On Oct. 3, Summit and Medina county residents are invited to gather over mealtime conversations for On the Table Greater Akron. For the second year, this community-wide initiative spearheaded by Akron Community Foundation will encourage residents to engage in discussions about their community, its most pressing issues and solutions to address them.
Public conversations are available in locations throughout the county and listed, with RSVP requirements, at www.onthetableakron.com/findaconvo. Anyone who lives or works in Summit and Medina counties is invited to attend. Additional public conversations will be added to the page in the coming weeks.
“On the Table is an opportunity for everyone in the community to have their voice heard,” said John Garofalo, vice president of community investment at Akron Community Foundation. “We want to ensure all residents have the opportunity to participate, even if they don’t know someone hosting a conversation or are not comfortable hosting themselves. We’re excited that this will also give attendees the opportunity to meet and interact with people from different backgrounds and neighborhoods.”
For those who would like to host their own conversation with eight to 12 of their friends, family members, neighbors or colleagues, Akron Community Foundation is still accepting host registrations. More information about hosting a conversation is available at www.onthetableakron.com/hostinfo.
Last year, approximately 6,000 people participated in On the Table conversations, with more than 3,500 completing the survey distributed after the event. While the structure of the event will be similar this year, there are a few changes based on survey data and input from last year:
- Conversations will focus on one or more of the top five issues survey respondents from the 2017 event indicated as the most pressing needs in the community. Those five issues are: Economic Issues & Poverty; Equity & Social Inclusion; Drugs & Addiction; Education & Youth Development; and Public Safety & Judicial System.
- Youth will be invited to participate in a brief survey, with parental permission, so the foundation can hear from the community’s youngest residents.
- The date this year is flexible for those who are unable to participate on Oct. 3. Hosts are asked to facilitate their conversations within a week of the event date so their guests may participate in the survey before the deadline.
- Lastly, Akron Community Foundation will offer at least $50,000 in grants for actionable ideas that emerge from the conversations. The On the Table Community Impact Awards will provide grants of up to $2,000 to qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or those who receive fiscal sponsorship from a qualified nonprofit. More details about the On the Table Community Impact Awards is available at www.onthetableakron.com/grants.
Akron was selected as one of 10 cities across the U.S. to host On the Table with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Also sponsoring this year’s event is Huntington Bank.
To learn more about Akron’s On the Table initiative and to get involved, contact John Garofalo, vice president of community investment at Akron Community Foundation, at (330) 436-5624 or [email protected].