Release Date: January 6,2021

Torchbearers Announces 2021 Grant from Knight Foundation

AKRON, OH (Jan. 6, 2021) – Torchbearers, a volunteer-run organization that develops young change-makers to shape Greater Akron, is enacting a “pay what you’re able” format to its membership model in 2021, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“Torchbearers brings together some of Akron’s brightest future leaders and connects them with established community leaders and each other,” said Kyle Kutuchief, program director for Knight Foundation’s Akron program. “We are proud to partner with the organization to ensure that a member’s ability to pay does not impact their opportunity to participate.”

For the past few months, Torchbearers Board of Directors, led by 2020 President Vish Bhatt, has been planning to reduce any possible financial strain to its current and new members. Consulting with past presidents and community leaders, while also studying a recent membership engagement survey, led to the Knight Foundation funding request.

“The events of this year have transformed the landscape of our community,” stated Bhatt. “Torchbearers has a strong history of giving back, as well as a deep commitment to the development of emerging leaders in Greater Akron. We realize that the economic impact of the pandemic has limited or dramatically reduced resources for some of our members.”

Torchbearers was founded in 2003 to strengthen the connection between Akron-area nonprofits and emerging leaders and to further efforts to attract and retain emerging leaders to the Greater Akron region. Its membership is more than 100 strong and reflects the diversity found across the Greater Akron community. With the addition of 40 new members in 2021, Torchbearers plans to be able to accomplish even more in the years ahead.

“Though the programming and various events were held virtually, we can’t recreate that person-to-person contact yet—the personal networking that we create—that we’re known for,” shared incoming 2021 Torchbearers President Willie Cook via a digital message to all members. “But we are 100% confident that what we bring is still unmatched—and our membership remains as strong as ever.”

If you’re interested in supporting Torchbearers and its efforts or learning more about the nonprofit, please visit torchbearersakron.com.

About Torchbearers

Torchbearers was founded in 2003 to strengthen the connection between Akron-area nonprofits and emerging leaders, as well as to further efforts to attract and retain emerging leaders in Greater Akron. The organization is a bridge between established leadership of the community and leaders of the future.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.