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Timeline

Entrance to Edwin Shaw's Residence on North Portage Path
Edwin Shaw's residence on North Portage Path

May 21, 1955
Papers of incorporation establish Akron Community Trusts with the estate of former B.F. Goodrich Vice President Edwin Shaw. Shaw’s goal was to create a way for residents to help meet the changing needs of the Greater Akron community.

The following nine men were the founding trustees: John L. Collyer, Bert A. Polsky, J. P. Seiberling, Harvey S. Firestone Jr., Paul A. Frank, John S. Knight, P.W. Litchfield, W.B. McIntosh and William O’Neil.

June 8, 1955
The community foundation receives an initial $776,552 from Shaw’s estate. George Oenslager and Frank Van Cleef, co-executors of Shaw’s estate, join John L. Collyer, Paul A. Frank, P.W. Litchfield, W.B. McIntosh, William O’Neil, Bert A. Polsky and Lisle M. Buckingham around the dining room table at Shaw’s former estate at 618 N. Portage Path. There, they conduct an organizational meeting of Akron Community Trusts. The following officers were elected: W.B. McIntosh as executive director and treasurer; Bert A. Polsky as president; Paul A. Frank as vice president; and Lisle M. Buckingham as legal counsel and secretary.

Summer 1955
Forrest D. Myers, local realtor and “insurance man,” is appointed trustee by Summit County Probate Judge Vincent Zurz.

Oct. 13, 1955
The community foundation receives an additional $264,310 upon becoming the sole trustee of the Edwin Shaw Estate.

Nov. 21, 1955
Paul E. Belcher is appointed trustee by executive members of the United Foundation.

View of University of Akron
A grant to the University of Akron set the stage for its conversion from municipal to state status.

June 1957 (total assets $1,160,824)
The community foundation makes a $10,000 grant to underwrite the University of Akron’s Committee on the Educational Forecast, which studied what the university needed to do to meet the community’s needs during the next decade. This included projections for enrollment, curriculum, faculty, instruction, finance, facilities and administration. According to then university President Norman Auburn, the work funded by the community foundation “set the stage” for the university’s conversion from municipal to state status.

June 2, 1959 (total assets $1,287,581)
Paul A. Frank is elected second president of the community foundation. E.J. Thomas fills the vacancy left open after the death of P.W. Litchfield.

Outgoing president Polsky calls the community foundation “the ideal vehicle for public-spirited citizens who wish to donate or bequest a sum for community betterment.” He promised donors would receive “able and experienced” handling of funds and “continuity of administration; diversification of investment; and careful, faithful and intelligent distribution of income.”

Billboard information about NEOMED
A community foundation grant led to the creation of NEOMED.

Feb. 8, 1961
The community foundation makes a $30,000 grant to Visiting Nurse Service for a home health care pilot program. The services developed out of this pilot program received complete certification from the Social Security Administration, enabling Visiting Nurse Service to provide Medicare services to homebound patients all over Summit County once the government’s health care program was established.

A $15,000 grant to the American Medical College Association funds a study that led to the establishment of what is now Northeast Ohio Medical University.

1963 
The Akron Board of Education receives $27,000 for a pilot work-study program and $37,360 for its Lane Community School, which laid the groundwork for the Adult Education Program.

1964
The Akron Board of Education receives a grant of $2,732.78 to start a pre-kindergarten program, which becomes the model upon which the federal Head Start program is instituted. It is the first such grant in U.S. history.

1967
The community foundation makes a $10,000 grant to the Akron Board of Education to restore Old Stone School.

Aerial view of Blossom Music Center
Blossom Music Center was constructed with the help of a community foundation grant.

1968
The community foundation contributes $20,000 toward the eventual construction of Blossom Music Center. It also makes a $12,943 grant to Akron Public Schools to establish a summer park education program.

