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Women’s Endowment Fund awards $180,000 in grants

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A $5,000 grant to Our Lady of the Elms School will help offer STEM education and robotics equipment to its students.

AKRON, Ohio (March 6, 2019) – The Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation awarded $180,000 to 25 nonprofit organizations on Friday, bringing its cumulative grantmaking total to more than $1.3 million. Yesterday, fund officials announced these grants in front of an audience of more than 500 community leaders and philanthropists at the fund’s “For Women, Forever” annual dinner.

Among this year’s funding priorities were health and wellness, safety from violence, and economic empowerment for local women and girls.

Several grants this year supported programs that provide in-demand career education for girls, including a $5,000 grant to Our Lady of the Elms School to offer STEM education and robotics equipment to its students.

“As a part of our STEM education programming for our elementary and middle school students, we’re introducing coding basics through storytelling and implementing robotics equipment to provide them with exposure to the high-demand field of information technology,” said Olivia Wakeling, director of annual giving at Our Lady of the Elms School. “Our students are using coding software and integrated technology to strategically enhance their learning and encourage curiosity, creativity and healthy risk-taking.”

As the only Akron-area, all-girls school educating grades K-12, Our Lady of the Elms serves as a leading advocate for propelling young female education. Since 1923, the private Catholic school has educated girls and young women to live their lives boldly with purpose, confidence, kindness, resilience and faith.

 “This year’s group of grantees and their programs truly encompass our fund’s mission to uplift, empower and educate women and girls throughout Akron and all of Summit County,” said Marcy Venarge, grants committee chair. “We’re proud to have now granted more than $1.3 million back into our community over the course of our 26-year history.”         

Other grants from the Women’s Endowment Fund this year will support shelter services for victims of domestic violence, food access and nutrition education programming for women and children living in poverty and more.

The following is a full list of organizations receiving grants in 2019:

ACCESS Inc., for the Women and Children in Crisis Program, designed to address the homelessness crisis holistically, $10,000

Akron Children’s Hospital, to offer education, support groups and therapeutic cooking and nutrition classes for young women who suffer from eating disorders, $5,000

Battered Women’s Shelter, to support protective shelter services for victims of domestic violence and their children, $10,000

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, to provide summer program scholarships for at-risk girls in Summit County, $5,000

Building for Tomorrow, to support the Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake, providing education, training, support and resources for impoverished families, $5,000

Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, to expand food access and nutrition education programming for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants, $5,000

Economic and Community Development Institute, to support Akron outreach of the Women’s Business Center of Northern Ohio, $10,000

Family and Community Services of Portage County Inc., to provide creative arts therapeutic services for homeless female veterans in Summit County, $10,000

First Tee of Akron, to improve local girls’ health and wellness through golf-based youth development programming, $5,000

Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, to support the Girl Scout Journey Program, a 20-week after-school leadership skills program for underserved girls, $5,000

Hattie Larlham Foundation, to support career readiness preparation for women with developmental disabilities, $2,000

Interval Brotherhood Home (IBH), to support the REACH Project by providing job readiness training for women in IBH’s residential treatment program who are seeking employment, $5,000

Kent State University Foundation Inc., to support the SOS Sister Circles program, a stress intervention program for expectant and postpartum African-American mothers, $15,000

Legacy III Inc., to support the Women’s Empowerment Program, providing transitional housing to homeless women recovering from addiction and mental health disorders, $7,500

OPEN M, to support the Community Works Connection program, assisting women in poverty to become economically self-sufficient, $7,500

Our Lady of the Elms School, to support STEM programming and provide robotics equipment, $5,000

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to support Get Real!, a sex education curriculum for students in Summit County, $10,000

Project Ujima, to provide centering circles for pregnant and new mothers in an effort to help reduce infant mortality in Akron’s 44307 and 44320 zip codes, $15,000

Rape Crisis Center, to support the Heroes 4 Hope dating and sexual violence program, providing teens with activity-rich education about healthy relationships, $8,000

South Street Ministries, for the South Street Women’s Reentry program, offering returning and incarcerated women a second chance at leading productive lives, $1,000

Stewart’s Caring Place, for wigs and beauty services for women on a cancer journey, $2,500

Summa Health System, to support the launch of the Mommy Care-Group Care initiative, which offers support groups and educational services for new mothers, $7,500

Summit Artspace, to support the Artist as an Entrepreneur program, providing female artists with core business skills and resources for successful professional careers, $5,000

Victim Assistance Program Inc., for 24-hour crisis intervention services for victims of crime and trauma, $7,500

Women’s Network Inc., to complete the Gender Equity & Women’s Leadership Study, providing the community with a baseline for equity and inclusion efforts, $11,500