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Gay Community Endowment Fund awards $82,000 in grants

A $20,000 impact grant will support the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Resource Center
A young black man smiles in the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Center.
The Akron AIDS Collaborative received a $20,000 grant to support the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Center.

On Friday, March 1, the Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation announced 18 grants totaling $82,000 to programs that enhance the quality of life of Greater Akron's LGBTQ+ community. This marks the fund's largest grantmaking cycle in 10 years.

The fund awarded a total of $40,000 in impact grants to three programs addressing needs that fund leaders have identified as a high priority. These priorities include creating safer environments for LGBTQ+ youth, combating phobias of the LGBTQ+ community, and supporting mental health and suicide prevention programs for LGBTQ+ people.

A $20,000 impact grant will support the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Resource Center, a program of the Akron AIDS Collaborative that provides comprehensive support services for LGBTQ+ people of color throughout Summit County. This is the largest grant the fund has awarded to a single organization since 2014.

Kate Raymond, the incoming chair of the Gay Community Endowment Fund, shared her insight on the fund's grantmaking priorities, saying, "The Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Resource Center directly addresses two of our most urgent funding priorities: creating safe environments for LGBTQ+ individuals and supporting their mental health. The center's growth over the past three years has been remarkable, and we're proud to support their work to provide culturally inclusive resources to the diverse LGBTQ+ community."

A first-time impact grant recipient, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, received a $10,000 grant to support a full-service pharmacy that will make gender-affirming care more accessible. Gender-affirming hormone care is one of Planned Parenthood's largest growing services. "When patients complete their visit with a prescription, they are not guaranteed a positive or affirming experience at their pharmacy," explained Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio President and CEO Erica Wilson-Domer, "In fact, 72% of pharmacists have no education on the unique treatment and prescription needs of trans and nonbinary patients. We are thrilled our first-of-its-kind community pharmacy will enhance our current care for our patients, while alleviating barriers to ensure patients across Ohio can comfortably and affordably obtain the medications and information they need."

The following is a complete list of organizations receiving grants this year:

  • Akron AIDS Collaborative, to support the Bayard Rustin LGBTQ+ Resource Center, which provides emergency housing referrals, food and clothing assistance, and mental health services for LGBTQ+ people of color in Summit County, $20,000
  • Akron Children's, to support a gender-affirming awareness campaign to promote the use of correct pronouns throughout the hospital, $3,000
  • Akron Civic Theatre, to support the Millennial Theatre Project, which engages underrepresented young adults in theater productions, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, $1,000
  • CANAPI, to promote inclusivity through the 2024 Akron Pride Festival, $3,000
  • CANAPI, to provide short-term rental and utility assistance to LGBTQ+ young adults experiencing housing instability, $3,000
  • Carve Your Own Path, to provide trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and identity-affirming mental health services to LGBTQ+ individuals, $2,000
  • CHC Addiction Services, to provide staff with Safe Space training to create a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ individuals, $3,000
  • Clapp for Art, to support The Groundhog Show, an annual pop-up art exhibition that broadens the reach and impact of LGBTQ+ artists, $2,000
  • GLSEN Northeast Ohio, to support an all-day conference that empowers and educates middle and high school LGBTQ+ students and allies throughout Northeast Ohio, $10,000
  • Kent State University Foundation, to support the Queers United to Encourage and Support Transition (QUEST) mentorship program, which pairs LGBTQ+ students with a supportive adult role model, $3,000
  • Kent State University Foundation, to support The Listening Project, a series of arts-based research activities that will build community and produce digitized educational materials focused on the needs of LGBTQ+ youth and their families in Greater Akron public schools, $3,000
  • OutSupport, for community outreach, education and advocacy efforts that promote the health and equality of LGBTQ+ people in Medina and surrounding communities, $2,000
  • Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to support a full-service community pharmacy at the Akron Health Center that will ensure trans and nonbinary patients can affordably obtain medications, $10,000
  • Stewart's Caring Place, to support outreach to LGBTQ+ and HIV+ individuals, who have historically underutilized the organization's free cancer wellness and support services, $3,000
  • Students With A Goal (SWAG), to provide wrap-around support services, including in-school and out-of-school programming, to LGBTQ+ youth, $5,000
  • Summa Health, to support the 2024 LGBTQ+ Healthcare Summit, which provides health care professionals with training on issues specific to LGBTQ+ patients, $3,000
  • University of Akron Foundation, to provide expanded learning and enrichment opportunities for LGBTQ+ students and allies during the 2024-25 school year, $3,000
  • VANTAGE Aging, to increase outreach to aging LGBTQ+ community members and to train staff to provide a welcoming environment for all LGBTQ+ older adults, $3,000

About the Gay Community Endowment Fund                                                                 
Founded in 2001, the Gay Community Endowment Fund is a permanent philanthropic endowment of Akron Community Foundation. The fund advances a lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people in Greater Akron by investing in strategic and responsive grantmaking that empowers the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Since its inception, the fund has grown to more than $2.2 million while reinvesting nearly $840,000 into the community. Contributions of any amount are welcome and support future grantmaking. Checks should be sent to Akron Community Foundation, 345 W. Cedar St., Akron, OH 44307, with Gay Community Endowment Fund in the memo line. Donations may also be designated for the GCEF Scholarship Fund. For more information, or to contribute, call 330-376-8522 or visit

About Akron Community Foundation
For 68 years, Akron Community Foundation has been our community's champion and generator of enduring philanthropy. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. It is a philanthropic endowment of more than $288 million with a growing family of more than 870 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation and its funds welcome gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets, just to name a few. To date, the community foundation's funds have awarded nearly $236 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, call 330-376-8522 or visit

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