1971
The community foundation moves into free office space at the III Cascade Branch of Goodyear Bank.

1972
On July 1, the community foundation moves into the executive offices of Akron National Bank and Trust Company at I Cascade, which the bank provided at no charge.

1973
The community foundation grants $19,500 to Akron Public Schools to underwrite a special needs program for handicapped students and extend day programs to junior high students. It also makes a $10,000 grant to Summit County Historical Society to plan Akron’s 1975 sesquicentennial celebration. 

1973
The University of Akron opens E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, named for the former Goodyear CEO and past community foundation trustee, following a $50,000 grant from the foundation. 

Doctor demonstrating medical device to teenagers
The grant to Akron Children's Hospital in 1974 was the largest in the community foundation's history at that time.

1974
The community foundation makes an $85,620 grant—the largest in its history at that time—to Akron Children’s Hospital for its Advanced Medical Research Laboratory Program. This enables the hospital to secure a federal grant of $850,000.

1975
Akron celebrates its 150th anniversary as Ohio's "City at the Summit." The community foundation makes $15,000 in grants to support the sesquicentennial celebration.

1977
The community foundation moves its offices to the eighth floor of I Cascade, where Akron Regional Development Board, Downtown Association, Knight Foundation and Goals for Greater Akron had their offices.

1978 (total assets $2,435,645)
The community foundation distributes $213,022 in grants, an all-time high at that point.

1979 
The community foundation makes the first of two $25,000 grants to fund the restoration and renovation of Akron Civic Theatre.

Doctor reviewing x-ray
A grant to Akron City Hospital helped fund critical orthopaedic research.

1980
The community foundation pledges $112,380 to Edwin Shaw Hospital to purchase rehabilitation equipment. It is the largest grant in its 25-year history. That year, it also made grants of $14,000 for Akron General’s blood pheresis program for cancer treatment and $10,000 for orthopaedic research at Akron City Hospital.

1982
On Sept. 24, Akron Community Trusts changes its name to Akron Community Foundation.

May 13, 1988
More than 800 people attend the “Evening of Music and Memories” at Akron Civic Theatre, the proceeds of which help establish the Lisle M. Buckingham Fund of Akron Community Foundation. Mr. Buckingham, 92 at the time of the celebration, was the first secretary of Akron Community Trusts. The evening culminates with the presentation of a check for $125,000 to the community foundation.

Former leaders of Akron Community Foundation.
Former leaders of Akron Community Foundation gather in 1991. Seated left to right: Gale R. Urda, Lisle M. Buckingham, Robert W. Briggs and Richard A. Chenoweth; Standing left to right: Tom H. Barrett, Glenn H. Meadows, Howard A. Palmer, Duane L. Isham, Robert E. Mercer and George T. Parry.

May 15, 1990
Gordon Heffern, former CEO of Society Corp. (now KeyCorp), becomes president and chief executive officer of Akron Community Foundation after a restructuring by the 18-member board. Jody Bacon joins the community foundation as executive vice president after heading the Jackson Community Foundation in Michigan since 1981. That same year, Heffern moves ACF’s offices into a larger space in the Society Building.

1993
Three new affiliate funds are established at the community foundation to meet the needs of specific groups of people: the Medina County Community Fund, the Women’s Endowment Fund and the Vernon L. Odom Fund.

1994
The John A. McAlonan Trust is transferred to the community foundation. Its $4.74 million gift becomes the community foundation’s largest single gift in nearly 40 years of existence. In addition, the John S. Knight Center, named for one of the foundation's first trustees, opens in downtown Akron following a grant from the community foundation.

1995
Akron Community Foundation’s board establishes four quarterly grantmaking priorities for its discretionary funding: Arts & Culture, Civic Affairs, Health & Human Services and Education.

Don Fair, John Dotson and Don Plusquellic breaking ground of new building
Don Fair, John Dotson and Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic break ground on the new building.

June 8, 1997
Akron Community Foundation breaks ground on its new building at 345 W. Cedar St.

