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Vernon L. Odom Fund Committee

Committee members serve without pay to help the fund continue impacting the lives of Summit County’s minority population.

The diversity of the committee strengthens the fund's work in the community and provides a vast knowledge base. The following community leaders serve as committee members. Click on their names for more information.

Tonya Block
Tonya Block

Community Health Director, Summit County Public Health

Tonya Block, MSW, LSW, is the community health director of Summit County Public Health, which protects the safety and health of people in Summit County. She is active in the community, serving on the board of Community Support Services and volunteering for numerous other agencies. Tonya is a graduate of the University of Akron, where she received both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social work.

Yvonne Brake
Yvonne Brake

Development Director, Haven of Rest Ministries

Yvonne Brake is the development director for Haven of Rest Ministries in Akron. She is also the founder and executive director of Because He Cares, a grassroots ministry that provides education, outreach and substance abuse prevention programs to the urban community. Yvonne is a member of the International Leadership Association, Association of Fundraising Professionals North Central Ohio Chapter, and Women in Leadership. She has presented at national conferences on black philanthropy and was recognized in the Black Pioneers exhibit at the University of Akron. Yvonne’s advocacy has earned her numerous awards, including the Black Woman of Excellence Award from the Summit County YWCA, the Harold K. Stubbs Humanitarian Award, and the Leadership Excellence Award from Malone University. Yvonne is a graduate of Malone University and Case Western Reserve University, and she is completing her doctoral dissertation at Eastern University in Philadelphia.

Charles A. Brown
Charles A. Brown

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, City of Akron

Charles Brown is the deputy mayor for public safety for the City of Akron. He previously served as the assistant chief of police for the Akron Police Department, where he served the citizens of Akron for nearly 28 years in a variety of roles, including Commander of Community Relations, Gang Unit Commander, and Recruiting and Pre-employment Investigation Coordinator. He has also been a supervisor in the Internal Affairs Unit, Street Narcotics Uniform Detail and SWAT team. Charles also taught the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in several schools and was an investigator in the Narcotics Unit. Charles is an active community volunteer, serving on the boards of the Red Cross, First Tee of Akron, and Project GRAD. He is a graduate of the Police Executive Leadership College, the FBI National Academy, Leadership Akron and the FBI Executive Fellowship Program. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ashland University.

Jason Butterworth
Jason Butterworth

Partner, Brennan, Manna & Diamond LLC

Jason Butterworth is a partner at Brennan, Manna & Diamond, where he practices in the areas of business and corporate law, health care law, mergers and acquisitions, and more. Jason is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, Akron Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He is highly active in the greater Akron community, assisting such organizations as the International Institute of Akron, Cascade Locks Park Association and the Summa Foundation. Jason is a graduate of the University of Akron School of Law and The Ohio State University.

Brant Lee
Brant Lee

Professor of Law, University of Akron

Brant Lee is a law professor and the director of Diversity & Social Justice Initiatives at the University of Akron. Prior to joining the Akron Law faculty in 1997, Brant served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and in the White House as acting deputy staff secretary and special assistant to the president. He writes in the area of race and complex systems, and his articles have been published in the American University Law Review, the Quinnipiac Law Review and many other esteemed publications. Brant earned his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School and has a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Leia' Love
Dr. Leia' Love

Owner, Leia' Love Hair & Nail Salon LLC

Dr. Leia' Love is the owner of Leia' Love Hair & Nail Salon LLC in Fairlawn. She previously served as a graduate assistant and program coordinator at the University of Toledo, where she provided programming and services to African-American, Native American, Alaskan Native, Hispanic, Asian and Southeast Asian students to enhance retention rates for students of color. She also implemented diversity education programs focused on cultural understanding, acceptance and cross-cultural communication skills. Dr. Love is a graduate of the University of Toledo and the National Institute of Cosmetology. 

Sonya Williams
Sonya Williams

Project Director, Kent State University

Sonya Williams is the project director for the office of the vice president at Kent State University. She previously worked at KSU as a project operations coordinator and has management experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining KSU, Sonya served as the director of the Foster Grandparent Program at Akron Summit Community Action. Sonya is a graduate of Leadership Akron’s Diversity on Board program and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and a master’s degree from the University of Akron.