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Education Grants

In 2017, Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors approved $502,750 in education grants focused on early childhood education, as well as programs that align with Summit Education Initiative’s Cradle to Career continuum.

A number of education grants will focus on early childhood development, as children in low-income neighborhoods often fall behind in learning before they even enter kindergarten.

A grant to Summit Education Initiative will help the organization form Readiness Coalitions, which will coordinate preschools and other early childhood centers with kindergarten educators to help ensure area children are prepared to begin school.

"Early childhood sets the stage for all future learning,” said Laura DiCola, early childhood strategy leader for Summit Education Initiative. “The Readiness Coalitions are designed to bring the world of early educators together with those who are dealing with the same children when they hit the doorsteps of kindergarten.”

Greenleaf Family Center is part of this coalition. The agency’s Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids (SPARK) program, which will receive an education grant this quarter, is a home-based initiative that establishes parents as a child’s first and most important teacher. 

In addition to the board-directed funds, donor advisors contributed $16,000 to the programs as part of Akron Community Foundation’s grant co-investment program, where fundholders are able to review the grant requests the community foundation receives and supply funding to the programs they’re interested in. Are you a donor-advised fundholder who would be interested in participating in the co-investment program? Please contact Margaret Medzie at 330-436-5610 or mmedzie@akroncf.org. Or, are you interested in learning about these and other exciting programs in our community? When you have a donor-advised fund with us, we can help introduce you to the most promising nonprofits in the community.

The following are the education programs our board and fundholders have chosen to fund:

  • Akron Inner City Soccer Club, for an after-school soccer program for inner-city youth from underserved and at-risk families, $10,000
  • Alchemy Inc., for storytelling and journaling sessions that help urban youth build character and a positive self-image by applying stories to their own experiences, $5,000
  • Arc of Ohio, to provide advocacy and inclusion programs for students with developmental disabilities in Summit County, $10,000
  • Grant deadline

    Education grant applications open online Nov. 15 and are due by Dec 15. Preview the application questions.

    • Asian Services in Action, Inc., to support the READY Program, which prepares immigrant and refugee children ages 0 to 6 for successful entry into kindergarten with culturally and linguistically appropriate education, $10,000
    • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Summit, Medina & Stark County, for one-on-one mentoring that pairs adult role models with children ages 6 to 24 from low-income families, $10,000
    • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, for after-school and summer programs for local children, including homework help, hot meals and activities surrounding health, art and other topics, $72,500
    • Building for Tomorrow, to support the Early Childhood Initiative, which promotes parents as their children’s first and most important teacher, while also providing physical and behavioral health services, $90,500
    • Child Guidance & Family Solutions, for the Toddlers and Preschoolers Succeeding Program, which offers training and on-site support to teachers, students and families to increase the social/emotional well-being of young children in preschool programs, $75,000
    • College Now Greater Cleveland Inc., for college and career advising services for students at two Akron high schools, including financial aid counseling and transition-to-college services, $20,000
    • Crown Point Ecology Center, to support the Farm and Food Immersion Experience, a summer pilot program that helps high school students in Summit County explore careers in the agriculture and food industries, $7,500
    • Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, to support programs that empower Summit County youth to combat bias, bigotry and racism, $3,750
    • Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, for the Journey project, which provides programming to underserved girls in second through fifth grade, offering interactive lessons and badges, $8,000
    • Global Ties Akron, for the Know Your Community – Know Your World program, which connects students with global and multicultural people and issues, $7,500
    • Great Lakes Biomimicry, to create a biomimicry education ecosystem in Summit County, engaging educators and students in nature-inspired thinking, wildlife conservation and STEM fields, $10,000
    • Greenleaf Family Center,  for the SPARK program, a home-based, kindergarten readiness program for 3- and 4-year-olds, $15,000
    • He Brought Us Out Ministry, for an after-school tutoring and summer enrichment program that is tailored for high-risk students in the North Hill neighborhood, $10,000
    • Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio, for after-school programs in Akron Public Schools that teach students about earning, spending and sharing money, as well as career planning, teamwork and communication, $10,000
    • Lenibug Foundation, to purchase and distribute books to children living in poverty in the Greater Akron area, $9,500
    • Project GRAD Akron, for the Bridge to Kindergarten program, which prepares children in the Buchtel cluster for kindergarten through a summer academy, parent engagement activities, and family support services throughout the school year, $27,500
    • Project Learn of Summit County, to help job seekers secure and maintain employment through hands-on workshops that build skills in interviewing, communication, customer service and problem solving, $20,000
    • Proyecto Raices, to provide educational support to children of Latino and Hispanic families through activities that increase bilingual literacy, introduce STEM programs, and retain cultural traditions, $10,000
    • RePlay for Kids, to promote STEM education for Summit County public school students by teaching them to adapt toys for children with disabilities, $3,000
    • Summit County Family & Children First Council, for First Things First, a countywide program that screens children ages 0 to 5 to help identify and refer needed early intervention services, $9,000
    • Summit Education Initiative, to support regional early childhood education through Readiness Coalitions, which connect preschool educators, youth-serving community organizations and elementary schools, $17,500
    • Tri-County Jobs for Ohio Graduates, to provide school- and community-based dropout prevention and recovery programs to more than 300 high-risk Summit County youth ages 16 to 24, $10,000
    • United Way of Summit County, for Students With A Goal (SWAG), an after-school mentoring program for students ages 11 to 18 in the Summit Lake neighborhood that provides learning, leadership and life skills, $10,000
    • University of Akron Foundation, to support literacy coaching for teachers at Ledgeview Elementary School in the Nordonia school district, $10,000
    • Urban Vision, for the Set On Success (S.O.S.) after-school program, which provides academic support and life skills classes for high-risk, inner-city youth, $7,500
    • Veggie U, for indoor classroom gardens for third-graders andstudents with special needs in Akron Public Schools, $10,000