On Friday, Feb. 20, the Vernon L. Odom Fund of Akron Community Foundation awarded $13,000 in grants to programs that promote diversity and enrich the quality of life within local minority communities.
More than half of the grants will support programs for minority youth, including a $1,000 grant to Crown Point Ecology Center for the 2015 Summer Farm & Science Camp. The weeklong camp offers area children a unique, hands-on learning experience on a 115-acre farm and nature preserve. While there, kids have the opportunity to grow produce in an organic garden, collect chicken eggs, take a peek inside the beehive, and discover living creatures in the pond.
Thanks to this year’s grant from the Vernon L. Odom Fund, 75 low-income, minority youth from Summit County will have the chance to experience the camp, including children from Proyecto Raices, a bilingual program of Akron’s St. Bernard Parish that provides cultural enrichment for area Latino children. For many of these children, it will be their first time on a farm, said Nancy Wolf, Crown Point’s executive director.
“Many children today do not have easy access to green space and spend increasingly more time (in front of) a screen,” Wolf said. “Our camp offers an antidote to these trends.”
Other grants this year will provide diversity training for people who serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; support a math and reading tutoring program for minority students; and help African-American fathers develop closer relationships with their children.
The following is a full list of Vernon L. Odom Fund grants:
Akron Inner City Soccer Club, for a year-round, after-school soccer program for inner-city youth, $1,000
Akron International Friendship, for the Know Your Community – Know Your World program, in which diverse speakers teach students about the importance of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, $1,000
Battered Women’s Shelter, for diversity training seminars that will help staff at the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center better serve clients of all ethnic backgrounds, $1,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, for after-school and summer programming for at-risk youth at the Odom Boulevard Branch Library in Akron, $1,000
Child Guidance & Family Solutions, for a parenting education program for Spanish-speaking parents of children with serious behavioral issues, $1,000
Crown Point Ecology Center, to introduce low-income, minority youth to organic farming and gardening through the 2015 Summer Farm & Science Camp, $1,000
Fathers and Sons of Northeast Ohio, for the Developing into Dad Show, a live video series that focuses on challenges faced by African-American fathers, including child support, custody and visitation, $1,000
Greater Akron Musical Association, to help low-income, minority students attend the Gospel Meets Symphony concert, $1,000
Law and Leadership Institute, for a college preparatory program in Akron and Barberton that helps at-risk and minority youth graduate from high school, get accepted into college, and choose a professional career path, $1,000
Rape Crisis Center, to promote ethnic and racial harmony within the agency by recruiting additional minority volunteers, $1,000
St. Hilary Church, for an after-school tutoring program for students at Helen Arnold Community Learning Center, $1,000
Urban Vision, for an incentive program that allows youth participants to purchase school supplies and holiday gifts with the “dollars” they’ve earned through good behavior, attendance and grades, $1,000
Williams Challenge, for a fatherhood education and mentoring program that gives at-risk and absent fathers the support they need to develop positive relationships with their children, including help applying for employment and gaining visitation rights, $1,000
About the Vernon L. Odom Fund
The Vernon L. Odom Fund was established in 1993 in honor of the late Vernon L. Odom Sr., respected long-time leader of the Akron Urban League. Since its inception, the fund has grown to more than $235,000 and awarded more than $142,000 in grants to innovative programs that promote ethnic and racial harmony and improve the quality of life within greater Akron’s minority communities. For more information about the Vernon L. Odom Fund or to contribute, visit www.akroncf.org/Odom or call 330-376-8522.
About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 59 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 more than $185 million with a growing family of more than 480 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 nearly $121 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.