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ACF announces nearly $4.5 million in grants, continues support for APS middle school transformation

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Competitive grants support early childhood programs, grassroots after-school efforts 

Today, Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors approved quarterly grants totaling $4,463,262, including $608,241 in competitive education grants chosen by the foundation’s Community Investment Committee.  

Among those grants is $50,000 for Akron Public Schools to support a liaison who is recruiting nonprofit partners to offer their time and talent to its middle schools as part of the schools’ College & Career Academies model, which has seen success at the high school level.  

Specifically, the grant will support Darlene Shuler, middle school partner liaison for Akron Public Schools, who has already facilitated partnerships with more than 20 local nonprofit organizations.  

"I have been in education for over 25 years, and I truly believe in students getting that hands-on, real-world experience," Shuler said. "One of the aspects of this position is being out in the community and having that opportunity to share with nonprofit organizations what Akron Public Schools is doing to promote success with their students. Every nonprofit organization thus far is excited about this opportunity to partner."

Also included in this quarter’s education grants is $5,500 for the Vincent House, which is establishing a hub for after-school programming, youth development and community events in Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood. Program leaders aim to close the educational gap and increase neighborhood safety for the families near Mason Community Learning Center. 

"In Middlebury, it doesn’t take long to notice the disparities and the brokenness, and the Vincent House was birthed out of a relationship with Mason Community Learning Center (to address this)," said Dan Kamwesa, director of community engagement for the Vincent House. "We found out that a big need is after-school care for parents. We’re hoping that the Vincent House will be a place for kids to come and get some homework help and tutoring, but also to be able to play and be kids in a safe place with adults who care about them."

An additional $11,000 in education funding was contributed through the community foundation’s grant co-investment program, which enables donor-advised fundholders to review the board’s competitive grant applications and support initiatives that align with their charitable interests. Participating in the co-investment program this quarter were the Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund, Eleanor and Roger Lindway Family Fund, and This Town is My Town Fund. 

The following organizations will receive education and early learning grants: 

  • ACE Mentor Program of Greater Akron-Canton, to support a mentorship program that introduces students to careers in architecture, construction and engineering, $4,000 
  • Akron Area YMCA, to provide affordable, high-quality child care for families with young children in Summit County, $34,000 
  • Akron Children’s Museum, to support the Mobile Museum in a Box program, which brings interactive learning experiences to Head Start classrooms throughout Akron, $10,100 
  • Akron Fossils & Science Center, to support the Super Science Saturday program, $500 
  • Akron Inner City Soccer Club, to support a youth development and after-school soccer program for low-income families in Akron, $10,100 
  • Akron Promise, to support the social and emotional health of students and families at Kenmore-Garfield High School and Innes CLC, $6,500 
  • Akron Public Schools, to support a middle school partner liaison position, $50,000 
  • Akron Zoo, to support a summer educational program for Akron Public Schools students and their parents to reduce summer learning loss, $7,000 
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Summit, Medina & Stark Counties, for one-to-one mentoring programs that pair a supportive role model with children in Summit County, $12,500 
  • Boy Scouts of America, Great Trail Council, to support career exploration and workforce development opportunities for youth in Greater Akron, $10,000 
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, for after-school and summer programming for underserved youth, including homework help, hot meals and enrichment activities, $65,000 
  • Bridge The Village, to support the P.O.S.E. for Gains program, which aims to address learning loss and increase academic gains for Summit County youth, $5,000 
  • Bright Star Books, to provide books to young children in Summit County, $10,000 
  • Building for Tomorrow, to support early childhood home visits for residents of Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, $91,500 
  • Child Guidance & Family Solutions, for the Toddlers and Preschoolers Succeeding Program, which offers training and on-site support for teachers, students and families to increase the social and emotional well-being of young children in preschool programs, $80,000 
  • Citizens Akron Church, to support the Vincent House, a hub for after-school programming, youth development and community events in Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood, $5,500 
  • Dreams Academy, to provide mentorship programs for African American teens ages 12-15, $5,000 
  • Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, to support the Girl Scout Journey Program in Akron Public Schools, $10,000 
  • Global Ties Akron, to support global education and cultural diversity programs in Summit County schools, $15,250 
  • I-Vision Ministries, to support substance use prevention programs for elementary school students, $4,000 
  • Kent State University Foundation, to support a summer architecture program for students at Firestone CLC, $5,000 
  • Law and Leadership Institute, to support a tuition-free college preparatory institute for high school students at risk of not graduating, $5,000 
  • Leadership Influencing Teen Empowerment, to provide emotional intelligence and leadership programs for students in Summit County, $3,500 
  • Limitless Ambition, to empower teen girls in Summit County through an art enrichment entrepreneurship program, $7,750 
  • National Inventors Hall of Fame, for Camp Invention, a weeklong summer enrichment program offering STEM activities for Summit County students in grades K-6, $10,000 
  • Project GRAD Akron, for the Bridge to Kindergarten program, which prepares children for kindergarten through a summer academy, parent engagement activities, and family support services throughout the school year, $21,000 
  • Project Learn of Summit County, to provide digital literacy classes for adults in Summit County, $20,000 
  • Proyecto RAICES, to support educational and cultural programs for Latinx, Hispanic and immigrant youth in Akron, $8,500 
  • Shanti Community Farms, to support a farm-to-school and landscaping training program for students in Akron Public Schools, $10,041 
  • South Akron Youth Mentorship, to support academic mentoring programs for students in southeast Akron, $5,000 
  • Springfield Assembly of God, to support an after-school program for students in the Springfield Local School District, including academic support, physical activities and healthy snacks, $5,000 
  • Students With A Goal (SWAG), to provide after-school mentoring programs, tutoring, and other enrichment activities for middle school and high school students in Akron, $10,000 
  • Summit Education Initiative, to support Readiness Coalitions to promote community collaboration and kindergarten readiness in Summit County, $30,000 
  • TECH CORPS, to support technology summer camps that engage Akron high school students in hands-on learning experiences in cyber security and computer programming, $6,500 
  • Tri-County Jobs for Ohio's Graduates, to provide early learning programs for the children of JOG participants, $12,500 
  • University of Akron Foundation, to support Summit County K-3 teachers in using evidence-based practices for reading and writing instruction for students with dyslexia, $10,000 
  • Urban Vision, for the Set On Success after-school enrichment program, which provides academic support and life skills classes for students in Akron’s North Hill neighborhood, $13,500 

About Akron Community Foundation 
Celebrating 66 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. It is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $300 million with a growing family of more than 780 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 $206 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 www.akroncf.org

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