— The Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation recently awarded $98,500 to 15 nonprofit organizations that improve life for Summit County’s women and girls. This latest round of grants was ratified by Akron Community Foundation’s board at its recent quarterly meeting, bringing the fund’s cumulative grant-making total to more than $850,000 since its inception in 1993.
Among this year’s funding priorities were health and wellness, safety from violence, and economic empowerment for local women and girls. Several grants supported job readiness programs for women, including a $5,000 grant to Building for Tomorrow for the Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake. The center, which opened in July 2014, helps families in the Summit Lake neighborhood rise above poverty by providing a comprehensive system of education, training, support and resources. Its multi-generational approach equips mothers to secure employment while simultaneously preparing their young children for kindergarten.
“Programs at the Reach Opportunity Center are designed to strengthen the whole family,” said Jackie McDermott, Grants Committee co-chair of the Women’s Endowment Fund. “As a committee, we felt this holistic approach was critical to ensuring the success of both mothers and their children.”
Other grants this year will provide emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, offer financial counseling for women in poverty, and support leadership training programs for female professionals.
The following is a full list of organizations receiving Women’s Endowment Fund grants:
ACCESS Inc., to renovate and repair the agency’s emergency shelter for homeless women and children, $17,500
Akron Children’s Hospital, to reduce the number of sleep-related infant deaths in Summit County by providing portable cribs and safe sleeping educational materials to low-income mothers and caregivers, $2,500
Battered Women’s Shelter, to provide protective shelter, food, clothing and counseling for victims of domestic violence, $8,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve Inc., to provide summer program scholarships for at-risk girls in Summit County, $4,000
Building for Tomorrow, to support the Reach Opportunity Center, which offers education, training, and family support for single mothers and at-risk residents in the Summit Lake neighborhood, $5,000
Greenleaf Family Center, for a school-based support group for teen mothers that offers parenting education and peer support, $7,500
Kent State University Foundation, to train Akron-area nonprofit organizations to implement the Sisters United Now (S.U.N.) program, which teaches African-American girls healthy strategies for coping with stress and anxiety, $5,000
Mustard Seed Development Center, for a financial counseling program that helps Summit County women secure stable housing, improve their credit, and develop a budget, $8,000
OPEN M, to help women in poverty become economically self-sufficient through a financial literacy and job mentoring program, $5,000
Rape Crisis Center, for the Tina Project, which helps prevent teen dating violence by educating middle and high school students about healthy relationships, $6,000
Shelter Care Inc., to teach girls living at the crisis shelter about healthy self-care practices, including personal hygiene, stress management, sexual health and nutrition, $6,000
Stewart’s Caring Place, to provide wigs and beauty services for women with cancer to help improve their self-confidence and mental health, $1,500
Summa Health System, to reduce the rate of African-American infant deaths in West Akron by helping pregnant women in at-risk neighborhoods get the prenatal care and education they need, $10,000
Victim Assistance Program Inc., to provide 24-hour crisis response services for victims of crime and trauma in Summit County, $7,500
Women’s Network Inc., for leadership training and mentoring programs for female professionals, $5,000
The Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation was established in 1993 as a permanent endowment committed to encouraging the advancement of Summit County women and girls. To date, it has grown to nearly $3 million and awarded more than $850,000 in grants.
Contributions of any amount are welcome and can be made online at www.akroncf.org/give/WEF or mailed to Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation, 345 W. Cedar St., Akron, OH 44307. For more information, call (330) 376-8522 or visit www.akroncf.org/WEF.
Celebrating 60 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 Dec. 31, 2015, it is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $184 million with a growing family of more than 520 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 $131 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.