Competitive grants meet pressing health and human services needs
Akron Community Foundation has announced $3.3 million in grants to support programs that enhance the quality of life of area residents. Nearly $500,000 of those grants will benefit local health and human services organizations, including those focused on addiction recovery and prevention, homelessness, and Summit County’s growing senior population. In total, the community foundation’s board of directors approved grants totaling $499,510 for health and human services programs chosen by the organization’s Community Investment Committee, and an additional $2,804,548 in grants recommended by designated, donor-advised, agency endowment, field-of-interest and scholarship funds at the foundation.
Several of the competitive health and human services grants will support programs for area youth, including a $17,500 grant for Safety Around Water, a water safety program for children ages 6 to 12 offered by the Akron Area YMCA. Drowning is the second-leading cause of injury deaths among children ages 1-14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, many children in Summit County do not have the financial resources or transportation needed to learn these life-saving skills.
With the help of this grant, the Akron Area YMCA will expand its four-week water safety course to include up to 500 high-risk students from Akron Public Schools. In addition to free transportation, children in the program will receive new swimsuits, goggles and towels. The initiative is a partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron Public Schools, the Akron Urban League and the City of Akron.
“The Safety Around Water lessons are different than swimming lessons because our emphasis is going to be on safety. Every skill that they are learning in this program is going to help them if something bad were to happen to them in the future,” said Leah Ferencak, the aquatics director at Lake Anna YMCA.
Other organizations receiving funding for children’s programs include Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio, a running-based program that helps girls in high-poverty neighborhoods build confidence and self-esteem, and RAHAB Ministries, which provides mentoring for juvenile victims of human trafficking. Additional health and human services grants will fund critical legal services for Akron’s refugee community and support programs that assist the homeless population.
Donor-advised fundholders at Akron Community Foundation, including the Alice J. Caniglia Fund, the Glenn and Karen Leppo Family Fund, and an anonymous fund, recommended an additional $77,500 in grants for health and human services programs through the community foundation’s grant co-investment program. The program enables fundholders to review the board’s competitive grant applications and, if they choose, to fund grants that align with their charitable interests.
Their funding joins that of 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, Dick and Chris Chenoweth Fund, Decker Endowment Fund for Families, Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Fund, John L. Feudner Jr. Fund, H.A. Flannery Family and James R. Flannery Family Fund, Gala Fund, Arthur Kelly Fund, William C. Krisher Fund, W. Bishop & Elizabeth C. McIntosh Fund, Polsky Fund, Helen S. Robertson Fund, James G. Robertson Fund, Roush Memorial Fund, Sanatorium Contingent Fund, George Stevens Fund, Ronald L. Stiles Fund, William Wallace Fund, L. Frank & Angela M. Wilson Fund, William C. and Betty J. Zekan Fund, Muriel A. Zodrow Fund and the Community Fund.
Their grants will support the following 45 health and human services programs:
ACCESS, to provide services to women facing homelessness, including short-term secure housing, case management, health counseling and job readiness training, $25,000
Akron Area YMCA, to teach water safety and swimming skills through the Safety Around Water/Make a Splash program to Akron Public Schools students who lack the resources and financial means to take lessons, $17,500
Akron Blind Center, for general operating support of collaborative programs serving the blind and low-vision populations, $7,500
Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, to support the Direct Distribution program, which distributes food directly to agency sites, as well as the Feeding Kids Initiative, a program that supplies after-school snacks for children in Summit County, $50,000
Akron Children’s Hospital, to support the Nurturing Parenting Program for Nepali refugees, which helps parents increase their positive self-worth and mental health, $7,500
American Red Cross of Summit & Portage Counties, to support disaster cycle services in Summit County, including preparedness classes, disaster response and recovery assistance, $15,500
Autism Society of Greater Akron, to support increased inclusion and understanding of people with developmental disabilities through Stop-Assess-Support, a training program for first responders and medical professionals, $5,000
AxessPointe Community Health Center, for the launch of a specialty pharmacy that will dispense medications and provide patient support for chronic illnesses and other health conditions for patients who are uninsured or underinsured, $10,000
Battered Women’s Shelter, to support crisis intervention services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, $30,500
Bridges Summit County, to support the launch of the redesigned Bridges curriculum, which helps people understand the dynamics of poverty and break down existing barriers through community and corporate workshops, $15,000
Broken Chains Jail & Prison Ministry, to support mentoring and workforce development programs for former offenders in Summit County to help eliminate barriers that lead to recidivism, $5,000
Catholic Charities Community Services of Summit County, to support the 2018 Emergency Assistance Program, which offers rent and utility assistance to residents in need, $15,000
Christ Child Society of Akron, to provide school-appropriate clothing to low-income students, $10,500
