Less than three years after it was established, Bath Community Fund of Akron Community Foundation announced its first grants on Friday, Nov. 18. Grants totaling $14,500 were awarded to five qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving Bath Township.
The fund, which was created in 2014 by a group of committed Bath residents, is a permanent endowment dedicated to strengthening the Bath community for current and future generations by providing leadership, fostering collaboration and creating a legacy of charitable giving.
A $5,000 grant to Crown Point Ecology Center this year will support the construction of a natural “cob oven” made with mud, sand, water and straw. This environmentally friendly oven can be used to bake pizza and bread, and it will be available for community use during weddings, graduation parties and other events held at Crown Point.
“Building with cob is both a historic and an environmentally sustainable practice,” said Monica Bongue, Crown Point’s executive director. “Once it’s built, the cob oven will serve as an invitation to the Bath community to learn more about this sustainable building technique, to experience the ancient practice of cooking in a cob oven, and to experience the lovely natural surroundings of Crown Point.”
Another grant awarded by the fund will improve the facilities at the historic Western Reserve Playhouse by upgrading its aging air conditioning system. Playhouse officials said the existing unit was on the verge of burning out, and the extra ceiling and pedestal fans made it difficult for hearing-impaired guests to enjoy performances. The uncomfortable heat also limited the attendance of senior citizens.
“Seasonal temperatures this year caused many of our patrons to excuse themselves from performances because the air conditioning could not handle large audiences in combination with very high temperatures and humidity,” said Jack Steele, treasurer of the Western Reserve Playhouse. “Funding for this project will help preserve the playhouse and its long-standing history in the community.”
Preserving Bath’s historical and environmental legacy lies at the heart of Bath Community Fund’s mission, making this project a natural fit for the fund’s first round of grants, said Mary Anne Krejci, chair of BCF’s Grant Committee.
“With its legacy of creativity, educational experiences and live entertainment, Western Reserve Playhouse is a true community treasure,” she said. “It’s part of the history and culture of the Bath community and is certainly deserving of grant funding to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of its patrons.”
Other grants this year will help construct an additional restroom at the Regal Beagle – only the second such facility in the 411-acre Bath Nature Preserve – and support horse shows for children with special needs, among other projects.
The following is a full list of grants awarded in 2016:
Bath Township, to support the second phase of the Heritage Corridors of Bath Wayside Exhibit, which will complete the trail that leads visitors around the picturesque property and add landscaping with native flowers and wildflower beds, $500
Bath Township Community Development Corporation Inc., for the construction of an additional restroom near the Regal Beagle at the Bath Nature Preserve, $5,000
Crown Point Ecology Center, to build an environmentally friendly cob oven out of mud, sand, water and straw that will be used for workshops and events, $5,000
Victory Gallop Inc., to support the 2017 horse shows, where children with special needs and life-threatening illnesses can demonstrate their riding skills, receive recognition for their accomplishments, and practice good sportsmanship, $1,000
Western Reserve Playhouse, to upgrade the historic facility’s air conditioning system and provide a comfortable atmosphere for patrons, $3,000
About Bath Community Fund
Established in 2014 by a group of committed Bath residents, Bath Community Fund is a permanent endowment dedicated to strengthening the Bath community for current and future generations by providing leadership, fostering collaboration and creating a legacy of charitable giving. The fund is committed to responding to community needs, helping the less fortunate, supporting local nonprofits, and reinforcing and preserving Bath’s historical and environmental legacy. Since its inception, the fund has grown to nearly $320,000 while reinvesting $14,500 into the Bath community. The fund is currently embarking on the “For Bath, Forever” endowment campaign to raise $2.018 million by Bath’s bicentennial in 2018. For more information, contact Jody Miller Konstand, advisory board chair, at 330-618-4477 or [email protected].
About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 61 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, 2016, it is a philanthropic endowment of more than $190 million with a growing family of 550 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 $135 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.