Grants boost local economic development, civic engagement initiatives
Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors recently approved grants and distributions totaling more than $2.8 million, including $2,345,264 in grants from 124 designated, donor-advised, agency endowment and scholarship funds, and $474,000 in competitive civic affairs grants chosen by the organization’s Community Investment Committee.
A number of the civic affairs grants are going to organizations that will focus on preserving local history, such as a grant to support Summit Metro Parks Foundation’s Cultural Resources Program. The program helps residents explore park history and archaeology through curated oral histories and exhibits.
Cascade Locks Park Association will also receive a grant to protect and promote the industrial, commercial and cultural heritage of Cascade Locks Park. Visitors to the park and its Mustill Store Museum can explore Akron’s industrial history through interpretive displays and exhibits depicting the city’s canal era.
“This is arguably the most important industrial corridor of early Akron,” said Don Gordon Jr., executive director of the Cascade Locks Park Association. “To teach people and inform people about early Akron, the people who were here, the people who made Akron before rubber made Akron, I think it’s key to understand your community: where it’s been, where it’s going.”
The $10,000 grant to Cascade Locks Park Association came from an anonymous donor-advised fund as part of the community foundation’s grant co-investment program. The program enables fundholders to review the board’s competitive grant applications and support initiatives that align with their charitable interests. In total, an additional $35,500 in grants came from the Friebert Family Fund and an anonymous fund.
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: Arthur Kelly Fund; Betty R. Axline Fund; V.E. (Tom) Atkins Fund; Board of Directors Annual Giving Fund; Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Fund; Gala Fund; Lucille Scott Harris Fund; John S. Knight Fund; William C. Krisher Fund; W. Bishop & Elizabeth C. McIntosh Fund; Polsky Fund; Helen S. Robertson Fund; James G. Robertson Fund; Roush Memorial Fund; Shaw Foundation Fund; Richard W. & Charlotte E. Staiger Fund; George Stevens Fund; Jean P. Stevens Fund; Ronald L. Stiles Fund; Dr. Kenneth F. Swanson Fund for the Arts; Emma Vioran Fund; William Wallace Fund; Orpha and Howard Wellock, Parents of Cheryl Wellock Fund; William C. and Betty J. Zekan Fund; Muriel A. Zodrow Fund and the Community Fund.
Their grants will support the following 36 civic affairs programs:
Akron Community Service Center and Urban League, to support education, employment and entrepreneurship programs, including job placement and work readiness training, $20,000
Akron Development Corporation, to support a citywide economic development strategic plan, $25,000
Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs, to provide financial assistance for children and adults with disabilities so they can attend overnight, day and respite camps, $12,500
Akron SCORE, to support mentoring programs and workshops for small-business owners, $7,500
Akron-Summit County Public Library, to purchase furniture and technology for a new “tween space” for youth ages 9 to 12 at the Main Library, $5,000
Akron Zoo, to support animal education programs in local classrooms, including up-close encounters with live animals, $5,000
Big Love Network, for the Akron City Repair Project, which empowers local residents to create public spaces that foster civic engagement and a shared neighborhood identity, $5,000
BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence, to support consulting services designed to strengthen Summit County nonprofits, including training on board development and succession planning, $5,000
CASA Board Volunteer Association, to train volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in court, $15,000
Cascade Locks Park Association, to support the preservation of Akron’s canal heritage and industrial history at Cascade Locks Park and the Mustill Store Museum, $10,000
City of Akron, for the 2018 Neighborhood Partnership Program, which helps citizens revitalize and reinvent their communities, $85,000
Cleveland International Film Festival, to support film screenings in downtown Akron at the Main Library, Akron Art Museum and the Nightlight Cinema during the annual film festival, $5,500
Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, for general operating support and the capital campaign to build the new Central Visitor Center, which will serve both Akron and Cleveland, $40,000
ConxusNEO, to help meet the demand for skilled workers within targeted industries by aligning workforce education programs throughout the county, $20,000
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, to support the operations and maintenance of vintage railroad equipment, and to restore the restroom sinks in five passenger cars, $20,000
Development Fund of the Western Reserve, to support a community loan fund that improves distressed neighborhoods in the City of Akron by offering tax credits and flexible loan terms to businesses within these communities, $10,000
Downtown Akron Partnership, to support downtown planning efforts, including business attraction and economic development initiatives, $15,000
Dr. Bob’s Home, to support the upkeep of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Dr. Bob’s home and to preserve archives within the house, $5,000
First Tee of Akron, for an educational, golf-based youth development program for kids ages 6 to 18 that teaches life skills alongside the game of golf, $5,000
The Foundation Center Cleveland, to help Summit County nonprofits secure funding and increase their sustainability through educational programs and services, $2,500
Fund for Our Economic Future, for operating support to transform the economy in Northeast Ohio by fostering a broad entrepreneurial culture and advancing job creation and preparation, $33,000
Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, to support neighborhood revitalization initiatives, including exterior home repair programs, zero interest mortgages, and the deconstruction of abandoned homes, $10,000
Humane Society of Summit County, for animal intake care, vaccinations, testing and microchipping of Summit County’s rescued cats and dogs, $15,000
International Institute of Akron, to support the Welcoming Akron/Summit County initiative, which will create a one-stop international welcome center to help immigrants and refugees integrate into the community, $15,000
International Soap Box Derby, for operating support for Soap Box Derby races and educational STEM-based programs like the Gravity Racing Challenge, $15,000
Keep Akron Beautiful, to support the urban beautification program, which adds vibrancy to the City of Akron through professionally designed flowerscapes in public spaces, $10,000
Leadership Akron, for the annual orientation retreat for Class 35, in which members participate in team-building exercises and meet community leaders, $12,500
League of Women Voters of the Akron Area Education Fund, to train government officials, women leaders, and college students to facilitate dialogues about important issues in their community and develop collaborative action plans, $5,000
NeoStem Ecosystem, to support Rolling Together, an Akron Public Schools program in which students use STEM skills to build and race driverless Soap Box Derby cars for college credit, $7,500
PechaKucha Akron, to support a quarterly speaking series that highlights diverse community perspectives on important civic issues, $2,500
Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio, for safety modifications and home repairs to help low-income, elderly, disabled and veteran homeowners remain in their homes, $15,000
Summit Food Coalition, to improve healthful food access for Summit County residents and provide resources for emerging farm and food businesses, $25,000
Summit Metro Parks Foundation, to support the Cultural Resources Program, which helps residents explore park history and archaeology through curated oral histories and exhibits, $5,000
Truly Reaching You Ministries, to support employment training programs for men who are re-entering the community after an extended period of incarceration, $7,500
The Well Community Development Corporation, to revitalize Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood through community-building programs and events, $10,000
Women’s Network Inc., to support professional development programs for women, and to raise awareness about the gender gap in senior leadership positions in Summit County, $3,500
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 June 30, 2017, it is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $206 million with a growing family of more than 570 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 $143 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.