June 25, 1998
Akron Community Foundation cuts the ribbon for its new building at the annual meeting.

October 1998
The Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund is established to support programs that create opportunities for the educational, physical, emotional, social, artistic and personal growth of women and children in Medina County.

Nov. 30, 1998
The community foundation holds its first day of operations at its new office.

1999
In partnership with the Akron Beacon Journal, Akron Community Foundation establishes the Millennium Fund for Children to support grassroots children’s programs in the newspaper’s circulation area.

2000
The Gay Community Endowment Fund is established to support programs and services that positively impact the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, as well as the entire Greater Akron community.

Group of people in front of fire truck
The Fire Truck Fund grew to nearly $1.4 million in the wake of Sept. 11.

2001
Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, FirstMerit Bank and the Akron Beacon Journal create the Fire Truck Fund at Akron Community Foundation. Nearly 55,000 people donate $1.39 million, which is used to purchase two EMS vehicles, three SUV police cruisers, and a 95-foot ladder truck for the New York City Fire Department.

2004
Akron Community Foundation, Coming Together Akron, the Akron Beacon Journal, FirstMerit Bank and the Summit County chapter of the American Red Cross raise nearly $500,000 to distribute to victims of the tsunami in Indonesia.

Food bank truck from Biloxi, Mississippi
Donations from across the county helped send a truck full of supplies to Biloxi, Miss.

2005
Akron Community Foundation works with the city of Akron, the Akron Beacon Journal, FirstMerit Bank and the Summit County chapter of the American Red Cross to start a fund to help people affected by Hurricane Katrina. The partners raise nearly $900,000 to purchase a refrigerated box truck, delivery van, pallet jack and more for the food bank serving Biloxi, Miss.

2008
John T. Petures Jr. becomes president and CEO of Akron Community Foundation. 

2011
Akron Community Foundation renovates its office on West Cedar Street to better serve donors and nonprofit organizations.

John Petures, Michael Sweeney and Jared Chaney with Medical Mutual's $5mil check
Community foundation President and CEO John T. Petures Jr., left, and board Chairman Michael A. Sweeney, right, accept the $5 million check from Medical Mutual representative Jared Chaney.

2012
Medical Mutual of Ohio breaks community foundation records by donating $5 million to establish the Medical Mutual Community Investment Fund. The gift becomes the largest in the community foundation’s history and is one of a record 40 funds established that year. Through it, the company created a local legacy to fund its corporate charity in Summit County. 

2013
The IBH Foundation makes the largest gift in Akron Community Foundation history: $12 million. The endowment fund provides predictable income for IBH Addiction Recovery Center and related programs. 

March 2014
On March 31, 2014, the Knight Foundation establishes a record-breaking fund at the community foundation in honor of its outgoing board chair and former Akron Community Foundation board chair, Robert Briggs. The Robert W. Briggs Fund becomes the 41st fund established at the community foundation, breaking the record of 40 new funds started in fiscal year 2012.

June 2014
A committed group of residents establishes the Bath Community Fund to preserve the history, beauty and legacy of Bath Township for generations to come. In November 2014, the fund leaders launched the "For Bath, Forever" campaign to raise $2.018 million for the fund by Bath's bicentennial in 2018. In June 2015, they reached their initial goal of $250,000.

Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs and staff members of Akron Community Foundation celebrate the community foundation's 60th anniversary.

June 2015

Local fundholders, leaders and nonprofits celebrate Akron Community Foundation's 60th anniversary with pop-up parties across the community.

October 2015
Joe Kanfer establishes the community foundation's 500th fund after being selected as the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award recipient.

July 2016
The community foundation celebrates record new funds and grants and distributions at its annual meeting. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, 50 new funds were established and $9.5 million was made in grants and distributions—the highest single-year totals in the organization's history.

September 2016
Summit Metro Parks establishes a fund with $3.5 million—the second largest establishing gift for an agency endowment fund in the community foundation's history.