Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors recently approved grants totaling $2,698,052, including $2,239,052 in grants from 132 designated, donor-advised, agency endowment and scholarship funds, and $459,000 in competitive civic affairs grants chosen by the organization’s Community Investment Committee.
More than $60,000 will fund economic development and employment initiatives in the Greater Akron area. A $10,000 grant to Summit Workforce Solutions will fund the pilot of a skills-based hiring program called TalentNEO, addressing a need that emerged in Akron Community Foundation’s most recent community report.
During the first year of the program, a group of early adopter companies will agree to supplement their hiring process, which often requires applicants to have a degree, with one that also recognizes applicants’ workplace skills as a legitimate credential in place of a degree. According to Sue Lacy, president of Summit Workforce Solutions, the approach aims to uncover hidden talent in the community and expand the talent pool for participating companies.
“When this program was implemented by Innovate+Educate, a New Mexico nonprofit that developed the initiative to promote competency-based hiring, participating companies experienced savings in hiring and training costs, and a reduction in turnover,” she said. “Together with our community partners who are prepared to host assessment sites for jobseekers and a network of early adopter companies that continues to grow, Summit County is well-positioned to leverage the success of skills-based hiring efforts in other parts of the country.”
TalentNEO will also collaborate with local programs to assess job seekers’ skills and apply skills to local job postings.
An additional $41,000 in civic affairs grants was recommended by the Howard Atwood Family Fund, the Robert A. and Jean C. Meyers Family Fund, and an anonymous fund through the community foundation’s grant co-investment program. 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: Betty R. Axline Fund, Board of Directors Annual Giving Fund, Community Fund, Decker Endowment Fund for Families, Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Fund, Lucille Scott Harris Fund, W. Bishop & Elizabeth C. McIntosh Fund, Polsky Fund, Helen S. Robertson Fund, James G. Robertson Fund, Roush Memorial Fund, Shaw Foundation Fund, George Stevens Fund, Ronald L. Stiles Fund, Georgia Urda Fund and the William Wallace Fund.
Together, their grants will support these 32 civic affairs programs:
Akron Community Service Center & Urban League, for operating support to sustain the agency’s programs and services to minorities in Summit County, $12,500
Akron Digital Media Center, to give local citizens access to free journalism workshops, equipment, and computer labs for sharing local news and information, $25,000
Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs Inc., to help children and adults with disabilities attend summer camps and respite weekend camps, $17,500
Akron SCORE, to support counseling and workshops for small-business owners, $7,500
Akron Zoological Park, for the ZooMobile, a science-based education program for first- and fifth-graders in Akron Public Schools, $6,000
BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence, to provide subsidized capacity-building consultation services for nonprofits in Summit County, $5,000
CASA Board Volunteer Association, to train and support community volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in court, $13,500
City of Akron, for the 2015 Neighborhood Partnership program, which helps residents revitalize and celebrate their community through beautification efforts, festivals, safety programs and more, $85,000
Cleveland International Film Festival, to bring the 2015 Film Festival to Akron with screenings at the Akron Art Museum, Akron-Summit County Public Library, and the Nightlight Cinema, $5,000
Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, for general operating support, and for the capital campaign to build a full-service, centrally located visitor center in the park, $41,500
Crown Point Ecology Center, for general operating support, including sustainable land use initiatives, hunger abatement, and youth and adult education programs, $10,000
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, for general operating support, and for fleet appearance enhancements for aging locomotives and passenger cars, $15,000
Downtown Akron Partnership, for general operating support to beautify, recruit and retain business, and to support activities and events in downtown Akron, $10,000
Dr. Bob’s Home, for renovation and restoration projects at the National Historic Landmark home of Dr. Robert Smith, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, $7,500
East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation, to protect the home, health and safety of low-income homeowners and homeowners with disabilities through one-time emergency home repairs, $15,000
The Foundation Center Cleveland, to encourage philanthropy and connect nonprofits to the resources they need to be effective, $2,500
Friends of Historic Glendale Cemetery, to restore the bell tower, which was built in 1883 to complement the Civil War Memorial Chapel in Glendale Cemetery and is on the National Register of Historic Places, $25,000
Fund for our Economic Future, to continue Phase 4 of strengthening Northeast Ohio’s economic competitiveness, $34,000
Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, for neighborhood revitalization initiatives, including home construction and deconstruction, homeowner education, and home repair for low-income families, $10,000
Humane Society of Greater Akron, to upgrade and repair kennels for abused, abandoned and neglected animals, $10,000
International Soap Box Derby, for the STEM Education Program, which uses hands-on activities like the Gravity Racing Challenge to engage young people in science, technology, engineering and math, $30,000
Keep Akron Beautiful, for the 2015-16 urban beautification program, which adds professionally designed flowerscapes to public flower beds, medians and downtown planters, $10,000
Leadership Akron, for the annual orientation retreat for Class 33, which introduces class members to top community leaders, $12,500
Neighborhood Network of University Park, for the monthly Coffee with C.O.P.S. program, which fosters community-driven problem solving through conversations between residents and law enforcement officers, and for the Artistic Board Up program, which turns vacant properties into artistic neighborhood assets, $7,500
Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, to support the iTowpath Trail and Community Connectivity Project, which improves navigation and provides safe connections to area attractions and neighborhoods, $10,000
Oriana House, to support the Summit County Reentry Network, which reduces recidivism and assists with family reunification, $20,000
Partnership for the Minority Business Accelerator, to provide intensive mentoring and training to minority business owners, $10,000
Project Ujima, to facilitate community meetings where Buchtel cluster residents and stakeholders can address shared concerns and develop action plans, $5,000
Rebuilding Together Greater Cuyahoga Valley, for safety modifications and home repairs for low-income, elderly and veteran homeowners, as well as those with disabilities, $15,000
Summit Workforce Solutions, for year one of TalentNEO, a pilot skills-based hiring program that aims to increase career opportunities for job seekers and grow the pool of qualified candidates for local companies, $10,000
Western Reserve Land Conservancy, to create and install a public art project along Haley’s Run Trail in celebration of its five-year anniversary, $5,000
Women’s Network, for professional development programs to train women in leadership and career development, emotional intelligence, and entrepreneurship, $7,500
About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 60 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 nearly $191 million with a growing family of nearly 500 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 $127 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.