— Yesterday, Akron Community Foundation officials announced record assets and grant distributions and invited thousands of residents to a mealtime discussion.
Treasurer Rick Fedorovich revealed the community foundation’s most favorable financials to date: a record $201.7 million in assets and $11.4 million in grants and distributions for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.
Akron Chief of Staff James Hardy joined Akron Community Foundation’s Community Investment Committee chair, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro, to announce On the Table Greater Akron, a national initiative supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that will take place Tuesday, Oct. 3, across Summit and Medina counties. The goal is to engage people in the places they live, work and play in meaningful discussions about community issues that impact them. People are encouraged to host conversations at home, work, school and cafes, inviting colleagues and friends to participate in small-group discussions.
“It connects the fabric of our community,” said Shapiro. “There are 31 different entities in Summit County and for the opportunity for people from across that footprint to come together and talk about common issues, common opportunities and perhaps some common outcomes that they’d like to see is really an exciting opportunity I’d hate for anybody to miss.”
According to John Garofalo, the community foundation’s vice president of community investment, the topics that emerge in On the Table conversations will be gathered, and a report will be issued highlighting themes and outcomes. He said the data will inform the community foundation’s proactive grantmaking going forward.
“It is our hope that on that one day, over a meal, we bring together thousands and thousands of individuals to share with us their ideas of how we can make Akron a better place to live, work and play,” said Garofalo. “We will collect the data as to what some of the conversations were, what some of the issues were that are facing our community, and our community foundation hopes to use that data in order to become more proactive in our grantmaking.”
Most On the Table conversations will be small, Garofalo explained, but a number of “super hosts” will hold 15 or more conversations in the community, including the City of Akron, Summit County, the University of Akron, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, Direction Home Akron Canton, Akron Art Museum, Akron Public Schools, Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, Summit Education Initiative, ConxusNEO, Goodwill, The Well Akron, YMCA, and Zion Faith Fellowship.
Akron Community Foundation was one of only 10 community foundations across the country that was awarded funding from Knight Foundation to implement the program. In addition to Knight Foundation, local sponsors include Huntington National Bank, Fifth Third Bank, KeyBank, PNC Bank and S&T Bank. The Chicago Community Trust launched On the Table four years ago and convened 25,000 people across the metro area. This year, more than 100,000 individuals participated in their discussions.
“On the Table aims to create deeper connections between residents and help build a community of problem-solvers who are committed to the future success of Akron. At the same time it allows us to share lessons and learn from a national network of cities, working to expand opportunities and advance growth,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Knight Foundation program director for Akron.
To host or participate in a discussion locally, visit www.onthetableakron.com.
Also during the annual meeting, Robert Cooper, Governance Committee chair, introduced the community foundation’s board of directors slate of incoming officers: Steve Strayer, Bath resident and senior vice president of PNC Bank’s Institutional Asset Management Group, chair; Ilene Shapiro, Fairlawn resident and Summit County Executive, vice chair and community investment chair; Rick Fedorovich, Hudson resident and CEO and managing partner at Bober Markey Fedorovich, treasurer and finance chair; Robert Cooper, Bath resident and director of CBRE, secretary; Mark Krohn, Fairlawn resident and owner of The Law Office of Mark E. Krohn, Esq., community relations chair; and Steven Cox, West Akron resident and partner at Roetzel & Andress LPA, immediate past chair.
Cooper also welcomed five new individuals to the board of directors: Kimberly Haws Falasco, Wadsworth resident and director at Baird Private Wealth Management; Jody Miller Konstand, Bath resident and owner of JMK Media; Doug Kuczynski, North Royalton resident and regional vice president of Medical Mutual of Ohio; Jim Pickard, Silver Lake resident and president of Pickard Commercial Group; and Derrick Ransom, Fairlawn resident and vice president at Huntington National Bank.
Cooper thanked six outgoing board members for their service, including: Fred Bidwell, who completed two years of service; Dee Lowery, who completed three years of service; Marilyn Buckey, Ed Eliopoulos and Tom Knoll, who all completed nine years of service; and Mark Allio, who completed 10 years of service.
On the Table Greater Akron is a first-of-its-kind initiative that will bring together thousands of diverse residents from all walks of life to share a meal and discuss meaningful ideas to strengthen our community on Oct. 3, 2017. It’s an opportunity to shape our region into a strong, vibrant, safe and dynamic place to live and work. For more information, visit www.onthetableakron.com.
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 March 31, 2017, it is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $202 million with a growing family of 560 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 $139 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.