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Our dedicated, professional staff connects you to the power of the community foundation.
John T. Petures Jr.
President and CEO
Joined the staff: May 2008
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: We have a wonderful role in teaching and promoting permanent philanthropy for the good of the community. It’s an amazing concept to give forever and provide hope for current and future generations. I’m also a firm believer that people don’t give to causes, they give to people, and I’m proud the community foundation is such a catalyst in introducing fundholders and prospective donors to inspiring nonprofit leaders in our community.
What he does: John has championed the transformation of Akron Community Foundation into a more donor-centric organization. During the past six years alone, the community foundation has generated nearly $80 million in new contribution revenue while establishing over 240 new funds. Grant distributions in the most recent year also exceeded $9.7 million, the highest total in the community foundation’s history. John leads a 17-person team to build lasting relationships with donors, fundholders, board members and community leaders while promoting permanent philanthropy for the good of our community.
What he did before: The majority of John’s 37-year professional career has been spent in the nonprofit sector. In primarily senior development roles, he has helped organizations raise nearly $1 billion for the betterment of communities where he and his wife, Cindy, have lived, worked and raised their three children. John has previously worked with the United Way and the Arthritis Foundation, and studied at Penn State and Geneva College, where he earned a degree in communications and journalism.
He's a proud grandfather of three.
De Shawn Pickett
Joined the staff: July 2000
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: When we make grants to small organizations doing big things in our community.
What she does: De Shawn is the first face and voice of the community foundation when guests walk in the door of our transformed headquarters. She is the liaison to the president and CEO and coordinates the day-to-day administration of the community foundation’s operations. She also coordinates our annual meeting each summer and the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award dinner in the fall.
What she did before: De Shawn worked in human resources for a company that produced portable tele-transaction computers.
Vice President and Chief Development Officer
Joined the staff: April 2013
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: The capacity to work with individuals and families who see the strength of their donation when given through the community foundation. Every gift makes a difference.
What she does: As leader of the Development and Donor Engagement Department, Margaret helps charitable people, families and organizations give efficiently, effectively and meaningfully to their favorite causes and charities, not just today but forever. She connects them to the community foundation’s vast knowledge and nonprofit resources, introduces them to like-minded philanthropists, and – through the power of endowment – ensures their good work continues forever through a fund in their name.
What she did before: Margaret has a vast background in the nonprofit and private sectors, most recently serving as executive director of the American Red Cross Chapter of Summit and Portage Counties. She has a master’s degree in higher education administration from Kent State University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Notre Dame College of Ohio.
Director of Development & Professional Advisor Relations
Joined the staff: October 2011
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: The people she meets. Laura loves hearing fundholders’ stories – where they came from, what motivates them, and the positive impact giving has made on their lives.
What she does: Laura meets with potential fundholders to discover their philanthropic passions and show them how they can do great things through the community foundation. She also leads the Professional Advisor Council made up of wealth managers, trust officers, attorneys and accountants to create giving opportunities that are simple and accessible for fundholders.
What she did before: Laura’s entire professional career has been in development – for both corporate and nonprofit organizations. Prior to joining the community foundation, Laura was the director of development for the Akron Symphony, where she managed all annual fund giving, corporate sponsorships, special events and grant writing. She’s a graduate of the College of Wooster and lives in West Akron with her two teenage sons.
Scholarships & Grants Administrator
Joined the staff: August 1997
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: Seeing how the community foundation has grown over time. I’m always impressed by our progress.
What she does: Diane manages all of the community foundation’s scholarship funds and works with local schools to administer each scholarship. She also drafts language for new fund agreements and processes the community foundation's agency endowment and designated fund distributions.
What she did before: Diane worked in the City of Akron Department of Planning & Urban Development. She also worked at a financial consulting firm in Atlanta, Georgia.
Database & Grants Administrator and IT Manager
Joined the staff: September 2007
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: The people I work with. It feels like a family, and that’s a special thing to find.
What she does: Melina is responsible for processing all of the community foundation’s donor-advised grant requests and performing the due diligence required for each nonprofit organization. She also manages the community foundation’s database to ensure records are kept up to date with accurate information. In addition, her role as system administrator requires her to manage the computer network and provide technical support to employees.
What she did before: Prior to joining Akron Community Foundation, Melina spent her career in the financial services sector working first as a teller for FirstMerit Bank, followed by being a branch administrator for UBS Financial Services Inc.
Development & Donor Engagement Specialist
Joined the staff: September 2013
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: The way the community foundation supports so many different issues in the community, including those specific to women and girls through the Women’s Endowment Fund.
What she does: Renee uses her event and volunteer expertise to grow our seven Initiative Funds by providing development direction for their operations and endowment-building activities.
What she did before: Renee worked as a development coordinator for the American Cancer Society, where she recruited volunteers, planned fundraising events and managed internal projects. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management degree from Kent State University.
Research & Communications Specialist
Joined the staff: March 2009
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: Witnessing people from all walks of life come together to positively impact a cause or community they love.
What she does: Kristen works closely with the community foundation’s seven Initiative Funds to write, edit and design their newsletters, event materials, press releases and other publications. She also edits community foundation materials and assists with special event communications.
What she did before: Kristen worked as a copy editor for a local weekly newspaper. She has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Bowling Green State University.
Development & Donor Engagement Assistant
Joined the staff: November 2014
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: That through our generous donors we are able to help people and this community one distribution at a time.
What she does: Supporting the development and donor engagement staff, Delinda is responsible for providing database management, donor relations and general administrative support. She records important information about donors, their families and their interest areas.
