, a record 15 new charitable funds were started by individuals, companies and nonprofits throughout Summit County and beyond. With just over a month to go until March 31, the organization is two funds away from setting an all-time record for funds established in a fiscal year, said Akron Community Foundation President and CEO John T. Petures Jr. He attributes the success to donor-centric changes the community foundation has implemented over the past three years.
“Our increased transparency, financial flexibility, and ability to connect people and companies with emerging needs in our community is really resonating,” Petures said. “We’d love nothing more than to celebrate alongside our 41st new fundholder before the year is complete.”
In addition, the board approved $1.93 million in grants, including 323 grants totaling $1,430,923 from 91 designated, donor-advised, agency endowment and scholarship funds and 22 grants totaling $502,000 from discretionary, or board-directed, funds. Nearly half of the discretionary funding went to early care and education programs, bringing total support for such programs to $1,361,500 since the board announced its early learning funding priority in 2008.
A $35,000 grant to Summit Education Initiative will create consistent measurement tools for out-of-school providers in the county. This initiative will help providers better align the outcomes of their participants with the countywide Cradle to Career metrics that area schools already use to measure student success. The grant will also help pay for an out-of-school program facilitator to work with these providers and help develop the metrics.
“This initiative will help funders like us become even more strategic,” said Steven Cox, chairman of the community investment committee. “Summit Education Initiative is the consistent link between all Summit County schools and is the go-to source for measurement data. By extending its expertise to out-of-school programs, funders will have consistent information we can use to compare programs and, ultimately, continue progress toward countywide goals.”
The board-directed education grants were approved from the following field-of-interest and unrestricted funds, which were created by charitable residents to support emerging needs in our community: Board of Directors Annual Giving Fund, Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Fund, Arthur Kelly Fund, John S. Knight Fund, Helen S. Robertson Fund, James G. Robertson Fund, Roush Memorial Fund, Shaw Foundation Fund, Ronald L. Stiles Fund, V.E. (Tom) Atkins Fund and the Community Fund.
The following is a complete list of the discretionary grants:
EARLY LEARNING GRANTS
Asian Services in Action Inc., for the Ready Program, which helps prepare children 0-4 years old, for whom English is a second language, to successfully enter kindergarten, $12,500
Building for Tomorrow, to help parents be their children’s first and most important teacher through home visitation, outreach events, and physical and behavioral health services for families living in AMHA housing communities with children under age 5, $95,000
Child Guidance & Family Solutions Inc., for the Toddlers and Preschoolers Succeeding program, which teaches child care providers how to address children with behavioral issues and promote attachment, initiative and self-control in the classroom, $65,000
Greenleaf Family Center, for the SPARK program, which prepares 3- and 4-year-olds for kindergarten through home visitations that address children’s educational, developmental and social-emotional needs and encourage parents to become their child’s first teacher, $15,000
Project GRAD Akron, for the two-week Bridge to Kindergarten school readiness summer camp, $25,000
Summit County Family & Children First Council, to enhance the First Things First community developmental screening project by incentivizing day cares to recruit parents to complete the Ages & Stages Questionnaires for their children, $20,000
OTHER DISCRETIONARY GRANTS
Akron Inner City Soccer Club, to support year-round soccer programs for inner-city youth, $5,000
Akron International Friendship, for the Know Your Community – Know Your World project, in which diverse speakers teach students about the importance of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, $5,000
Akron Public Schools, to contract with the expertise of the College Now program to supplement and improve existing college readiness programs, creating a stronger infrastructure to support at-risk students entering post-secondary education, $25,000
Arc of Summit & Portage Counties, for People Together, a program in Summit County schools that encourages understanding and acceptance of individuals with developmental disabilities through presentations and simulations that mimic the experience of living with a disability, $10,000
Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron, to encourage students in grades 7-12 to explore higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine through the Austen BioInnovation Academy, $20,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, to support after-school and summer programming that focuses on building good character, physical health and academic success in at-risk youth, $70,000
Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, for Dancing Wheels, a physically integrated dance company, to perform “The Story of You: Understanding Disability” in Akron schools during Disability Awareness Month, $2,500
First Book, to purchase new, age-appropriate books for children from birth to age 18 living in poverty, $7,000
Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, for a high-adventure, physically demanding Challenge Course at Camp Ledgewood that will include ropes courses, ziplines and climbing walls, $15,000
Hattie Larlham Community Services, for vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities to help them secure employment and become financially self-sufficient, $20,000
Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio, for the More than Money program, which teaches third- through fifth-grade students in Akron Public Schools about earning, spending, sharing and saving money, $10,000
Project Learn of Summit County, to recruit and train volunteers for the GED and English as a Second Language classrooms to help improve outcomes on the new and more rigorous GED test, $20,000
Summit Education Initiative, to create consistent measurement tools for out-of-school providers to align their outcomes with the countywide Cradle to Career effort, $35,000
Tri-County Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates, to provide school- and community-based dropout prevention and recovery programs to disadvantaged Summit County youth ages 16-21, $10,000
University of Akron Foundation, for the 2014 BEST Medicine Engineering Fair that encourages students to pursue a career in the biomedical engineering and medical science fields, $5,000
Veggie U, to teach third-graders in Akron Public Schools about healthy lifestyles by providing them with gardening kits, $10,000
About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 58 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. Today, it is a philanthropic endowment of $181 million with a growing family of more than 440 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation welcomes gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets, just to name a few. To date, the community foundation’s funds have awarded more than $111 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, call 330-376-8522 or visitwww.akroncf.org.