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ACF announces nearly $4.8 million in quarterly grants


Competitive grants support educational programs in Summit County 

Today, Akron Community Foundation's board of directors approved quarterly grants totaling $4,779,317, including $535,756 in competitive education grants chosen by the foundation's Community Investment Committee.  

Grantmaking through the community foundation has seen a marked increase this year, due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the foundation's focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion and social justice initiatives. During the same quarter last year, before the pandemic began, the foundation approved approximately $3.6 million in grants. 

This quarter's education and early learning funding included a $5,000 grant to Limitless Ambition, which will provide an enrichment program for girls at Buchtel High School and STEM Middle School. 

"Funds from Akron Community Foundation will help us fuel the mission of our Purposely Chosen teen program in Buchtel High School and STEM Middle School," said Alicia Robinson, founder and executive director of Limitless Ambition. "We're able to help young girls overcome challenges involved with self-esteem and body image issues; we talk about emotional regulation and how to identify emotions and come up with coping mechanisms to help them overcome boundaries. We also just help young girls have a safe space to go, where they can be their authentic self and make friends and feel safe."

In addition, Bridge the Village Incorporated received $4,000 for the Learning Enrichment Program, which supports students facing learning and development struggles due to the pandemic. 

"The Learning Enrichment Program is focused on offering a well-equipped and safe environment for students to come to after school to get tutoring, mentoring, mental health support and enrichment services," said DeJuana Waters-Herald, CEO and director of project management for Bridge the Village Incorporated. "With the closure of school and virtual learning becoming the new normal, some kids haven't acclimated and are struggling. Offering extended learning options, we created the trifold model, where we come alongside the school and the parent, and we come alongside other community leaders." 

Akron Community Foundation's board approved two additional grants, including a $25,000 grant to Akron Public Schools as part of the community foundation's commitment to support the hiring of a staff member who will work with area nonprofits to provide career exploration and service-learning opportunities for middle school students. The board also approved a $25,000 grant to Arts Now for the Artist Relief Fund, which is supporting artists who have experienced a professional hardship due to COVID-19. 

"The economic impact of the pandemic has hit the creative community hard, with Brookings estimating one-third of the sector in Ohio out of work as of August 2020," said Nicole Mullet, executive director of Arts Now. "The relief fund provided much-needed support to over 100 local artists and their families."

An additional $38,627 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 Howard Atwood Family Fund, Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund, Rita and David George Family Fund,  Synergy Talton Endowment Fund, This Town is My Town Fund, and Alan and Janice Woll Family Fund. 

The following organizations will receive education and early learning grants: 

The 2nd & 7 Foundation, to support the Tackle Illiteracy program, in which student-athletes from universities and high schools read and hand out free books to second grade students, $5,750 

Akron Children's Museum, to produce a Virtual Mobile Museum in a Box, which brings interactive learning experiences to Head Start classrooms throughout Akron, $12,000 

Akron Inner City Soccer Club, to support a year-round, after-school soccer program for low-income families in Akron, $11,000 

Akron Zoological Park, to reinforce 3rd-5th grade-level science concepts through a blended learning experience, $8,000 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Summit, Medina & Stark Counties, to support one-on-one mentoring for children in Summit County, $12,500 

Boy Scouts of America, Great Trail Council, to support Scouting in Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley for economically disadvantaged youth, $5,000 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, for after-school and summer programming for underserved youth, including homework help, hot meals and enrichment activities, $68,000 

Bridge the Village Incorporated, for the Learning Enrichment Project (LEP), which supports students facing learning and development struggles due to the pandemic, $4,000 

Bright Star Books Inc., to accept, sort and redistribute thousands of donated books throughout Summit County, $7,750 

Building for Tomorrow, to support early childhood home visits for residents of Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, $96,000 

Child Guidance & Family Solutions, for the Toddlers & Preschoolers Succeeding (TAPS) Program, which trains and coaches teachers on how to incorporate social-emotional learning into the classroom, $80,250 

Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, to support the Girl Scout Journey Program in Akron Public Schools, which covers topics such as STEM, entrepreneurship and life skills, $10,250 

Global Ties Akron, to support current and new global education, diversity and inclusion programs, and to adapt to a virtual delivery of programs, $15,000 

Greater Akron Hindu Sewa Samittee, to provide academic enrichment to middle and high school students who are struggling in school due to language insecurity, $5,000 

Greater Cincinnati Center for Economic Education, to support financial education training for educators in Summit County, $10,000 

The Improvement Movement, to support the "North Hill Kids College" program, an eight-week mock college experience that exposes children to the rewards of secondary education, $2,500 

Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio, to create comprehensive programming for the Akron Public Schools College and Career Academies, $10,000 

Kent State University Foundation Inc., for an eight-week summer program that provides 10th and 11th grade students from Firestone Community Learning Center with college-level academic experience, $10,627 

Law and Leadership Institute, to support the tuition-free college preparatory institute for at-risk high school students, $5,000 

Leadership Influencing Teen Empowerment, to provide emotional intelligence and leadership programs for students in Summit County, $2,500 

LeniBug Foundation, for the Children & Books program, which provides age- and culturally appropriate books to children and students living in the Greater Akron area, $5,000 

Limitless Ambition, to empower teen girls in Buchtel High School and STEM Middle School in Akron through enrichment programs, $5,000 

National Inventors Hall of Fame Inc., for Camp Invention, a weeklong summer enrichment program offering STEM activities for local students in grades K-6, $10,000 

Ohio State University Extension Summit County, for the Akron Grows project, which teaches third grade students and their families to grow their own vegetables, $5,694 

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, $23,000 

Project Learn of Summit County, to provide English as a Second Language courses to employees in local manufacturing companies, $16,812 

Proyecto RAICES, to support educational and cultural programs for Latinx, Hispanic and immigrant youth in Akron, $10,000 

Shanti Community Farms, for a farm-to-school and landscaping training and tutoring program for students in Akron Public Schools, $10,000 

South Akron Youth Mentorship, to support community collaboration efforts in education initiatives for at-risk youth, $5,750 

Students With a Goalto support an after-school mentoring program for students in the Summit Lake neighborhood that teaches leadership and life skills, $11,000 

Summit Education Initiative, to support Readiness Coalitions that promote community collaboration and kindergarten readiness in Summit County, $31,000 

Tri-County Jobs for Ohio's Graduates, to support dropout prevention and recovery programs for at-risk high school youth in Summit County, $12,500 

University of Akron Foundation, to support Summit County teachers in literacy assessment and instruction, $10,000 

Urban Vision, for the Set On Success after-school program, which provides academic support and life skills classes for at-risk youth in the Akron area, $12,500 

YMCA, to support Early Care and Education programming and virtual learning opportunities for school-age children, $25,000 

About Akron Community Foundation 
Celebrating 65 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 $265 million with a growing family of more than 700 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 $194 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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