What she did before: Delinda has seven years of experience in the banking industry, most recently serving as the administrative assistant for Portage Community Bank’s chief executive officer.
Vice President, Community Investment
Joined the staff: August 2011
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: The chance to work with such a wide and diverse cross section of the community, both internally and externally. The people on staff at Akron Community Foundation are some of the most passionate and caring people I have ever known. Also, I am always amazed by the wonderful cohesiveness of our generous donors and this entire community when it comes to collaborating and addressing critical needs.
What he does: In partnership with the other community investment staff, John keeps a pulse on what is happening with the nonprofit community in Akron. He works with nonprofits to determine what their most pressing needs are and advises them as they create a compelling grant request. He also oversees the grant distribution process for all of the community foundation’s affiliate funds.
What he did before: John worked as a senior development officer at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, where he oversaw all third-party fundraising initiatives and secured major gift commitments. John attended Kent State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in community health education and a master’s degree in community health management and administration.
Director of Community Investment
Joined the staff: January 2015
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: Being part of an organization that supports charitable agencies in providing assistance to families and individuals during what could be the most vulnerable time of their lives. It’s so rewarding. Our work is very important, impactful and necessary, and it directly contributes to a meaningful outcome for those who are in need of specific services. It doesn't get any better than that!
What she does: With her vast experience and knowledge of the community, Teresa provides the Community Investment Committee with the information it needs to make quality grant-making decisions. She is also responsible for cultivating relationships with nonprofits in the community so she can continue to have a high-level understanding of the needs, resources and opportunities in Summit County.
What she did before: Teresa comes to Akron Community Foundation with a rich history of serving Greater Akron nonprofits. Most recently, Teresa was executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve. Prior to that, she held leadership positions with the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Akron Urban League and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Malone University.
Joined the staff: August 2000
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: Being part of an organization that has a wide reach in the community and plays an important role in supporting a variety of nonprofit organizations and their missions.
What she does: Kim administers the community foundation's seven issue-specific grant programs, as well as processes all of the quarterly grant distributions from the Community Fund. She also handles the administrative duties for the Community Investment Department.
What she did before: Kim’s experience most recently includes working as an office manager for a local music store. Previously, she resided in Phoenix, Arizona, where she worked as an insurance billing specialist for a skilled nursing facility.
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Joined the staff: September 2004
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: Our unique ability to help everyday people become philanthropists. Discovering their passions is a joy, and telling their stories is a privilege.
What she does: Tina manages the community foundation’s brand and that of its more than 500 funds, serving as their ambassador to the media and the public. She is the strategist behind all our Web, print and advertising, with emphasis on educating potential fundholders and their advisors about how the community foundation can meet their charitable needs. Tina is our chief storyteller and is always seeking new ways to raise awareness of the good work done by our grantees, donors and fundholders.
What she did before: Tina was a public relations coordinator for a national teleservices company. In addition to promoting the firm’s nonprofit and commercial work, she cultivated relationships with media and public officials in the firm’s 10 call center cities. She is an alumna of Miami University and the University of Akron.
Director of Marketing
Joined the staff: March 2013
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: Knowing that we can help philanthropists do good in our community, no matter what their passion may be.
What she does: Tracy promotes the community foundation to its fundholders, donors and the general public through a variety of mixed media. She manages the community foundation’s online and social media presence, in addition to writing and designing many of its printed materials. She also helps fundholders leverage community foundation resources to build their brand and reach in the community.
What she did before: As an account director at a local public relations and marketing agency, Tracy developed and executed integrated marketing plans for a variety of business-to-business and consumer clients. She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Kent State University.
Communications & Community Investment Officer
Joined the staff: June 2010
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: This is one of the most dynamic and supportive groups I’ve ever worked with, and the community generosity I get to experience every day is a bonus. I feel lucky to be part of such a diverse group.
What he does: Chris shares the unique stories of our fundholders and grantees using the power of video, photography and social media. As the editor of our community news site, Akronist.com, Chris gives voice to local residents and nonprofits making an impact daily throughout our community. He also assists in our grant process.
What he did before: Prior to joining our staff full time in 2016, Chris managed the Akron Digital Media Center, a Knight Community Information Challenge winner and community foundation funded project to teach residents to tell their stories using cutting-edge digital media. Chris was previously a senior editor and web publisher for a group of national automotive trade magazines, and a reporter and editor for a number of local papers. Chris has a bachelor’s degree in mass media / communications from the University of Akron.
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Joined the staff: June 1996
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: Even if I have a bad day, on my way home that night, I know we changed people’s lives for the better.
What he does: Steve maintains the integrity of the community foundation’s financial and accounting systems. He is always accessible to fundholders who want to discuss their financial statements or other fund activity. He works diligently to preserve the transparency of the community foundation.
What he did before: Steve worked in FirstMerit Bank’s trust audit and compliance department. He has a degree in finance from the University of Akron.
Joined the staff: December 2008
Favorite thing about Akron Community Foundation: The help we provide to people in need through our grants, and the way we help people fulfill their own charitable goals in the community.
What he does: Dennis handles all of the community foundation’s daily accounting and expenses. He also assists with quarterly and annual financial activities. Throughout the year, Dennis assists the community foundation’s Initiative Funds with their fundraisers and events. He also manages many of our human resources responsibilities.
What he did before: Dennis worked as a controller for the Cleveland Area Board of Realtors. He has a degree in accounting from the University of Akron and is a certified public accountant.
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