Community Legal Aid Services, to provide critical legal services for Akron’s refugee population, including obstacles related to health, housing, education and basic needs, $20,000
Community Pregnancy Center, to support the Strong Start Program, which provides cribs, car seats and formula, along with one-on-one mentoring and group classes, to families in need, $3,000
Community Support Services, to improve the physical health of people diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness through holistic health care services, $5,000
Embracing Futures, to provide orthodontic treatment for children in need who have been turned down by Medicaid, $5,300
Family & Community Services Inc., for the Mobile Meals program, which encourages independent living by providing home-delivered meals and supplements to low-income children, elderly and disabled residents in Summit County, $25,000
Freedom House for Women, to decrease addiction and homelessness in Summit County women by providing substance abuse treatment, recovery housing and support services, $8,000
Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio, to support a physical activity-based youth development program that promotes confidence and healthy choices for girls in high-poverty neighborhoods of Summit County, $8,500
Goodwill Industries of Akron, to provide bus passes to area social service agencies to help eliminate transportation barriers for their clients, $10,000
H.M. Life Opportunity Services, to provide educational, social and developmental services for children transitioning from homelessness, $5,000
Homeless Charity, to support recovering opiate users who are experiencing homelessness through Second Chance Village, a tent community and support center, $5,000
IBH Addiction Recovery Center, to track the post-treatment success of clients who have completed the residential substance abuse treatment program by following up at 30 and 90 days post-discharge, $10,000
Info Line, for the 2-1-1 information and referral line that helps residents navigate the available health and social services in Summit County through an up-to-date database of providers, $20,000
Jewish Family Service of Akron Ohio, to provide counseling, care management, outreach and education to low-income seniors who live in subsidized apartment buildings throughout Summit County, $7,500
L.I.N.K.S. Community and Family Services, for the Senior Connection Program, which helps local seniors maintain their independence through social events, education programs, home visits and home repairs, $10,000
Mature Services, to provide in-home services, including personal care, cleaning, grocery shopping and errands, for low-income seniors who have health challenges or lack family and community support, $17,500
NAMI Summit County, to provide basic household items to residents with serious mental illness who are transitioning from homelessness, group home living or incarceration, $5,000
OPEN M, to support a comprehensive free medical clinic and pharmacy for the community’s working poor and uninsured, $20,000
Pastoral Counseling Service, to support the Generation Rx drug education program at Akron Public Schools, which educates students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse, $3,000
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to provide low-income women at the Akron Health Center with long-acting reversible contraception, $20,000
Portage Path Community Mental Health Center, to provide coordinated treatments for people with both a primary mental illness and a co-occurring substance use disorder, $10,000
Prevent Blindness Ohio, to reduce the incidence of unnecessary vision loss through early identification and to provide donated eye care to medically disadvantaged children and adults in Summit County, $7,500
RAHAB Ministries, to support a mentoring program for juvenile victims of human trafficking through a partnership with Summit County Juvenile Courts, $20,000
Ronald McDonald House Akron, to support the Ronald McDonald House facility in Akron, a home away from home for families with children receiving care at Akron Children’s Hospital, $10,000
Shelter Care, to replace the alarm system and a sliding door at the Safe Landing Youth Shelter for girls in crisis, $2,710
South Street Ministries, to support community health focus groups in Summit Lake and South Akron that will address issues such as obesity, chronic disease, preventative health and substance abuse, $15,000
Stewart’s Caring Place, to offer support groups and educational programs for residents affected by cancer, $10,000
Summit County Community Partnership, to support a drug abuse prevention program in Summit County that reduces access to unused and expired opiates by providing drug deactivation pouches that safely neutralize prescription medicines, $10,000
Summit County Fatherhood Initiative, to provide education, legal assistance, mentoring and other support services for fathers in Summit County who have previously been incarcerated or estranged from their children, $20,000
Twinsburg Seniors, to provide emergency Lifeline units to seniors to help them remain independent in their homes, $5,000
United Disability Services, to provide employment services, including skills assessments and interview training, for Summit County residents with severe disabilities, $15,000
Victim Assistance Program, to provide 24-hour support and advocacy for victims of crime and sudden trauma, $25,000
Victory Gallop, to support a therapeutic horseback riding program for children with behavioral challenges and life-threatening illnesses, $5,000
Celebrating 62 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. As of Sept. 30, 2017, it is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $215 million with a growing family of more than 580 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation and its funds welcome 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 $146 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 visit www.akroncf.org.