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Andreoli Fund rebuilds cabins for kids

Beneath a blanket of August sun and humidity, Rennick and Dee Andreoli uncovered a little piece of heaven – or, at the very least, a haven for a special group of children.

Rennick and Dee AndreoliTheir afternoon at Akron Rotary Camp began with sounds of water splashing, counselors cheering and little voices laughing: a melody as sweet as the ice cream in the dining hall freezers. But that all changed as they took a few steps inland. There, they saw 50-year-old, concrete-slab cabins with no air conditioning, low ceilings and "everybody living on top of each other." "The conditions were just incomprehensible," Rennick said, especially considering their precious inhabitants: children with disabilities.

"I just couldn't imagine how the counselors and children could live in these conditions," he said. "It immediately touched our heartstrings."

Their heartstrings quickly formed a symphony: "I reached out to Akron Community Foundation," Rennick explained, "and they connected me with other donors whose philanthropic goals were comparable to ours." The result: approximately $250,000 in contributions to rebuild the camp's cabins – just in time for summer. And, as the operator of two hotels in Fairlawn, Rennick was able to leverage his relationships with local vendors to secure reduced-cost materials and labor, which stretched donors' dollars even further. "I tapped a lot of people on the shoulder, and everybody responded very positively," he said.

When he reflects on the project's progress and the community's overwhelming support of it, Rennick admits he gets choked up: "To be able to see the look on the families' and the children's faces when they come and see these new cabins, I think everybody would shed a tear."