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Education Priorities

Focusing on key transition points during a student's educational career – and starting early – is vital to our children's success.

Woman teaching child
Akron Community Foundation is committed to supporting programs that prepare children to succeed throughout their educational career. 

Cradle to Career Focus

Summit Education Initiative’s Cradle to Career continuum has proved through research and data-validated efforts that educational success can be improved by focusing on key transition points throughout an educational career. 

Akron Community Foundation, along with other local funders, has made a commitment to focus its education grant funding on programs that align with the Cradle to Career continuum. This includes funding programs that focus on the key transition points, such as kindergarten readiness, third grade reading, eighth grade math, ninth grade success, and college and career readiness and persistence.

Early Learning Focus

While success over the entire educational career is important, we’re still committed to directing a portion of our funding to programs that prepare young children to succeed. Even though most public education funding doesn’t begin until age 4 or 5, we know that 90 percent of a child’s intellect, personality and social skills are formed by age 3.

Since announcing our early learning priority in 2008, the community foundation has directed more than $1.3 million to initiatives that improve:

  • Physical and behavioral health, like Toddlers and Preschoolers Succeeding, which helps prevent preschool expulsions and cultivate resilient, school-ready youth
  • Access to health resources, including Building for Tomorrow, which helps children living in Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority communities
  • Family and social support, like the Project GRAD Bridge to Kindergarten school readiness camp for students and their parents
  • Early intervention for special needs, including Family & Children First Council's plan to perform developmental screenings on all Summit County children age birth to 5

First Things First

The community foundation is actively involved in early learning initiatives throughout the community through boards and task forces. They include Summit Education Initiative and Summit County First Things First, a comprehensive early care and education plan for all of Summit County.

First Things First began in 2009 as a result of the community foundation's early learning priority. Under the leadership of Summit County Executive Russell M. Pry, it has set the tone for our early learning funding going forward and encouraged a holistic approach to learning through collaboration. At its core is helping the children of Summit County reap the greatest reward possible: success in school and in life. We are proud and grateful to be a partner.

See a list of our most recent Education and Early Learning grants.