Release Date: September 24,2021

Akron Community Foundation Announces Nearly $2.6 Million in Grants

Civic Affairs grants support community engagement, economic development initiatives

Friday, September 24, 2021, Akron, Ohio — Today, Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors approved grants totaling $2,583,653, including $548,000 in competitive civic affairs grants chosen by the foundation’s Community Investment Committee.

This quarter’s civic affairs funding includes a $6,000 grant to Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio to provide Everyone Plays activity kits to Summit County children with disabilities.

Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio is the largest organization in the state working to remove barriers for physically disabled individuals to participate in sport activities. By providing adaptive equipment and structured community-based and interscholastic programs, the nonprofit achieves its mission to make physical activities more attainable for everyone.

"The vision behind our Everyone Plays activity kits is to provide children with disabilities the necessary equipment to actively engage with their peers and avoid social isolation," said Lisa Followay, executive director of Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio. "When we give children with disabilities the chance to play, we’re setting them up for a lifetime of activity; we’re teaching them to advocate for themselves when it comes to recreation and sports programming."

Another grant of $7,500 will support the Summit County Sheriff's Office’s participation in the national Faith & Blue initiative, established in 2020 to generate dialogue and reinforce the connection between law enforcement and the public.

"The Faith & Blue initiative brings together the faith-based community and law enforcement," said Kandy Fatheree, Summit County Sheriff. "Our objective is to start having solid communications to rediscover trust."

Though ongoing work is expected and encouraged, Faith & Blue identifies a specific weekend to improve police and public relations through community events and activities. This year’s National Faith & Blue Weekend will take place Oct. 8-11. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office will participate in this event on Oct. 9 at The University of Akron’s Fieldhouse.

An additional $23,000 in civic affairs funding was contributed through the community foundation’s grant co-investment program, which enables donor-advised fundholders to review the board’s competitive grant applications and support initiatives that align with their charitable interests. Participating in the co-investment program this quarter were the Howard Atwood Family Fund; Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund; Rita and David George Family Fund; and Don and Lynne Gordon, Jr. Fund.

The following organizations will receive civic affairs grants:

  • Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio, to provide Everyone Plays activity kits to Summit County children with disabilities, $6,000
  • Akron Marathon, to support race experiences that engage and motivate runners in the community, $10,000
  • Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs, to provide camp scholarships for children and adults with disabilities to attend overnight, day and respite camps, $11,000
  • Akron SCORE, to provide one-on-one mentoring and workshops to small businesses and startups in the Greater Akron area, $10,000
  • Akron Urban League, to help meet an increasing demand for the organization’s programs and services supporting workforce development, entrepreneurship and education for African Americans, $30,000
  • Big Love Network, for the Akron City Repair Project, which empowers residents to create public spaces that foster civic engagement and a shared neighborhood identity, $7,500
  • Business Training Capital Resource, to support the GodRich Food & Farmers Conservation & Revitalization Project, transforming Akron Public Schools’ former Goodrich middle school into an urban farm and food-service career training site, $2,500
  • Business Volunteers Unlimited, to support consulting services designed to strengthen Summit County nonprofits, including board development and leadership training, $5,000
  • Candid Midwest, to help Summit County nonprofits secure funding and increase their sustainability through virtual educational programs, resources and services, $5,000
  • CASA Board Volunteer Association, to recruit and train community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the Summit County Juvenile Court system, $17,000
  • Cascade Locks Park Association, to support the operation and maintenance of historical assets, including the Mustill home and store, $5,000
  • Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, for support of the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center reopening, and to acquire the former Brandywine Golf Course through the Peninsula Land Project, which will secure 200 acres of land for the national park, $45,000
  • ConxusNEO, to partner with local companies, educators and workforce programs to identify skills gaps, fill current positions, adapt to virtual training software, and build a talent pipeline, $20,000
  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, to provide unique rail experiences for guests and to support the preservation and maintenance of historical railcars, $30,000
  • Downtown Akron Partnership, to support downtown business development, beautification, volunteer outreach and public space improvements, $16,000
  • Dr. Bob's Home, to support the upkeep of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Dr. Bob's home, $5,000
  • The Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses through business development and access to financial assistance, $6,000
  • Elevate Akron, to support workplace wellness programming throughout Greater Akron, $2,500
  • First Tee of Greater Akron, to expand the coach roster, which will build capacity to serve 200 additional youth, $7,500
  • Forum 360, for the 30-minute radio/television program, aired on PBS, WONE, WAKR and more, that informs and educates people about the local community, $5,000
  • Friends of Elizabeth Park, to address food insecurity, neighborhood health disparities, and environmental racism through a community empowerment garden for Cascade Valley residents, $7,500
  • Friends of Metro Parks, to connect historically underserved residents to nature and protect the parks for future generations, $5,500
  • Friends of WKSU, to support investigative reporting and community engagement in Akron, $7,500
  • Fund for Our Economic Future, to help transform the Northeast Ohio economy by advancing job creation and preparation initiatives that drive equitable economic growth, $34,000
  • GASP: Guardians Advocating Child Safety and Protection, to support child safety activities, including child identification kits, community outreach programs and educational materials, $5,000
  • Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, to support neighborhood revitalization initiatives, including exterior home repair programs and interest-free mortgages, $13,500
  • Heart to Heart Leadership, to provide leadership training scholarships for minority leaders in the business and nonprofit sectors, $8,500
  • Humane Society of Summit County, for animal intake care, vaccination, and microchipping of Summit County's rescued cats and dogs, $18,000
  • International Soap Box Derby, to support the All-American Soap Box Derby, STEM education programs, and community engagement events, $26,000
  • Jump on Board for Success (JOBS), to increase outreach to low-income teens and young adults in Kenmore at risk for generational poverty, substance abuse, homelessness and unplanned pregnancies, and to provide them with career development and parental education and training programs, $2,500
  • Keep Akron Beautiful, to support the removal of litter and unauthorized graffiti in Akron, $10,000
  • Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, to create a co-working space for small businesses and remote workers in the Kenmore Boulevard Historic District, $14,000
  • Leadership Akron, to support the Signature Class 39 Opening Retreat and Junior Leadership Akron Philanthropy Day, $14,000
  • North Akron Community Development Corporation, to activate and revitalize public spaces, provide leadership and entrepreneurship opportunities for those in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, $10,000
  • Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, to support the revitalization of Summit Lake by engaging neighborhood residents in recreational and volunteer activities, $15,000
  • Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio, to provide home repairs and safety modifications that allow low-income, elderly, disabled and veteran homeowners to remain in their homes, $16,000
  • Safety Forces Support Center, to provide mental health services, crisis intervention and professional training for first responders in Summit County, $11,000
  • South Street Ministries, to provide re-entry resources to formerly incarcerated residents, $16,000
  • Summit County Sheriff's Office, to support participation in the national Faith & Blue initiative, which generates dialogue and reinforces the connection between law enforcement and the community, $7,500
  • Summit Food Coalition, to improve healthy food access for Summit County and to spur economic development through education and advocacy, $25,000
  • Summit Metro Parks Foundation, to support community participation in the Summit Metro Parks, including a tree planting event in Goodyear Heights Metro Park, $12,500
  • Tinker's Creek Watershed Partners, to protect and restore water quality and habitats of the Tinker’s Creek watershed through community partnerships, $2,500
  • True Vision Community Development Corporation, to support local individuals and families through food security, housing stability, financial wellness, and workforce readiness, $5,000
  • Truly Reaching You, to support an employment training program for men who are re-entering the community after incarceration, $7,500
  • The Well Community Development Corporation, to support the resident services department, offering direct response to the needs of the organization’s housing tenants and other residents, $15,000
  • Western Reserve Community Fund, Inc., to support small businesses, affordable housing and nonprofit organizations with financial and technical support, furthering community development and job creation in Northeast Ohio, $10,000
  • Western Reserve Land Conservancy, to restore habitats, connect residents to nature, and ensure our region’s communities are healthy and desirable places to live, $6,000